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Giants fan reaction: 2010 New York Giants grades
The 2010 New York Giants were an interesting mixture of surpassing expectations and ultimate letdown. Back in August, I did not expect this team to make the 2011 NFL Playoffs and, well, they didn't. Still, the last three weeks of the season contained some of the most disappointing moments Big Blue fans have experienced in a long time. Grading the entire New York season fairly isn't going to be easy because it's rare that a ten-win season is an unsuccessful one.
2010 New York Giants grades: Offense
It was an odd year for Manning, who finished the season with a career high 31 touchdowns; and a league and career high 25 interceptions. Many of those picks, possibly 13 depending on who's doing the calculating, came off of passes that were tipped or bobbled by New York receivers. While Manning showed that he could be a dominant QB at times (just ask Seattle), "Bad Eli" made way too many appearances in 2010. The silly mistakes and "why?" throws are now inexcusable from the seven-year veteran, especially when playing behind a better-than-average offensive that, in his defense, was banged up throughout the season. Manning was sacked only 16 times this season, a league best (tied with Manning, P.), and he should be playing behind an elite o-line next season if its components can stay healthy throughout the year.
Running backs were another "yeah, but…" portion of the 2010 Giants. The duo of Ahmad Bradshaw(notes) and Brandon Jacobs(notes) combined for over 2000 yards and 17 touchdowns on the ground. The fumbles, however, have to stop. They were such a problem that Bradshaw was benched on more than one occasion for not being able to hold onto the ball. It's rumored that Jacobs may not return to the team next season so somebody really has to teach Ahmad Bradshaw how to hold onto the football in the next eight months.
New York's wide receivers, when actually healthy and on the field, were scary good at times. Hakeem Nicks(notes) is a legitimate star in the league and could be the team's "number one" wide receiver next year. Steve Smith remained one of the most dependable targets in the league but his knee injury is a concern. The biggest story here may be Mario Manningham(notes), who showed he's not just a third down option. Manningham turned into a true play maker when Nicks and Smith were sidelined with injuries. He could be named the team's offensive MVP.
Grade: B- (due to turnovers)
2010 New York Giants grades: Defense
The New York pass rush turned into the most fearsome in football, ironically after Mathias Kiwanuka's(notes) season came to an end in late September. Both Justin Tuck(notes) and Osi Umenyiora(notes) finished the season with 11.5 sacks and the team knocked out several quarterbacks, including Tony Romo(notes) and Jay Cutler(notes). Unfortunately, this same pass defense disappeared when New York needed it most. The losses to the Eagles and Packers were season-killers.
There were plenty of pleasant surprises on this defense. Thanks to the likes of Michael Boley(notes) and Jonathan Goff(notes), New York survived the loss of Antonio Pierce(notes). Terrell Thomas(notes) morphed into one of the best tackling defensive backs in the NFL and Corey Webster(notes) was again solid (most of the time). Rookie Jason Pierre-Paul(notes), a pick questioned by some New York fans, showed real promise in the second half of the season. He had 4.5 sacks from week 12 to week 15 and earned more playing time that he'll definitely see next season, despite New York's depth at defensive line.
Grade: B- (still bitter about Philly and GB games)
2010 New York Giants grades: Special Teams
Fail. Fail. Fail. Punter Matt Dodge(notes) was so bad early in the season that fans at New Meadowlands Stadium chanted "We Want Feagles." New York's return game wasn't much better. This song is for you, Domenik Hixon(notes). The Giants couldn't prevent the injury that knocked Hixon out before the season began but the team must sign him or a different true return man for 2011. Kicker Lawrence Tynes(notes) was fine but not good enough to prevent a big ol' F.
2010 New York Giants grades: Coaches
Head coach Tom Coughlin is getting a new contract and I'm just fine with that. I'm as upset as the next guy that the team didn't make the playoffs but NFL head coaches don't get fired for ten-win seasons. Fans once again criticized offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride on a weekly basis but he wasn't the one dropping/tipping passes, throwing awful interceptions and fumbling the ball away. It may not matter in the end, as both Gilbride and defensive coordinator Perry Fewell could have new jobs sooner than later.
Ten wins aside, the Giants were completely unprepared to face the Titans and Colts in weeks two and three and the losses to the Packers and Eagles can be blamed on coaches and players both.
Overall : The Giants were a Super Bowl contender as of about 2:30 pm on December 19. They now won't even have a chance to participate in a playoff game. There's lot of hope for this team in 2011 but several issues must first be addressed. In the end, the playoffs are about to begin without the Giants involved. That's just not good enough for this team or its fans.
Final grade: C
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