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The NY Giants 10 Most Indispensable Players

With the news that Mathias Kiwanuka will miss the rest of the season I began to wonder what players could the Giants least afford to lose to injury for a year?

Obviously like 95 percent of N.F.L. teams the QB is the most important player so let’s call this list the 10 most important players who aren’t M.V.P Winning Super Bowl Quarterbacks.

Taken from:

#10 Antrel Rolle

I think this might be even a little low for Antrel Rolle this season, who I think has made a tremendous difference in the way the Giants defense has played this season.

There is still a strong possibility that Antrel Rolle’s criticism earlier in the year jump started the Giants season, and while I know they lost the next game to the Titans, they came out that game with some passion and fire. Probably too much fire they couldn’t control their emotions.

Rolle is a respected player who was coming from a different (winning organization) who put the team on notice “Hey this is unacceptable. Let’s get it together”.

On top of that Rolle has been instrumental in run support this season. Rolle leads the team in tackles with 43, many of which have come in run support and allowed the Giants to play the run well and force teams to be one dimensional.

#9 Steve Smith

This might be a little low for Steve Smith because he is  Eli Manning’s security blanket and according to assistant coaches interviews he’s drawing a lot of double teams this season.

And this is not the Giants list of best players it’s the list of players they can least afford to replace if they were to miss significant time.

Steve Smith is a very good pro and has great chemistry with Eli Manning, but I think the nature of the Giants team is one that has a lot of depth at WR. I think Mario Manningham could step in admirably for Steve Smith.

#8 Darius Reynaud

Just kidding.

#8  Barry Cofield

One of the biggest problems last season with the Giants was that they could not force any pressure up the middle and this season  and the biggest reason for that is Barry Cofield who has an impressive thirty tackles and 3 sacks from the defensive tackle position in a 4-3 which is impressive.

Cofield has been a revelation this year and the Giants are going to have to call Jerry McGuire and Show Him The Money!

#7 Chris Snee

Offensive line is one of the most important positions in the N.F.L. and Chris Snee is one of the best interior offensive linemen in the N.F.L., but the reason he’s only #7 on this list is because I am drinking the Andrews kool-aid. I think Shawn Andrews could replace one player on the line if they were to get hurt at either guard or tackle. He’s extremely talented and has been very good this season.

I would hate to lose Snee for any extended period of time, but I think they could absorb that and be O.K.

#6 Jonathan Goff

Again, this is not the list of the best NY Giants football players, just the ones the Giants could least afford to lose. The reason Jonathan Goff is so high is because Im’ scared to death about what the Giants would do if Goff were to get hurt. If Goff got hurt they’d have to hope that Phillip Dillard could take over or that Bulluck could slide back into the middle, be healthy, and that Clint Sintim could take over Bulluck’s spot (which he has done O.K. with). Gerris Wilkinson might also be forced into the middle, but he has a broken hand already and I just don’t want to see that.

#5 Corey Webster

Webster has been the Giants best cover corner on the Giants this season and one of the better ones in the league. He has 9 passes completed against him this year (at least at one point late in the Dallas game I can’t remember if any of the remaining passes were completed against him). Webster has played very well. It’d be nice to see him get his hands on some balls the rest of the season, but as long as he continues to shut down whoever he is faced up against the Giants will be in good shape.

5A Deon Grant

I know this seems outrageously high for Deon Grant, but he is playing a position on the team that no one else could play if he were to get hurt.

He’s not as good as Kenny Phillips, but he has provided leadership and has seemed to help to solve the communication problems that plagued the defense last season.

Deon Grant has also been very productive and seems to be making clutch plays every game.

He has added a dimension to the Giants they didn’t have last year or wouldn’t have without him. Grant’s absence would also mean much, much more of Aaron Ross and Bruce Johnson and I don’t really want to see that.

Deon Grant is NOT the fifth best player on the Giants, but what he does for the team schematically could not be replaced this season (the Giants drafted Chad Jones, I read, to play the pseudo linebacker spot Grant is playing…which is brilliant use of him, I think. Hopefully he’ll be back next year, or sometime in his lifetime).

