TGI's midterm report

Ladies and gentleman, it's that time of year again – time for TGI to hand out its midterm grades, and boy, aren't there plenty of solid ones. Let's take a closer look at each Giant and how they graded out during the season's first eight games. Unlike years gone by, this year TGI is only going to grade those that have played significantly thus far. Anyone not listed below received an Incomplete.

Eli Manning – There have been way more ups than downs, even though there is still plenty for the precocious Manning to work on. His poise and leadership are already very impressive, as is his ability to change calls at the line of scrimmage and find second and third options. He still needs to work on being more consistently accurate and must cut down on throwing off his back foot. Grade: B

Tiki Barber – Simply the best running back the Giants have ever had, Barber continues to come through when it matters most. He's the epitome of a big-game player, and the Giants sure are lucky they have him. He still hits the holes as quickly at 30 as he did when he was 25. Smarts are the key to his success. Grade: A

Jim Finn – Tiki wouldn't have the success he had without his buddy paving the way for him. Finn hasn't been involved in the offense as much from a receiving standpoint, but there's no one in the league that Barber would rather run behind. Grade: B-

Brandon Jacobs – New York's rookie battering ram certainly won't have his season be remembered only for his fumble in Dallas. When there's a yard marker to be moved, Jacobs moves it. End of story. Grade: B

Derrick Ward – A bit surprising that he's gotten as many carries as he has (he was second on the club behind Barber), but Ward runs hard and tough and always seems to fall forward for that extra yard or two. Also a big contributor on special teams. Grade: B-

Plaxico Burress – Forget the quarter he missed in San Diego. This guy is the real deal and the big-time downfield receiving threat the Giants have missed for years. He can go up and get the ball with the best of them and runs better routes than advertised. Grade: B+

Amani Toomer – Is there anyone whom Giants fans are rooting for more than Toomer? He's been such a solid citizen and quietly accepted his new role as the club's third and even fourth option. Yet there he was rising up to snare the game-winning pass against Denver with mere seconds to play. Grade: B

Tim Carter – Can't blame the Giants for expecting more out of their number three receiver and resident speedster. Carter, finally healthy, needs to contribute more down the stretch run. Grade: C

David Tyree – Anything Tyree chips in as a receiver is just gravy. He might be the league's best downfield cover guy on kickoffs and punts. Grade: B

Jeremy Shockey – What a difference a healthy Shockey makes. He's back to his dominant rookie ways, in which he's getting open consistently and catching almost every ball thrown his way. Shockey has been the real key to New York's offensive explosion. Grade: B+

Visanthe Shiancoe – The backup tight end, ideally, would have more than one catch through the first half, especially considering he's not exactly a blocking specialist. Grade: C

Luke Petitgout – Has anyone heard more negative talk this offseason and just come out and played his position about as well as he can play it than Petitgout? He showed that he could play left tackle in this league – and at a pretty high level, too. Grade: B+

David Diehl: Might as well put him at tight end next year. Diehl, a real pro's pro, can play anywhere on the line and not miss a beat. His play has been great so far, a real key both against the run and the pass. Grade: B+

Shaun O'Hara – The Giants anchor is the line's true leader and has done an admirable job thus far. He loves getting down and dirty and his mates follow his lead. Grade: B+

Chris Snee – He's no longer known as Tom Coughlin's son-in-law. Now he's known as a true, rugged road-grader guard that can put defenders on their backs with regularity. His pulling has been a huge key in the run game's success thus far. Grade: B+

Kareem McKenzie – While it appears that McKenzie isn't playing all that well, his coaches and teammates say he's doing just fine. Teammate Bob Whitfield pointed out that it takes a while to make the transition from the AFC, where left tackles usually have their hands full with the opposition's best pass rusher, to the NFC, where most of the pressure's on the right tackle. McKenzie has been facing beast after beast so far, and has more than held up well enough. However, he must cut down on the penalties just a little bit. Grade: B-

Michael Strahan – He's back. And he's playing at his usual Strahan level, snuffing out opposing running plays and pressuring the passer with his usual aplomb. The Giants needed a big return to action from the much lighter number 92 and they got it. At the midpoint he was right where he usually is – third on the team in tackles and tops in sacks. Grade: B+

Osi Umenyiora – He's been a little quieter early on than the Giants would have liked, but Umenyiora has stepped up his play of late. When given the chance to just rush the passer, he can be a demon. He's also stepped up his play against the run. Look for a big second half from Osi. Grade: B-

William Joseph – He's been solid, if not spectacular. Joseph still plays a little high at times, but he's done a good job of getting a push and clogging up the middle. They'd like to see a little more consistency, but he's light years ahead of where he was at this point last season. Grade: B-

