The reason why the Giants simply need to win these home games vs the Jaguars (done!) and Redskins (next, -7 pts) is because our wounded WILL eventually return. Yesterday we got some updates, and they are promising.
Nicks and Smith> Dec 12
Smith> chance for Dec 5
Diehl> Dec 12
Diehl> chance for Dec 5
O'Hara> did individual drills, an uptick
Umenyiora> on the practice field on a Wednesday for first time in a while, uptick
It is December. You need these practice appearances because what it means is that these players will work themselves back into the starting roster before the end of the season. Then, by the time the playoffs roll around, assuming the gmen are in, the entire team can execute at a higher level because these guys have already had a few starts in the regular season. So the timing could not be better. There were more than a few people who were concerned that Steve Smith, as an example, could be out the rest of the year. So to see him back on the practice field.. in any capacity here on December 1st.. is a good great sign.
2010 and 2009 are completely light years apart. 2009 had a defense that never could be counted on. 2010 has an infinitely greater amount of pride. Rolle wants to win a title. Tuck's voice is emerging as a leader that this defense really needs. Osi, as Pete pointed out earlier this season, is the complete reason for why this defense and entire team are competitive now and were not a year ago. Grant is a savvy veteran who knows exactly where to be on the field. Kenny Phillips may not be 100%, but he is playing and he is patrolling at free safety. Cofield and Canty are giving our interior DL a much more solid presence than we have had at any time since Fred Robbins in 2007.
On the offensive side of the ball, if this team gets healthy, it is going to be a handful come the playoffs. Why? Because when Eli focuses and plays 60 minutes, this unit is as good as anyone out there. And I have to believe he will step up his game when the games get bigger. Ironically, I am thinking that because we have a more realistic shot as coming in as the road wild card, that that will be good for Eli. He seems to concentrate more on the road. With a healthy OL, the Nicks X, the Smith safety-blanket and Super Mario, it is a 3 headed monster. Plus, the benefit right now of working with a limited crew of RBs and TEs as receivers is that Gilbride has to be forced to expand his team's repertoire. That can pay dividends in the playoffs when Gilbride has (dare I say it) a more versatile playbook.
The NFL is wide open. If the Giants get healthy and get into the tournament, it is not only possible for them to win it all, they will be on a short list of teams that can do it. As an example, Wonder pointed out every team's fatal flaw a while back... take for example, the Jets. The Jets do not have a pass rush. What are you going to do to adjust for that? The GM can only address that in 2011. The Giants are sloppy and have problems on the OL. Well, the OL gets healthy and the players protect the ball (0 turnovers vs Jacksonville is a start) and you have addressed your issues better than a lot of the teams on the list can address theirs. YES, this remedy is not as easy as snapping your fingers. But it CAN be addressed. The leaders of this team CAN emerge and demand it from their peers. The Giants CAN win this.
One step at a time. Beat Washington on Sunday, I do not care how ugly it is. And let's get Diehl, O'Hara, Andrews, Smith and Nicks back.