45 days until training camp officially opens and the Giants are one of many teams dealing with question marks on both sides of the ball. On this Friday, we look at the anticipated training camp battles which are sure to keep our attention until the 2010 season begins.
Offensive Line: Kevin Gilbride has confirmed that last year’s 2nd round pick, William Beatty, is charging hard to take the starting left tackle spot from David Diehl, if Beatty wins the job, Diehl moves inside to Rich Seubert’s spot and Seubert becomes a super-sub on the line. Prediction: Pencil in William Beatty to win the starting left tackle job and Diehl to make the transition inside to guard. Others to Watch: Reserve offensive lineman Guy Whimper is making the transition to guard from tackle; rookie 5th round draft choice Mitch Petrus probably remains on special teams while being groomed for the future and undrafted free agent Dennis Landolt may have a chance to stick on the roster with Kevin Boothe’s torn pectoral injury keeping him sidelined.
Middle Linebacker: Jonathan Goff, after starting 4 games in place of the departed Antonio Pierce is the front-runner here, but don’t count out rookie 4th round pick Philip Dillard who has spent some time with the 1st team defense during minicamps so far. Gerris Wilkinson is also getting a look here as well. But, it comes down to Goff and Dillard. Prediction: Too hard to call, but we like what we see out of Dillard so far.
Kick Returner/Punt Returner: With the injury to Domenik Hixon, opportunity arises for Aaron Ross, Mario Manningham and perhaps rookie 3rd round draft choice Chad Jones to earn punt returning duties. Sinorice Moss is also being mentioned here but he has shown virtually nothing in the return game thus far. Prediction: Aaron Ross gets his wish and he and Manningham duke it out for punt return duties, too tough to call right now. Kickoff returns is a bit more uncertain, 2nd year running back Andre Brown may get a look (though we don’t know how explosive he is going to be returning from a achilles heel tear; Ahmad Bradshaw should be a candidate, but can his feet and ankles hold up with a greater work load? Could Jerry Reese look at Roscoe Parrish of the Bills? Prediction: Andre Brown will get his shot, but don’t count out Jerry Reese bringing in new blood here.
Keep An Eye On:
1. Clint Sintim as he has assumed the starting strong side linebacker spot, so far, he has earned nice reviews from new DC Perry Fewell, but where is the backup plan here? Chase Blackburn on the strong side? This one has us a bit worried, though we have high hopes that Sintim can be an impact player, but if an injury happens, where do the G-men go from here?
2. Ramses Barden/Derek Hagan/Sinorice Moss/Travis Beckum: The battle for the 4th wide receiver position should be fierce; Hagan has earned Tom Coughlin’s respect on special teams and has shown great hands since being signed last year; Barden continues to develop, but is he ready to grab a role in the passing game? Can Travis Beckum play to his strengths and be the mis-match everyone envisioned last year?
3. A return from injuries: Welcome back Jay Alford, Kenny Philips, Ahmad Bradshaw, Brandon Jacobs, Guy Whimper, and Rocky Bernard. Obviously, everyone’s eyes will be on Philips, as he returns from the dreaded micro-fracture procedure, so far so good, no pain and no swelling, the Giants can only hope KP continues to feel this good as his workload increases. Bernard is facing a tough time at defensive tackle after a horrible year after being signed as a free agent in 2009, rookie Linval “the Anvil” Joseph has drawn rave reviews, Canty returns motivated, and Jay Alford will look to carve out a role as well, the tackle position looks crowded right now, let the battle begin.