A critical flaw with the NY Giants during the 2009 season was discussed and analyzed here on this blog and the mainstream media..
Banks made many harsh comments about how this team had a lack of heart and pride. An interesting point was brought to the fore front by former guard Roman Oben on how leadership is born within and not purchased via free agency: “Free-agent acquisitions for the most part are mercenaries who are there for the money. It takes guys like Carson or Strahan who have their entire life’s work invested in the team to be real leaders.” The coaching has been faulted for the implosion but the players on the field have not responded to any voice of a fellow teammate. There was obviously a void. This exemplifies how critical Strahan was to this team not just by his ability to manipulate his blocker but his well respected voice as well. Pierce ran the defense but Strahan was the player-coach on the field.
Tuck used a legitimate but tame excuse for not stepping to the forefront as the team leader this past season due to a lingering shoulder injury. From the list of “home grown talent” of who we can we expect to mature and step to the forefront: Manning, Diehl, Jacobs, Webster or Tuck? This is technically a very young team as outside of “free agent mercenaries” McKenzie and O’Hara who else is there? (Remember “free agent mercenaries” Feagles, Clark and Robbins are UFAs.) Unless Manning has an awakening and starts to take on a brotherly role (Peyton) we have realistically none other than Justin Tuck to look to. Strahan has lauded Tuck as a physical talent that surpasses him yet we all know that Strahan possessed mental attributes that made him the best DE in NY Giants history. Tuck possesses the most talent to lineup at any position on the Dline including adequate ability to drop back a la Sheridan in pass coverage. Spags unleashed that raw talent in Super Bowl XLII and we will always remember Tuck’s strip of Brady at the end of the first half.
Better and absolute health is critical to success for Fewell and a possible trip to XLV but someone has to step up and fill the leadership void. Who other than Tuck will it be?