Kendrick Clancy – The Giants newcomer continues to get the job done. He's been steady and dependable, exactly what you'd like from a DT. He's shown flashes at times, but the Giants certainly wouldn't mind seeing a few more plays from Clancy. Grade: C+

Justin Tuck – The rookie was really starting to come on before being slowed by an injury against Washington. The Giants were giving Tuck more and more snaps, and his play was warranting the coaches' faith in him. He's going to be a real good one. Grade: B+

Kenderick Allen – Has played very well, usually as the first DT to rotate in. He makes the big play more than you'd expect from a reserve DT, including a key sack against the Redskins. A well-rounded player who's only getting better. Grade: B-

Fred Robbins – The staff has utilized him perfectly thus far, playing Robbins basically only against the pass, where he excels. To earn more playing time, he's going to need to become a more consistent and willing run defender. Grade: C

Antonio Pierce – He's yet to make the big-time plays that he expects of himself. Pierce is the most dependable tackler on the team, leads the team in stops and does a good job of finding the ball. Look for more big plays – i.e. forced turnovers – from him during the second half, as he continues to grow more comfortable in yet another new defense. Grade: B

Nick Greisen – Once again, the Giants most productive linebacker when he gets a chance to play. How he's ever been out of the lineup is beyond us. Just look at the numbers. Greisen posts better digits than the other LBs in less playing time. He had better remain in the starting lineup the rest of this season. Grade: B+

Carlos Emmons – Was playing much better than last year when he suffered a pectoral injury that has sidelined the strong side backer. Showed great versatility in playing the weak side, as well, this season. The Giants certainly could use his veteran savvy back in the lineup as soon as possible. Grade: B

Reggie Torbor – The sky is still the limit for Torbor, but it might just take a little longer than everyone hoped. He's still learning, but shows flashes of brilliance that make you think he's going to be something special one day. The Giants really should move him to the weak side where he can run around, rush the passer and create havoc. Grade: C

Gibril Wilson – This is the big-hitting, playmaking safety the Giants saw during the first half last season. Wilson is a throwback safety that finds the ball like a heat-seeking missile. A solid second on the team in tackles, he's the glue that keeps the secondary together. Even he, however, has fallen victim to the dropsies that have hurt the DBs all year long. Grade: B+

Brent Alexander – Usually players are not playing as bad as it appears. In this instance, however, that's not the case. Alexander has been at least a step slow a lot this season, and his presence has actually been a detriment, as it keeps the more productive Shaun Williams on the bench. Needs to step up big down the stretch or he should be replaced in the starting lineup. Grade: C-

Shaun Williams – All he's done is exactly what the staff has asked of him – and he's done it well. Williams leads the DBs in INTs in limited play, and also makes the plays that are in front of him. We're not exactly sure what Williams did to Tim Lewis (or more accurately, what Alexander did), but Williams certainly warrants his starting spot back. Grade: B+

Will Allen – Hasn't played as bad as everyone thinks, but still misses out on so many plays. His tackling is solid, his coverage as well. Now if only he could hold onto that darn ball…Needs a big second half in the worst way. Grade: C+

Will Peterson – His play in the first couple weeks, combined with the play of everyone else in the secondary since his departure shows you just how much Peterson means to the secondary. Unfortunately it doesn't look like they're going to get him back this year. Grade: B+

Curtis Deloatch – Hasn't exactly stepped up and made anyone forget about Peterson. He makes some plays on the ball, but the huge cushion the coaches have him giving opposing receivers makes it awful difficult for him to make any impact plays. Grade: C-

Corey Webster – The Giants really need to get Webster on the field more. He can cover, and has an ability to locate the ball and get there faster than anyone else in the defensive backfield. He's got a huge future ahead of him. The Giants would be wise to move him into the starting lineup before too long. Grade: B

James Butler – In limited playing time, Butler has made an impact. He made plays all during training camp and you get the feeling he would now too, if given an opportunity. He also leads the special teams in tackles by a pretty decent margin. Grade: B

Jay Feely – He's been every bit as good as advertised. Not only are his field goals all but automatic, but his kickoffs and kick coverage are tremendous as well. Grade: A-

Jeff Feagles – He just continues doing exactly what he's done all these years – pinning opponents deep in their own territory. He's as good as they come and a real key to the club's early success. Grade: B+

Ryan Kuehl – Haven't heard his name all season? That's because he's doing his job perfectly. Grade: A

Willie Ponder – Still among the top kickoff return men in the game, averaging close to 30 yards a return. Obviously the league hasn't figured him out yet. Grade: B+

Chad Morton – Averaging close to 10 yards a return, he started the season strong with a TD in the season opener and has been solid ever since. Grade: B

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