Giants fans should celebrate best Giants offseason

Giants fans, you should be excited. A year after a dismal 6-10 campaign that included an eight-game losing streak and numerous wars of words between the new coach and his players, the fun's back in town.

Not since prior to the 2000 season when New York shored up its offensive line with vets such as Glenn Parker and Lomas Brown and added tackle machine Micheal Barrow on defense have Ernie Accorsi and Co. done such a great job in free agency. The difference between then and now is that the core group of future stars New York locked up last month are all young and heading into their prime.

If the trio of Kareem McKenzie, Antonio Pierce and Plaxico Burress turns out to be half as good as everyone's figuring, then the Giants will have struck gold.

That's because this isn't your run-of-the-mill 6-10 club. This team was already loaded with talent such as Tiki Barber, Eli Manning, Jeremy Shockey, Amani Toomer, Michael Strahan, Osi Umenyiora, Gibril Wilson and the Wills at corner.

Toss in three more impact players and you have the recipe for success.

McKenzie instantly becomes the club's best and most dependable lineman. Pierce is like a quarterback on defense, known throughout the league as one of the NFL's smartest players. And Burress, while he may provide the occasional headache, is sure big, strong and talented enough to change the dimensions of the game. Wait till you see how happy Toomer is when he's not constantly double-covered, as he's been for years now.

"We needed a playmaker on defense," Accorsi stated. "We got a protector, a very strong right tackle, and the possibility of a playmaking receiver. We had to stop the kicking merry-go-round, which we did."

Yes, they did. They landed a kicker in Jay Feely that can kick off, handle field goals both indoors and outside, and will grow with the club. Adding a veteran quarterback in Jim Miller that will help young Manning learn the nuances of the game, and not try to take away his snaps, was a coup as well.

And they also locked up their own key players – Jesse Palmer and Jim Finn, especially.

"I feel good about our acquisitions," Accorsi said. "But there's no trophy presentation in June – only in February."

If the club stays healthy, it's actually not all that far-fetched to see the Giants making a deep playoff run and quite possibly collecting a trophy or two in February.

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New York's superb offseason also put to rest the notion that free agents won't sign on with New York because of Tom Coughlin. McKenzie insisted that he was not frightened off by the specter of Coughlin and his disciplinary practices.

"I read all the same things in the papers," he said, "but I had no preconception of him. I want to get to know him one on one, and I do think he gets an unfair shake in the media. From what I can see, his overall concern is about his players and winning.

"It's all about having order and structure in your life. You need to have discipline."

Accorsi noticed as well.

"We got everybody we wanted," Accorsi said. "No one even raised the issue about Tom. Most guys want tough coaching. We're still the New York Giants, a franchise players want to play for."

Year Two of the Tom Coughlin Experiment is almost guaranteed to go smoother than the first go-round. Coughlin angered many players with his rules and his demeanor upon taking the job last season. A year later, everyone knows the drill and also knows that challenging the man in charge won't do any good. With the organization fully behind Coughlin, so must the players be.

Norman Hand was one who had his difficulties with Coughlin – and vice versa. Hand was recently released. Don't think the other players didn't notice that.

Nowhere is ‘my way or the highway' more applicable than in the Giants locker room.

New 49ers defensive coordinator Billy Davis said the Coughlin/player battles that plagued last season are long gone – and they're not coming back.

"The complaining is all over, I can assure you of that," New York's former LBs coach told TGI from his San Francisco office. "All the lines have already been drawn. That stuff's behind the Giants. They're going to be successful this year. You can count on it."

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