#4 Hakeem Nicks

I know I made the argument that Smith is so low  because the Giants have depth at WR, but that’s because I think Manningham could alleviate some of what Smith is asked to do as far as being a possession receiver, or the Giants could use Boss as a possession receiver. But if Nicks were to go down, what would the Giants do in the Red-zone? I’m not sure.

The Giants offense has been MUCH, MUCH better in the Red zone this year, and that is almost directly related to Hakeem Nicks’ abilities in that area. He has 8 touchdowns this year and is playing at an All-Pro (not pro bowl) level this season.

Please stay healthy, Mr.Nicks.

#3 Osi Umenyiora

What a difference a healthy, content Osi makes on the defense. He has been great this season, and is another player who could be considered for Giants M.V.P up to this point. His knack for forcing fumbles is uncanny and like last year, he’s leading the team in sacks.

#2 Ahmad Bradshaw

I’ve been tough on Bradshaw during the off-season and heading into the season, but he wins. He’s playing very, very well. He’s been great. I still think the Giants could use another guy as a third down reception guy, and Bradshaw needs to hold onto the ball, but the Giants have a balanced attack this season because Bradshaw has overcome some of the deficiencies of the Giants offensive line.

#1 Justin Tuck

The leader of the defense and one of the best all around defensive players in the league.

Tuck has been much better in rushing the passer this season after struggling to do so last year, AND at the end of 2008 (.5 a sack in the final 5 games of the 2008 season)..  He’s also doing very well and getting to the fumbles that Osi has created during the season. Most importantly though he’s stepped up as a leader this season and inspired his teammates to play better.

WoW, this is much harder than I thought it would be. And I’d change things if I had to do it again. I left off Kenny Phillips which was not intentional, but I don’t think he’s all the way back yet, though he’s playing very well and his position could be filled by Deon Grant (but his loss would have the same effect of losing Grant as the hybrid linebacker).

Kevin Boss is also very important because if he got hurt Bear Pascoe and Beckum would have to fill his void of an above average blocker and receiver. Beckum can be a better receiving option than Boss and Bear Pascoe can block, but they can’t be on the field at the same time.

So Boss could fit on this list, I just don’t know who to take off? Rolle?  Cofield? Goff? Smith? It’s a tough call.

Lastly, I was doing this as players, but if I didn’t have this list limited to players I could definitely make an argument for the inclusion of Perry Fewell, especially after watching the pathetic performances of the defense last year.

Thoughts and comments, I’m sure there are a lot of divergent opinions on this list. Let me have it!

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14 Responses to “The NY Giants 10 Most Indispensable Players”

  1. john says:

    I saw waht you wrote early but withour Eli none of this matters

  2. Andrew Ilnicki says:

    About the running game…

    The Giants won a Superbowl with 2 backs in the rotation, not 3…. and Derrick Ward was good out of the backfield but he never at any point led the NFL in rushing. If the Giants current attack stays balanced between the 2 RBs and the offensive line continues to improve, I think that Bradshaw and Jacobs can be as good as the trio from 2008. Maybe they don’t lead the league this year in terms of total yards per game… but I think I’d rather have a multi-dimensional offense anyway. The Giants are really cooking right now with the 2-back system the way it is, Bradshaw starting.

    I’m not going to say I told you so… but lord knows I ALWAYS wanted more of #44 when he was in Ward’s shadow, now he’s there. I mean that’s been my jersey now for 3 years. I love the guy and he’s fantastic. They split him out wide as a receiver to shake things up like Ward used to do… Bradshaw does it just as well and gets upfield much quicker. I do NOT miss Ward and I think adding another cook in the kitchen, er — the backfield will only confuse the issue. I like the 1-2 punch better. It’s simpler, and it’s undoubtedly effective, and keeps things deceptive.

    In terms of catching out of the backfield – that is on Eli’s decision making, not Bradshaw. Eli looks downfield more often than not, wants a deeper gash – does not want to over rely on that check down stuff. It has nothing to do with the backs not being in position or not being good at executing those plays. Eli would rather hit Smith, Nicks, or Manningham further down field.

