A Giant Thursday is upon us, today we look at Giants best case/worst case scenarios for the upcoming 2010 season.
S Kenny Philips: Best Case, Philips returns to the Giants healthy enough to participate in camp, albeit in a limited capacity, and is ready to start next to Antrel Rolle to start the season. Worst case, Philips return is ever so cautious, due to lingering knee soreness and/or swelling, Philips is placed on the PUP list and returns in Week 8, leaving veteran free agent signee Deon Grant to start opposite of Antrel Rolle.
JPP: Best case, JPP is actually a sponge, has a good camp and shows enough flashes during pre-season that JPP is a factor on 3rd down passing situations. Worst Case: JPP is an inactive for most game days in 2010, essentially a redshirt year while he learns the pro game and gets up to speed.
Middle Linebacker: Best Case, rookie Philip Dillard wins the starting job with a great camp and preseason where he earns the trust of the coaches and flys all over the field, Dillard becomes is more than just a stabilizing presence in the middle of the defense, he is a play-maker and one of the strengths of the defense. Worst case, Dillard is a special teamer, backing up Jonothan Goff at middle linebacker who wins the middle linebacker spot by default.
Pass Rush: Best case, Tuck, Umeniyora, and Kiwi form a stud three man rotation at defensive end with JPP contributing on passing down (see above) and the Giants pass rush once again becomes a factor and controls games. Worst Case, Umeniyora struggles against the run, loses his starting spot to Kiwi, trouble brews in the locker room, Tuck again gets too beat up to stay healthy, and JPP is a non-factor, leaving Perry Fewell with the tough job of manufacturing the pass rush via linebacker blitz(s) featuring Sintim and Boley (don’t get me wrong, Sintim is being looked upon to step up, earn the starting strong side gig with solid run defense and by making a impact on 3rd downs in the passing game.
Defensive Tackle: Best Case, rookie Linval Joseph earns significant playing time next to Chris Canty, perhaps a starting role, Canty stays healthy taking advantage of double teams on Joseph, with a healthy Jay Alford rotating in and Barry Cofield providing great run defense. Worst case, Canty still struggles to adapt to the inside of the 4-3 defense, Alford is slow to return to form following last year’s knee injury, Joseph is not ready to assume a major role, and Barry Cofield plays like Barry Cofield during the first half of the 2009 season.
Fearless Prediction: 4th Round draft pick Philip Dillard wins the starting middle linebacker role and plays strong, exceeding expectations and providing leadership on the second level of the defense; Linval Joseph is an impact player in the middle and the Giants run defense shows huge improvement in 2010.