Breaking Down the Roster

Sure the Giants, with an 8-8 record and another playoff loss, clearly did more than enough to warrant an extension for coach Tom Coughlin. Yeah, sure they did. However, everyone knows that Coughlin's roster, which was often decimated by injuries, was one of the main reasons that Big Blue struggled mightily this season.

It's not all the coach's fault; his players deserve plenty of the finger-pointing directed at them as well.

Here's a look at everyone who was on the Giants roster in 2006, the extent of their contributions and, in some cases, their potential future in East Rutherford. The players are listed alphabetically:

Strong Season

RB Tiki Barber – What can we say? He's the best and he only continued to get better this season. Talk about going out on top – Barber finished his final season averaging more than five yards per carry and gaining more than 2,100 all-purpose yards.

WR Plaxico Burress – He remained New York's most explosive and dangerous receiver with his vertical ability and downfield speed. While you'd always like to see more consistency, he's by far the best they have. Burress is also a solid blocker, something that is often overlooked.

C Shaun O'Hara – He wasn't named an alternate for the Pro Bowl because he played only decently. O'Hara really came into his own this season as New York's O-line anchor.

LB Antonio Pierce – Speaking of the Pro Bowl, this guy was as deserving as anyone. If there's any justice one of those named will get dinged in the playoffs and Pierce, the first alternate with 159 tackles, will get to go to Hawaii.

DT Fred Robbins – Yes, another Giant that was snubbed for the Pro Bowl. He was upset by how far he fell last season so he worked harder, dropped a bunch of weight and showed up in Albany last July as a new man. It showed on the field – big-time.

TE Jeremy Shockey – He's not headed back to the Pro Bowl because of his reputation. Shockey averaged almost 10 yards per catch, caught almost 70 balls and provided his usual green-zone threat and emotional leadership.

Solid Season

DT Barry Cofield – Yes, his play might have slipped just a little down the stretch, but Cofield was a very pleasant surprise inside this season. If he can even improve slightly next season, his sophomore campaign will be one to remember.

OL David Diehl – Is there anyone more dependable than Diehl? All he's done is play every single game for the last four seasons – and play wherever the Giants need him, even on a moment's notice. And most importantly, he plays at a high level.

P Jeff Feagles – No his average wasn't among the game's best, but Feagles still is the best at what he specializes in – pinning opponents deep in their own territory. The Giants are expecting the 40-year-old back for one more go-round next season.

K Jay Feely – He just barely qualified for this category. Yes, he was more accurate on his field goals and there was no one particularly lousy game that sabotaged his season like last year's Seattle implosion, but his kickoffs certainly still need work. Still the Giants could do – and have recently done – much worse at kicker.

FB Jim Finn – Whether or not you even gain a yard all season long, when your running back averages more than five yards a pop running behind you, it's been yet another good season. And he averaged almost seven yards on his 10 total touches to boot.

DE Mathias Kiwanuka – The polished, mature rookie is looking ahead to big things. He can play either D-end spot well; the balanced speed rusher showed no signs of weakness against the run.

LS Ryan Kuehl – All he does is do his job perfectly – game-in and game-out, season-in and season-out.

QB Eli Manning – We know we're going to get killed for putting Manning in this category, but his final numbers were much better than people realize. He completed close to 58 percent of his passes, threw six more TDs than INTs and had a 77.0 rating. Yes, there's plenty of room for improvement, but several NFL clubs would have loved to have that stat line from their starting signal-caller.

CB R.W. McQuarters – He was New York's best cover man this season, which isn't necessarily a tribute to him as much as an indictment of his CB mates. However, McQuarters always seemed to be around the ball and making plays in the secondary.

LB Brandon Short – He was by far New York's next most productive linebacker this side of Pierce and should have been playing from the season's outset. The Giants would be very foolish to let him walk away once again.

G Chris Snee – He's become the quiet leader of the O-line; he just goes out and plays well week after week. He very much earned his Pro Bowl alternate status as well.

Up-And-Down Season

S Jason Bell – Showed some positives when he filled in admirably for Gibril Wilson in Atlanta and played through a broken arm late in the year. Also too often showed in coverage why he's a reserve.

S James Butler – His play was a bit of a disappointment because the defense was looking for a big year from him. He played in all but two games and posted 11 defensive tackles and 11 more on special teams.

S Will Demps – So much was expected of Demps in 2006. He showed why but only during the last few games of the season. His coverage skills were lacking and his big hits were few and far between.

CB Kevin Dockery – With two interceptions, including a 96-yard return for a TD in Dallas, it would be impossible to say Dockery didn't do good things in '06. But the rookie free agent still has plenty of room for improvement.

RB Brandon Jacobs – There were times this season when you couldn't wait for Jacobs to succeed Barber at RB – and times when you wondered who the heck the Giants were going to bring in to replace Barber. The jury is still definitely out on big Brandon, although we've mostly liked what we've seen so far.

WR Michael Jennings – After catching a pass on opening night, you really thought the sky was the limit for Jennings. Not so – the speedster only played six more games – and caught four more passes – the rest of the way.

CB Sam Madison – Have to admit we expected a lot more from Madison this season, even though he wasn't always put in the best position to make plays. He missed a quarter of the season, which only slowed his ability to pick up New York's defense.

OT Kareem McKenzie – He was better at right tackle than last season, but still wasn't nearly as consistent as New York would like. Needs to improve his pass-blocking for sure.

WR Sinorice Moss – Injuries limited him to only six games this season, but when he did play you didn't exactly see the explosiveness that was advertised – both as a receiver and a kickoff returner.

