David Tyree – We all know that he can cover the heck out of a kickoff or punt, but once again Tyree will get the chance to show that he's a pretty good receiver as well. Every time he's played wideout in a game he's produced, yet for some reason, they don't consider him anything more than a special teams ace. He might just show enough this camp to warrant some reps.
R.W. McQuarters – He's penciled in as the nickel back, but if injuries strike or Corey Webster stumbles, McQuarters will all of a sudden find himself in the starting lineup. He also has return ability and experience and could jump into that mix as well. With all the other new DBs, McQuarters has kind of slid under the radar. Training camp is his chance to change all that.
Little John Flowers – Some think he's got a legitimate opportunity to make this team and potentially even in a solid reserve role. Flowers, who had been spinning his wheels with the Jets, might benefit from a change of scenery and also from playing behind Tiki Barber, who's obviously a great teacher from which to learn.
Anthony Mix – An undrafted free agent, there is definitely room for Mix to make an impression. There are a lot of receivers in camp, but Tim Carter's always-questionable status, the retirement of Jamaar Taylor and Mix's tremendous size (he's 6-4, 235) leave him as someone that could come out of nowhere and grab a roster spot.
Guy Whimper – Everyone figures he's at least a year away from being able to contribute at all at offensive tackle. Maybe Whimper can pick things up quicker than expected and make an impact this season.
Path to the Playoffs
Expedition Eli – We said it last year and we'll likely repeat the same mantra next summer. The Giants Express is going to hum along – or derail – depending on how well Eli Manning performs. He obviously did well enough to win the division and get them into the playoffs last season. With another year under his belt, it's not crazy to think his level of play will increase and so will the length of time the Giants play into January and, dare we even say, February?
Quick start – By all accounts the beginning of the Giants schedule could be a killer. They start with four of their first six games on the road and match up with teams like the Colts, Seahawks, Redskins and Cowboys during their first six games. That also includes road trips to Philly and Atlanta. If the Giants can survive the early going, they should be in business. But it's not far-fetched to see a tough loss or two snowball and sabotage the season before it even really gets underway.
Defend the throne – Historically the Giants have followed up playoff years with stinkers. Hopefully the mentally tough Tom Coughlin will have his troops aware that it's only going to get tougher and that last year's accomplishments mean absolutely nothing. Everyone is going to be shooting for the Giants and they need to raise their level of play and intensity in order to avoid being hit.
Training room – The Giants also need to stay healthy to be able to compete. They could barely field a linebacking corps for the playoff game and look what happened. They also suffered some key injuries in the secondary last year. You're always going to suffer the usual bumps and bruises, but Big Blue must avoid serious injuries to key players and also multiple ailments at one position.
Take a TO – Everyone's establishing Dallas as the division favorite because of their acquisition of Terrell Owens. The Giants need to hope that TO actually ends up hurting the Boys more than he helps them. All you have to do is go back to last year's Eagles squad to see an example of how easily that can happen. Making the playoffs always takes some level of luck. The Giants need a break where Owens is actually more harmful than helpful in Big D.
Starting Jobs There for the Taking
Defensive tackle – Actually both DT spots are open right now. William Joseph is expected to start at one spot, but he has to make it through summer camp atop the depth chart before that happens. There are plenty of other players in the mix. Fred Robbins is an experienced veteran that's a much better pass rusher than run stopper. He's the slight favorite to start opposite Joseph. Junior Ioane was signed this offseason to compete. There are also young holdovers Jonas Seawright and Damane Duckett and rookie Barry Cofield. If you're looking to crack the Giants starting lineup, this is the position you want to play.
Third receiver – With the multiple-WR sets most offenses employ these days, this might as well be considered a starting position. Everyone's expecting Sinorice Moss to come right in and grab this spot, but Tim Carter's hoping not only to stay healthy this summer but capture the third spot as well. Willie Ponder and David Tyree are also hoping to throw their hat into the ring.
Nickel cornerback – Similar to the third receiver, the third corner is on the field almost every snap during the course of a game. R.W. McQuarters is the favorite to capture this post, but Curtis Deloatch, Frank Walker and Jason Bell also have their eyes on the prize.
Sept. 10 vs. Colts – Perhaps you've heard by now that the Manning boys are squaring off on opening night. Being an underdog in the opener can only help the Giants. If they win, they'll be hot right out of the gate and Eli will be brimming with confidence.
Sept. 24 at Seahawks – This is the Giants' chance for revenge. They played the NFC champs basically to a draw last season and will be champing at the bit for another crack. They saw Seattle playing in the Super Bowl and knew that it very easily could have been them. Betcha Jay Feely's going to be ready for this one.
Nov. 20 at Jaguars – He's going to try his best to make it out to be ‘just another game' but everyone involved knows Coughlin has to be excited to head back to Jacksonville, where he basically built the Jags from the ground up. Likewise the Jax players and faithful will be looking to stick it to their former coach.
Dec. 24 vs. Saints – This is especially must-see TV because even Giants season ticket holders will probably be on their couch for this one. The presence of Reggie Bush and Sean Payton will do nothing to offset the fact that Christmas Eve is hardly the time to be sitting in the Giants Stadium stands. Unless this contest has serious playoff implications, tix are going to be pretty easy to come by. Anyone need two?
TGI's Training Camp Tip Sheet 4
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