* EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ*
- Welcome to "Michael Eisen's Mailbag." Every few days, Giants.com's exclusive Writer/Editor Michael Eisen will pick some of the best questions and comments we receive via email* and answer them right here! If you'd like to submit a question or comment to Michael, click here.
Dear Michael: I am a HUGE GIANTS fan and can't say enough about how excited I am about the upcoming season! With that said I'm looking foward to seeing how the NEW pieces (free agents and drafted rookies) fit in with the rest of the team. The one thing that concerns me is that WR position. We all know that it takes a good 2-3 years for a WR to develop in this league and I know how high the g- men are about Hakeem Nicks, but I look at the team and realize that it is built to win NOW! My question to you is: Is there any chance that the Giants even though they drafted Hakeem Nicks in the 1st round, still consider trading for a veteran WR?
Yours is not the only question like this received by The Mailbag. There seems to be much concern in Giants Nation about the wide receivers. Jerry Reese has often said that anything is possible in personnel – and he will continue to try to improve the team right up until kickoff - but I don't think a trade for a veteran is in the works. The Giants are confident they have a good group of wideouts on the roster now. Admittedly, none of them have many years of experience, but Steve Smith, Domenick Hixon, Mario Manningham and Sinorice Moss were all chosen by the fourth round of their respective drafts. They have talent and they continue to improve. In last week's draft, we added Hakeem Nicks in the first round and Ramses Barden in the third. Those six players comprise a young, skilled group that has a lot of potential. And I haven't even mentioned David Tyree and Derek Hagan. I'm excited to see how this group does when the action starts. So are the coaches. So unless there's a deal that is simply too good to pass up, I don't see the Giants making a move for a veteran receiver.
Hey Mike- I feel like the Giants lack a kick/punt return threat on the current roster besides Domenik Hixon. Hixon was taken off returns last year due to his increased role at receiver later in the year. They tried Ahmad Bradshaw at kick returns and R.W. McQuarters on punts. Neither was spectacular and R.W. is no longer with the team. Hixon, who does great on returns, is set to be a big part of our receiver corps this year and the coaches may not want to have him on returns. Who on the roster do you see handling the return duties this season? Thanks, Robb
Identifying punt and kickoff returners will be one of the most interesting and important tasks in the preseason. Though he should play a lot on offense, I think Hixon will have a significant role there, because he is probably our best kickoff returner. Bradshaw and Moss will be in the mix. Nicks and Andre Brown both returned kickoffs in college. Though Jerry Reese said Nicks "is not a kick returner." But I can't sit here on May 1 and tell you definitely who will handle those jobs.
Hello Michael: Who's going to be the backup center to Shaun O'Hara?
That player hasn't been identified yet. But with Guy Whimper healthy and William Beatty arriving as a third-round draft choice, I wouldn't be surprised to see Adam Koets move inside to get more work at center and guard.
During the home stretch of last season, the offense made almost no passing attempts at all, even as opposing defenses continuously played the short game by filling the box. Coaches Coughlin and Gilbride must have had little faith in the passing game to take almost no long shots over this period, and they certainly know more about the offense than anybody else. Now, the Giants just drafted two wide receivers, but it's very rare for rookie WR's to make a big, immediate impact. So my question is, why should Giants fans expect an offense that's any different from the one we witnessed toward the end of last season?
Why so pessimistic? Have you forgotten that the Giants were the NFL's No. 1 rushing team in 2008? As Jerry said, "we consider ourselves a power running football team. I don't think that is going to change." So it will certainly be the same kind of offense. I'm not sure what you mean by "no passing attempts." In the last six games of the season and Plaxico Burress was no longer around, Eli Manning threw 171 passes. No, he didn't throw deep as often. But his primary deep[ threat wasn't in uniform. I think it's fair to say that with the improvement of the young receivers and the arrival of Nicks, Barden and Travis Beckum, the Giants can have a more diversified and productive offense this year. But the staple of the attack is still going to be the Brandon Jacobs-led rushing game.