On a night where past and present New York Giants gathered for a good cause, it was the future that was on the minds of the Giants. Eli Manning has recently said that he is going into the 2012 season looking at the 2011 Giants as a 9-7 team, and not as the Super Bowl champions. His teammates apparently share in that attitude and are looking to improve–and repeat–in 2012.
The Giants have already taken a positive step towards solidifying their 2012 defense by bringing Osi back on a restructured contract. “Osi understands what he means to us as a team and we definitely understand what it means to have him back on the team,” said Antrel Rolle. Rolle went on to say that not only does Osi make the Giants better as a whole, but he makes him a better player. “[Osi]‘s smiling like a kid in a candy store and so am I because he’s a great teammate and an even better person.” Personal affection for Osi aside, Rolle believes that the Giants’ defensive line is the best in the league, and having Osi return just makes it “phenomenal”.
Notwithstanding Rolle’s satisfaction with the defensive line and Osi’s return, he still believes that the Giants can get better and be more consistent. Though they are the Super Bowl champions for now, Rolle and the rest of the defending Champions are working hard each day to improve on those areas that contributed to a 9-7 season. ” As far as I’m concerned, the record is 0-0 right now, so we have to go out there and compete.”
The future of the Giants’ offense is a bit more up in the air. With the loss of Manningham and the uncertainty of when Nicks will return from injury, I asked Victor Cruz if there was another wide receiver that he believed could play a more prominent role in the offense. “I think it will be Rueben Randle, or someone that’s been here like Ramses Barden or Jerrel Jernigan.” But, will there by another Victor Cruz in 2012? “Somebody has to step up in a big way so hopefully we can have another Victor-Cruz-like performance.” Cruz himself will be prepared for the inevitable. He knows that defenses will be crafting plays specifically to shut him down. “I’ll be prepared for that and as an offense we will adjust our game plan accordingly.”
With how difficult is it to repeat as Super Bowl champions, Cruz offers a recipe for repeated success. “Once you win a Super Bowl you understand what it takes to get there, and you want to continue that same aggressiveness and confidence to reach your ultimate goal.” But, as he pointed out, it’s a new year and a new season.
The past is now in the rear-view for the Champions, but they’re working hard to ensure that their future is just as promising. Can they repeat? It’s a long shot, but this team is hungry and determined to do it.