Kent Graham has found favor in the eyes of head coach Jim Fassel. Fassel believes that Graham's understanding of the Giants offensive scheme, accompanied by his zip on the ball, will make him a solid QB for years to come. However, management in the organization had another plan in mind signing the troubled but talented Kerry Collins. Danny Kanell left for Atlanta as the odd man out in New York with the addition of Collins. Mike Cherry is a young guy that the organization is excited about for the future.
Gary Brown was a low-priced free-agent pickup who rushed for 1,063 yards in '98. The Giants signed him to a new four-year contract, but they are looking to find a runner with a little more speed and big-play potential. LeShon Johnson may be the guy they are looking for, but he missed the season with lymphoma. Tiki Barber has settled into his role as the third-down back. Tyrone Wheatley, who carried the ball just 14 times all year, succeeded in finding a way out of the Giant's organization by getting traded to the Miami Dolphins. Charles Way had a bit of a letdown season, but remains one of the best blocking/pass receiving FB's in the NFL.
Chris Calloway was cut this offseason, leaving a void in the starting lineup. The team believes that one of the younger, more talented wide receivers will step up this fall. Ike Hilliard was an asset in his second-year as a pro, but needs to become more reliable. Joe Jurevicius and Brian Alford are both exciting players that are expected to be the future.
Howard Cross has remained steady throughout his 10-year career as an outstanding blocker, but has never honed his receiving skills. Andy Haase was a rookie who showed some flashes late in the season. The Giants signed pass catching TE Pete Mitchell away from Jacksonville to get more production and challenge defensive coverage match ups.
Roman Oben and Ron Stone are the only two starters certain to play the same positions next season. Bishop is a free agent whom the Giants have no interest in retaining. Lance Scott, another free agent, will likely be replaced by Brian Williams, who will attempt a comeback after missing two seasons with an eye injury. If the Giants can't sign a guard, Scott Gragg could move inside. Jerry Reynolds and Derek Engler were put on the Giants' expansion list. As if that wasn't enough change, the unit will have a new coach as Jim McNally has replaced the fired John Matsko.
This group is the team's strength. Michael Strahan, the most complete D-lineman, had Pro Bowl season and continues to perform as a dominant pass-rusher. Sackman Chad Bratzke was lost to Indy in free agency. Keith Hamilton and Robert Harris are above-average interior players. Harris, however, struggled shedding blocks at times, and saw less and less time as the season progressed. Christian Peter is an excellent backup will become more of an integral part of the defensive scheme in '99. Cedric Jones showed flashes that he can be a player after two relatively unproductive seasons.
Jesse Armstead was bothered by a sprained ankle for most of the season and his play didn't warrant a trip to the Pro Bowl. When healthy, he is one of the league's best outside linebackers. Corey Widmer, who the Giants retained in free agency, has an excellent work ethic and makes a living as a run stuffing MLB. Marcus Buckley is a mediocre guy with great straight line run filling ability but struggles to adjust on the move. Ryan Phillips may be a better alternative but needs to show more consistency. Scott Galyon is an underrated player, but he must rebound from surgery.
Jason Sehorn, the outstanding DC, is expected to step back into the lineup when training camp opens. New York needs to keep Conrad Hamilton for nickel package and as a capable reserve. Carlton Gray was cut and picked up by the Chiefs. Tito Wooten is falling out of favor in the Giant's organization. He's a big collision-guy, but bites too often on play fakes. Shaun Williams, last year's top draft choice, will likely take over for Wooten.
PK Brad Daluiso has an extremely strong kicking leg but he struggled in the second half of the season. Brad Maynard rebounded from a disappointing rookie season to become an exceptional punter for the Giants. For the second year in a row, the Giants' return teams were poor and the team must improve this unit before next season.