LT Luke Petitgout – He played so well – the highest level of his career – before a broken leg cut his season in half. He was missed badly on the O-line.

G Rich Seubert – He fared very well in his three starts, but once he finally got into the starting five, injuries knocked him out of the box for a couple games. Could succeed O'Hara at center if the free agent signs elsewhere.

DE Michael Strahan – A sprained foot cost Strahan seven games and boy was he ever missed. The play of the rest of the defensive line slipped without number 92 in the lineup.

WR Amani Toomer – The Giants offense flourished for the eight games it had Toomer and struggled during the nine without him. Notice a trend? He'll be back next season with even more to prove than usual.

WR/ST David Tyree – Coming off a Pro Bowl season as a cover guy, Tyree has to be disappointed in his '06 output. Gone were all the highlight film plays. However he did chip in 19 catches and two TDs as a receiver.

DE Osi Umenyiora – Perhaps only because Umenyiora set the bar so high last year was it that this season's output from number 72 looked a little sub-par. He had five sacks before a hip injury shelved him for five games. He'd be the first to admit that he didn't play all that well upon his return.

S Gibril Wilson – Yes, he played very well at times. But that was expected. He was the only holdover in a totally revamped secondary and didn't fare nearly as well as he should have in coverage. As usual, he was a beast in run support.

Mediocre Season

DE Adrian Awasom – He started with a splash in place of Michael Strahan against Houston and responded with three solo tackles. However, he didn't do much more after that in his 10 games.

LB Chase Blackburn – His best game of the season came in the playoffs when New York utilized him as its nickel linebacker. During the year he was solid on special teams but wasn't given a chance to add much defensively.

LB Carlos Emmons – We'll admit that he's become kind of a defensive whipping boy. His level of play is certainly better than most media members make it out to be, but not by much. His lack of speed often leaves him well behind opposing ball-carriers.

DT William Joseph – Sometimes he does show flashes of first-round ability, but it's not nearly often enough. By now, this guy should be dominating, not backing up a rookie.

G Grey Ruegamer – He didn't get to play all that much, but when he did, he wasn't too impressive.

DT Jonas Seawright – See Ruegamer.

LB Reggie Torbor – So much more was expected from Torbor, who earned his stripes on special teams and in the sub packages this season. He moves very well going forward, but that seems to be about it.

OT Bob Whitfield – Right after Luke Petitgout went down, Whitfield stepped in and played well. But shortly after – and for most of the second half of the season – his play slipped until it reached the point that the coaching staff benched him late in the year.

LB Gerris Wilkinson – He showed several flashes, but most came early in the season. Although a rookie, the Giants would have liked to see more progress from their third-round pick.

Forgettable Season

LB LaVar Arrington – Of course we all want to focus on how well Arrington played that one quarter in Dallas before he was injured. However, before then it was obvious that he wasn't very comfortable in the Giants defense.

WR Tim Carter – He started eight games and played in all 16, yet Carter only posted 22 catches and two TDs. He has only one more year to prove he belongs in New York, if they even bring him back.

PR/KR Chad Morton – It was a very rough season for number 29, who tore his ACL late in the year. Morton didn't display any of the big-time return skills we saw last season, and was yanked from his kickoff return duties midway through the season.

TE Visanthe Shiancoe – Twelve catches in 16 games, no TDs and only average blocking? Yeah, the Giants are lucky that Shockey is as tough as he is.

DE Justin Tuck – His season wasn't forgettable because of his level of play, but because an injury forced him to miss 10 games – and a golden opportunity to shine with so many other fallen comrades on the D-line. The Giants can't wait to get Tuck back next season.

CB Frank Walker – The Giants went out of their way to put anyone on the field before Walker this season. After a very strong training camp, he suited up for 11 games, but was only around to make eight tackles all season. Don't expect to see him back next season.

RB/KR Derrick Ward – Foot injuries limited him to only half the season, but even when he was healthy, he didn't show the tough straight-ahead running he did last season.

CB Corey Webster – Everyone was so excited about Webster joining the starting defense this season – especially opposing receivers. His poor coverage and lingering toe injury made him one of New York's biggest disappointments this season.

Incomplete

DT Titus Adams, CB R.J. Cobbs, RB Robert Douglas, OL Steve Edwards, QB Tim Hasselbeck, TE Darcy Johnson, OL Lewis Kelly, G Matt Lentz, QB Jared Lorenzen, RB James Sims, LB Tyson Smith, CB E.J. Underwood, WR Darius Watts, OT Guy Whimper. Obviously both QBs, as well as Johnson, Lentz, Sims, Underwood and Whimper are all guys to keep your eyes on next season.

Coaches

Head coach – Let's just say that Tom Coughlin should feel very lucky to have gotten a contract extension. Most other organizations would have shown him the door. He clearly didn't have the respect of his players, as they repeatedly popped off all season off the field and made mental errors on it.

Offensive coordinator – John Hufnagel was so poor at calling the plays that he didn't even make it through the season. With so many offensive weapons, the Giants offense was still so predictable that Coughlin canned Hufnagel before the regular-season finale, giving Kevin Gilbride the play-calling duties in his stead.

Defensive coordinator – The fact that New York told Tim Lewis to take a hike at season's end tells you more than enough. His schemes didn't suit his players and he wasn't nearly successful enough to talk down to his players like he did.

Special teams – The Giants were among the league's very best in 2005, yet dropped like a rock this season. The return games were a joke, the coverage teams not much better and even David Tyree couldn't get much done. We very well might have seen the last of Mike Sweatman as well.

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