    Bradshaw is #1 in the NFL now — number freaking one. I’ve waited 2 years now to see him get there and I wouldn’t care for anyone to come in and take away snaps from either Bradshaw or Jacobs right now.

    I love it the way they have it, and it’s clearly working extremely well at the moment.

  3. Frank Ciatto says:

    I wrote down my own 10 (with Eli instead of Goff). Was 7 for 9 on the other 9, but on my 2 misses I had the positions right. I had Phillips for Grant (who’s having a terrific season) and Canty for Cofield (but they are both terrific). I’m thinking Jerry’s happy he didn’t dump Cofield right about now. Does Linval Joseph ever see the field? I like your list though.

  4. Richard Cranium says:

    All we really need is for more consistency in Conerly to Rote completions. It’s a given that Big Red will grind out the yardage and Giff likes showing off his passing prowess on the option play. Some are saying he may want to try his hand at QB. The defense is rock solid with Little Mo, Rosie and Andy beating up on opponents weekly. Jimmy Patton is coming along nicely and this new kid Huff has the makings of a really good MLB. All in all – looks like the Giants are winners.

  5. baber says:

    what is this guy talking about??

    • Richard Cranium says:

      Before there was the Super Bowl, the Giants Head Coach was Jim Lee Howell and he had a couple of assistants you may have heard of: Vince Lombardi (Offensive Coordinator) and Tom Landry (Defensive Coordinator). Not a bad coaching staff, eh?

  6. Ed says:

    Really like Cranium’s comments. They bring back wonderful memories of rooting for the Giants as a kid and as a young man before the dark days of Allie and the 70s.

    It is good to see the current team playing well AND all wins over Dallas are doubly sweet. It is so interesting that Giants, Eagles and Redskins fans absolutely revel in the wins of their teams over Dallas. Those Cowboys are definitely a common enemy.

    Having said that, it seems the media and so many pro football fans have overrated the Cowboys year after year for quite some time now.

    Go Giants!

    • Richard Cranium says:

      Do you recall the small plane flying over the stadium during a game with the banner trailing (paraphrasing) “15 years of lousy football… enough!”

  7. Richard Cranium says:

    And who can forget the entire stadium singing, “Good bye Allie…”.

  8. Richard Cranium says:

    Before I forget… one of the best things I saw in the Cowboys game from the Giants was TOUCHBACKS. Tynes actually kicked off into the end zone. Boy is THAT a needed luxury instead of the ball coming down at the 15 or 20.

  9. Jeremy P. says:

    (Great Point about Goff. Scary thought if he goes down.)-(Grant reminds me of Madison, he was the best 4th corner ever.)

    Even if you include Manning our most indispensable player would be Bradshaw. Without him at 100% we are an 8-8 team. Tuck would be 3rd followed by Osi then next up after him would be Canty. You can make an argument that Webster would be next. But everyone after that that is not a starting safety is interchangeable.

    The only catch being offensive Lineman. If we were to lose 2 of those guys at the same time, and I mean any two, we would be in serious trouble. (I think Diehl could replace Snee and we wouldn’t even notice- but then who would replace Deihl). Never-mind, gnore whats in the parenthesis.

    Oh and Steve Smith is more valuable than Hakim Nicks. The reason being we need an outlet receiver to catch the ball over the middle when Eli is being pressured. Ala Dallas Clark or Wes Welker. Deep receivers are a dime a dozen. I can name a 12 or thirteen just off the top of my head. We have two(manningham + Nicks).

    How many bonafied slot receivers who aren’t TE are there in this league? I can only name about 4.

    PS: Question. Do we keep Cofield at years end, and drop Kiwi. Or do we keep them both and trade Osi? Decisions, decisions.

    • Jason C. says:

      Do you seriously think Nicks is a dime a dozen deep ball WR?? Second question: do you watch New York Giants football??? I really don’t know what to say, keep watching, you can retract your statement at any time…

  10. gary curley says:

    I agree with the last post it is absolutely ludicrous to believe the team could go anywhere without Eli. He is the absolute #1 indispensable player on the roster!

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