Here are the 10 burning pre-camp issues that New York needs to resolve:
Issue 1 – Quarterback. Perhaps the biggest and most important issue involves Eli Manning. How much will he progress this year? It's fairly certain that he will become, at the very least, a good QB, but how quickly will he advance or will we see more struggling while he experiences additional growing pains? The quicker he makes progress, the quicker this team will be a true contender. He ended the season on a positive note when he tossed three TDs to beat the Cowboys. Hopefully that game was a good building block for a productive offseason. He certainly took his lumps last season, but the experience was invaluable. Getting Tim Hasselbeck was a good move. It should be a decent camp battle between him and Jesse Palmer. No matter the outcome the QB depth appears to be fine.
Issue 2 – Wide Receiver. There are a ton of questions at WR. Obtaining Plaxico Burress was a bold move. There is no doubt he is a talented receiver and he could be the big play threat they really need. He's also a bit of a free spirit so we will have to watch his relationship with Tom Coughlin. That one has the potential to get ugly. They need Amani Toomer to return to form after a down year. Hopefully his lack of production was a cause and effect from poor offensive line play and not because he has lost a step. Without Ike Hilliard to fall back on, Jamaar Taylor and Tim Carter, the MASH brothers, need to stay healthy. With them healthy, this will be a formidable group. Without them there are concerns. The overriding issue at wide receiver is that too much can go wrong here.
Issue 3 – Offensive line. Signing Kareem McKenzie was a great move. He automatically becomes their best lineman so that is an upgrade. Most of the issues surround the left side of the line. Luke Petitgout has to do better. He is coming off a sub-par season. He had too many penalties and was beaten too frequently. Someone needs to step up at left guard, whether it's David Diehl, Jason Whitttle or Rich Seubert. It will be interesting to see if Seubert can return to the form he showed before his injury. Shaun O'Hara should be fine at center and Chris Snee should continue to improve. This entire group must develop the necessary chemistry, as they are vital to the success of the offense. Their inefficiency last season played out in many forms and was the root cause of their struggling offense.
Issue 4 – Tight end. If the O-line blocks better that will free Jeremy Shockey from blocking assignments, in turn he will be more dangerous in the passing game. If this goes well he will have a very productive year. Another issue surrounds the third TE spot. Chris Luzar should be that guy. They need him for his blocking prowess. A blocking TE is essential.
Issue 5 – Running back. How long will Tiki Barber continue to perform at a Pro-Bowl level? He's 30 now and still an important cog in the offense. We hate to think how poor the offense would have been the last couple years if he were not available. Ron Dayne in Denver is a plus here. Brandon Jacobs must become the short-yardage specialist they need so badly. He can't possibly do worse than Dayne; they need him to make a positive contribution in this area.
Part two tomorrow.
10 burning issues Giants must address
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