All the talk this offseason has been about how the New York Giants offense has immense potential come 2015. Many including myself, are predicting this to quite possibly be the greatest offensive unit they’ve ever had. A lot of that has to do with having 2nd-year wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. on the roster.
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So, what if they don’t live up to lofty expectations? What if Victor Cruz is still ailed by the knee injury that ended his 2014 season? Or Eli Manning has flashbacks of 2013? Or the offensive fails to grow? The repercussions could be enormous.
Let’s face it, this is a make or break year for both head coach Tom Coughlin and general manager Jerry Reese. If they don’t make the postseason they’re both out of jobs. The trickle down effect of their roster management could effect the jobs of many others as well.
A lot is being put on this Giants offense to succeed. The defense right now is a big question mark considering their youth and the questions regarding newly hired defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. The offense will be heavily relied on to pick up the slack, which puts a lot of pressure on the quarterback.
Currently, Manning is playing out the final year of his contract. If he somehow regresses and underperforms in a high turnover season, I wouldn’t be surprised if they let him walk. I know, this fan base loves Eli. How could you not? At some point everyone has to move on. He will be entering his 12th season with the team, and sooner rather than later it will be time to look for the next signal caller.
This decision might be even easier considering where the Giants are picking in next year’s draft. If they land another top 10 pick, moving on from Manning would make more business sense. He’s not the only fan favorite that could be on the mend in 2015.
Nov 24, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz (80) reacts after catching a long pass against the Dallas Cowboys during the fourth quarter of a game at MetLife Stadium. The Cowboys defeated the Giants 24-21. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Victor Cruz is one of the better route runners in football. When Manning lost former 2nd-round pick Steve Smith following the 2010 season, Cruz stepped in and the offense didn’t miss a beat. The question now is how will last year’s knee injury affect his ability to be shifty running routes, especially in the slot?
This is now back-to-back years in which his season has been ended by a knee injury, and considering the style he plays, it doesn’t bode well for long-term success. If he doesn’t show the same burst or continues to be hampered by injury, there is no question he will be cut following the season.
His contract is enormous, and in a league where receivers aren’t hard to come by, I don’t think the team would have any problem letting him go. Again, he’s a fan favorite like Eli, but when you begin to make personal decisions and not business decisions you can get yourself into big trouble.
A poor season on the offensive line could lead to the end of the line for long-time offensive line coach Pat Flaherty. Who’s had immense success with his units, but also colossal failures throughout the years. It could also be time to cut bait on Will Beatty‘s enormous contract, especially after his pectoral injury that currently leaves him out 5-6 months.
Come 2016, we could be looking at a completely different football team, especially on the offensive side. As always, it relies on performance, but underperforming just isn’t an option after 3 consecutive years without playoff football.