Training Camp Tip Sheet

Yes, Giants fans, it's that time again – training camp time, where hope springs eternal. There's no doubt that if things break right for Big Blue, you might see your club back in the postseason for the first time in three years. However, we all know a long, grueling season – not to mention a long month in camp – lies ahead. Here is TGI's tip sheet of the top dozen categories to keep a close watch on during camp and this season.

The players rally around Coughlin – Many think last year's TGI blockbuster story stated that everyone on the team hated playing for Coughlin. Not so at all, just many of the more important players. It's still a long way from a love affair, but at some point this year – after some big win – someone's going to shock the world and declare his undying support for Coughlin. You can practically bet on it.

The 3-4 defense reigns supreme – We know Tim Lewis says that he's just going to play the best front seven he has. If that's the case, the DT-weak, LB-strong Giants might actually even utilize a 2-5 at times. With only one capable 4-3 DT – Fred Robbins – and newcomer Kendrick Clancy a natural at nose tackle in the 3-4, the Giants are likely going to be in that formation a lot more than the 4-3.

Jesse Palmer wins a few games – Yes, it's Eli Manning's team and he's the QB for the foreseeable future. But only Kerry Collins and Brett Favre play full seasons without missing starts. Don't expect Manning to turn the trick. Then Palmer will get the chance to prove that he's a quality backup, something not many around the Giants except his mates and TGI believed till they re-signed him this offseason.

Jay Feely lays some wood – The new kicker takes pride in his tackling ability and, believe you me, this 5-10, 206-pounder is not built like your traditional kicker. Feely knows where to attack the hole, how to tackle and then has the strength to bring guys down. The first couple times it will appear like a novelty, but then folks will start to realize the KO coverage team is actually 11-on-11 due to Feely's presence.

This is Tim Lewis' last year in New York – Lewis actually came a lot closer to landing the 49ers job than many realize. He's too bright a defensive and football mind to remain a coordinator much longer. Look for Lewis's defense to perform well enough this year to earn him a head job somewhere after the season.

The Giants contend in the NFC East – No, we're not getting ahead of ourselves, but Big Blue's better than Washington, and should be able to play above the level of the immobile, washed-up Drew Bledsoe Cowboys. That leaves just the Eagles, and only a fool would say this would finally be the year they don't win the East. Heck, I've been called a lot worse.

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