Antonio Pierce: Easy to start with Pierce who was released last week. Safe to say the G-men will have a new middle linebacker in 2010 and it is likely to be someone not already on the roster (apologies to Chase Blackburn and Jonothan Goff).
Danny Clark: Signed as a free agent in 2009, Clark has started on the strong side for the past teo years. Never thought of as a speedster, Clark is not getting any faster or younger at 33 years of age. The writing was on the wall when Jerry Reese selected Clint Sintim out of Virgina Tech in the 2nd round of last year’s draft. Clark is a classy professional, a good locker room guy, but is a liability in pass coverage and at this stage of his career, he is no longer a starting caliber player. Clark is likely a goner in 2010.
Clint Sintim: Sintim was drafted as the heir apparent at the SAM position and has potential to be a real force rushing the passer and against the run. Don’t rule out the Giants adding another versatile linebacker to compete with Sintim and add depth, but his time has likely come and he will be given every opportunity to be the starter on the strong side for the Giants in 2010. Sintim has the potential to make big plays and help the Giants defense get back to the glory days.
Michael Boley: One of the three big off-season acquisitions by Jerry Reese in 2010 (5 years, $25 million), Boley’s first year in blue was an obvious disappointment. Boley took about all season to get healthy and acclimated. Boley gets a first year pass but I expect the Giants will add another young piece on the weakside to push Boley (and for a contingency plan in case Boley really can’t be the impact player the Giants thought they were getting last year). The Good: Boley is fast, athletic, and has shown the ability to make plays. Now, let’s see him stay healthy and do it over the course of a whole season.
Ok, now time to stop the in-depth analysis as the following fellas better not be part of the starting lineup for Perry Fewell’s revamped defense in 2010 (Chase Blackburn: Hopefully back in 2010 as a star special teams player and a guy who adds quality depth, no bigger role than that; Gerris Wilkinson: Hopefully disappointing another team with his inability to stay healthy; Jonothan Goff: Acutally, Goff might have starting ability, but he is raw, perhaps a stud defensive tackle taking on blockers allows a guy like Goff to shine, Goff has the physical attributes to contribute; Zak DeOssie: Sentimental favorite, good special teams player, and he should stay on special teams).
The way I see it, the Giants will return Sintim, Boley, Blackburn, Goff and DeOssie, that’s it. So, obviously, Jerry Reese will need to add a new starting middle linebacker in the draft, free agency or through trade and also will add in additional depth on the weakside and at the SAM.. Reese is officially on the hot seat.