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Giants Mailbag

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Today's edition of The Mailbag on Giants.com:

Hello Michael:

I have attended over 300 Giants home games since 1965. Most Giants fans don't appreciate a great coach when they have one. Coach Coughlin is one of the best coaches we have ever had. Each season we have had many injuries to our offense and defense. Last year, coach had this team eight minutes away from getting the division with a banged up O-line. The Super Bowl year we lost Steve Smith early and Shockey late. Coach always gets the best out of the 53 guys on the roster.

This year we are getting hit hard on defense and we have young receivers and tight ends.

I have faith in Coach Coughlin and his assistants to have the G-men ready to play this year. We will run the ball well and Eli will play smart and have a productive year. The D will be fine with Phillips having a full season after the injury. My prediction is Greg Jones will surprise everyone with his speed and tackling ability.

I hope Giants fans start to appreciate what a great Coach we have.

He will get us back to the playoffs and then anything can happen from there.

Danny

Dear Danny:

Thanks for the letter. I'm a big fan of Tom Coughlin's. Since his second season in 2005, the Giants have been in contention for a playoff berth every year, despite constantly having to find substitutes for injured players. We haven't had a losing season in six straight seasons, which hasn't happened in almost 50 years. The man sticks to his bedrock principles, yet he has adapted to the times. It would be nice to see him have an opportunity to coach a team that is not depleted by so many injures.

Michael:

I have been a Giant fan for 56 years which means that I have seen the bad and the good over the years.  Unfortunately, this year will go down in the bad column.  We have lost too much talent on the offensive side to be able to stay up with the big horses.  The defense looks good, but losing Thomas hurts us.  The special teams are still weak, the return game is a joke, but maybe we will not be the worst in the league again. The best we can achieve this year will be  9-7 and again...no playoffs.  Can not blame Eli because he doesn't have the personnel, so let's sit back and watch the year and hope that our 10 rookies can develop into something special.  Could this be TC's last year?  What is your prediction for the G men?

Tom

Dear Tom:

Why so negative? Can we play some games before you declare us out of playoffs and start wondering if the coach will return? I think the return game will be much improved with Devin Thomas bringing back kickoffs and if Domenik Hixon is returning punts. The offensive line has a chance to be exception and with Bradshaw and Jacobs, the running game can be one of the NFL's best. And despite the injuries, we have a lot of good defensive players. I don't like to predict a record, but it's impossible to predict which teams will be healthy, hot or slumping in three months. But I strongly believe the Giants will contend for a postseason berth.

Dear Michael

Seems like every year we go through this - key players get injured before the season's even begun, and this year even more so: Do you anticipate this having any consequences for the conditioning program? Thomas' injury is the kind that is hard to protect yourself against, but the veritable storm of torn ACLs seem suspect - and I have heard of no other team hit anywhere near as hard.

I'm curious as I seem to recall this being a recurring issue for the last five years or so - and we cannot keep on blaming coincidence.

Sincerely,

Anders

Dear Anders:

I don't see how you can blame the injuries on the offseason conditioning program, because there was no offseason conditioning program this year. It was a casualty of the lockout. If the injuries were pulled muscles or strains, a lack of conditioning by the players might be behind the problem. But torn knee ligaments are not caused by poor conditioning, especially those that are suffered when one teammate collides with another. By all accounts, the players reported after the lockout in top condition. I hate to say it, but the spate of injuries seems due more to bad luck than anything else.

Michael:

What was Jerry Reese thinking by allowing Kevin Boss, Steve Smith and two offensive linemen to leave without replacements? That's about 45% of our offense out the door. What a mistake.

Al

Dear Al:

I have some disagreements with your statements. First, Reese and Tom Coughlin elected to release Shaun O'Hara and Rich Seubert. And we do have replacements in David Baas and Will Beatty. Last year's offensive line was exceptional. This one can be just as good, if not better.

Second, Reese did not "allow" Boss and Smith to leave. They were free agents who had the right to sign with any team. They exercised that right. The Giants made what they deemed to be fair offers to them. Just because the players chose not to accept them doesn't mean Reese opened the door and let them go. It was the players' decision. That's what free agency is all about.

Third: 45 percent of the offense? Eli Manning completed 339 passes for 4002 yards and 31 touchdowns last season. Hakeem Nicks, Mario Manningham and Ahmad Bradshaw – just to name three players that are still here – caught a combined 186 passes (54.9 percent of Manning's total) for 2,310 yards (57.5 percent) and 20 touchdowns (64.5 percent). And this year we have Domenik Hixon back in the lineup.

We will survive, Al, we will survive.


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