Yesterday I discussed the blueprint for the Giants’ football foundation, and how they were an unsuccessful team, with a mistaken identity, for a number of reasons.  It’s time now to draw up a new one.

OFFENSE

– The running game took a step back in ’09.  Part of the reason was Brandon Jacobs not being Brandon Jacobs, but for the most part the problems lied within the offensive line.  Offensive-coordinator Kevin Gilbride has admitted that it will be difficult to break this group up, but it might be time real soon.  There was no surge in the running game; no push at the line of scrimmage like there used to be.  The problems seemed to be up the middle most of the time, and that was clear in short-yardage situations and in the red zone.  The G-Men ranked 23rd in the league in red zone efficiency, scoring just 48.2% of the time.  Whenever the coaches talked about the problems Jacobs was having in the running game, they discussed his hesitation looking for open holes.  So, either the holes weren’t big enough or weren’t there at all.

A pressing need is a big, powerful guard who can run block well, and generate a big push on the line of scrimmage.  Rich Seubert has gotten, and given, plenty out of his body fighting in the trenches in the eight seasons he’s played with the Giants, but he really wore down this season.  His days as a starter are more then likely done.  I’d keep him around, as a veteran presence on and off the field, and in order to fill a hole when needed.  Guards are so important to the running game, and it’s time to start grooming another powerful run-blocker.  If you look at the Giants starting 5 offensive linemen as of now (Diehl – Seubert – O’Hara – Snee – McKenzie), Snee was a second round pick in ’04, Diehl a fifth rounder in ’03, and Seubert was an undrafted free agent signed in ’01.  William  Beatty, drafted in ’09 in the second round, is projected to be a future starter in a couple years at one of the tackle spots.  Diehl is the most versatile lineman out of the whole group and can play every spot but center, and Chris Snee is a perennial pro-bowler.  In other words, they’ve built most of their O-line through the draft.  For now, left guard is one primary concern, and the Giants should use their second round draft choice on a mauling run blocker like UMass’ Vladimir Ducasse, or Florida’s Maurkice Pouncey (who can also play center).

– Another reason the running game declined was the poor blocking at the tight end position.  The Big Boss Man, Kevin Boss, has improved his blocking each of the last two seasons, but his best ability is catching the football.  Boss’ backup, Darcy Johnson, needs to significantly improve his blocking skills if he wants a spot on the roster when the 2010 season begins.

Right now the Giants have plenty of weapons on the offensive side of the ball.  Eli is a franchise quarterback.  Brandon Jacobs will be back to feeling 100 percent next season, and so will Ahmad Bradshaw.  The group of wide receivers, led by Pro Bowler Steve Smith, and tight end Kevin Boss should not be touched.  They’ve established chemistry with Eli this past season and will continue to improve upon that in the offseason.  The only weak spots are offensive line and tight end depth, and you can count on GM Jerry Reese to address those in this April’s draft and during the free agent period.

I’ll talk about Big Blue’s defensive needs in Part III