Weaknesses: Three things that concern me

September, 4, 2012
9/04/12
9:15
PM ET
There's plenty to be excited about when it comes to the Giants' strengths this season.

My colleague Kieran Darcy will write about three Giants things he is confident about (and I am likely confident about as well) heading into the season. But there are also three things that have me slightly concerned entering the season opener for the defending champs.

I think the positives -- such as Eli Manning and his playmaking receivers, the daunting pass rush and championship experience -- outweigh the negatives for the Giants.

But here are three concerns that are on my radar for the Giants:

[+] EnlargeSean Locklear
AP Photo/Evan PinkusHow will Sean Locklear fare as the Giants' starting left tackle?
Left tackle/offensive line: The Giants are going to start Sean Locklear at left tackle and he has been solid all preseason long there while Will Beatty's back acted up.

But the Giants envisioned Beatty as their starter, and we have no idea how his back is going to hold up the whole season. I don't have to tell you how important it is to protect Eli's backside. So until we see how Locklear does in the regular season and how Beatty's back progresses, left tackle is a question mark. But Kevin Gilbride liked what he saw from Locklear so much so that he stopped considering moving David Diehl back to left tackle.

The offensive line has much to prove this season. It has to protect Manning and jump start a running game that finished last in the NFL last season. The line had its good and bad moments running the ball in the preseason. An effective running game will only make Manning and his playaction that much more dangerous.

Cornerback: There are no worries with Corey Webster. But on the other side, the Giants will start veteran Michael Coe. He has impressed his teammates and coaches since OTAs with his play, but he knows he will be targeted by Tony Romo on Wednesday.

Coe is expected to start until Prince Amukamara returns from a high ankle sprain. We'll have to see how Coe is playing when Amukamara returns. And even if Prince starts, we also don't know how good the 2011 first-round pick is since he missed most of his rookie season with a foot injury.

Terrell Thomas was supposed to stabilize the other side opposite Webster. And remember, Thomas was going to cover slot receivers in three-receiver sets. Now, Antrel Rolle might have to do that until Jayron Hosley or Will Hill are ready to cover slot receivers. We'll know by the end of the year how good Amukamara and Coe are and if the Giants will need to upgrade at cornerback.

Stopping the run: Throughout the offseason, Giants defensive players have been uttering much of the same thing –- it starts with stopping the run. It's a cliché, but the Giants struggled to stop the run during the first half of the season last year and good things happened when they were able to shut down opposing running games.

This season, the Giants will have to stop the run for at least the first six games without big Chris Canty, who is on the PUP list. Linval Joseph and Rocky Bernard start at defensive tackle. Behind them are Marvin Austin, who has been sidelined by a back injury, and rookie Markus Kuhn. Austin hopes to be back in Week 2 but he is just as inexperienced as Kuhn is, since the promising Austin missed his rookie season last year due to injury.

The Giants' deep linebacking corps should help in this department. Mathias Kiwanuka, Chase Blackburn, Michael Boley, Keith Rivers, Mark Herzlich and Jacquian Williams should make the Giants more stout against the run. And Perry Fewell can always tinker with his four defensive ends and move Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul inside at times.

This isn't the biggest concern I have, but we will be keeping an eye on the interior of the defensive line and how the Giants fare against the run. As we all know, once teams are forced to pass, the vaunted pass rush can do its thing.

All right guys, tell me what concerns you the most entering the season? Tell me your biggest Giants fears below!
Ohm Youngmisuk has covered the Giants, Jets and the NFL since 2006. Prior to that, he covered the Nets, Knicks and the NBA for nearly a decade. He joined ESPNNewYork.com after working at the New York Daily News for almost 12 years and is a graduate of Michigan State University.
Follow him on Twitter »  Ohm's chat archive »

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Comments

You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?