1) New Eli or Old Eli? What we saw in preseason was more of the inaccurate Old Eli. In PS-3 when Hixon made those two Toomer toe TDs, some of it was Eli being there but some of it was Hixon taking poorly thrown balls and pulling them in. ELI CAN HELP HIMSELF AND BE MORE ACCURATE.
2) David Diehl liability in pass rush protection.
3) Depth at TE? I was surprised the Giants did not go after someone else. Matthews and Johnson both were criticized by their own coaches. Boss better stay healthy.
4) Does Bradshaw start (at some point) this season? We know he is not starting in W1, but if he is not starting eventually it means this offense is not playing to its maximum potential.
5) Does the Defensive Line survive the loss of #92 AND Osi? Does it manage to thrive? Kiwanuka and Tuck are both very good players, but neither has done it on a full time basis.
6) Is LB the big liability we see in W1, or does Pierce play with younger legs, Kehl get the kind of playing time to make a difference, Wilkinson play well and Clark do adequate stopgap? Lots of questions here, few answers.
7) Does Kenny Phillips make an impact? Does Ross/Webster/Thomas et al grow into a great set of corners, or do they slip back?
8) Is FG kicking a liability?
9) Do specials leave off where they left us last year, or do they start where they started last year? Tale of Two Cities.
Before Osi went down I was looking for 10-6 and playoffs. The bottom line for volatility here is – tell me how Eli’s, Diehl’s and Pierce’s season are and I tell you how we do. If these three veterans do well, we do well, if two of them do well we do ok, if 1 of them do well we do poorly. There are many other variables, because if the second year players make that leap then we are in vg shape… but we still need those three to get it done. The weakest link on defense is LB. The weakest link on offense is Diehl’s pass protection. The most inconsistent part of the team is Eli’s play. Pierce seems to always start well and end slowly. He is generally playing/hurt by the end of the year, and then at that point it is like watching him with molasses under his feet. And as helpful as Diehl is in playing a position he is not meant to play, he exposes us to the speed rush. These questions this year are not as cloudy as they were last year, but they are important enough in determining the success of the team.
If you can tell me we have new Eli all year, the one who is playing 4 quarters, not disappearing in between games… if you can tell me Bradshaw and Boss are not wasted assets by Gilbride’s meathead neglect… if you can tell me Pierce is fast all season… THEN THE GIANTS ARE LIVE AS MUCH AS ANYONE IN THE NFL. We will know much more after the first 3 games. Right now I have to make them 9-7.