Work in Sports
New York Giants
Offensive line will be key to success in 2000
The New York Giants open their training camp at the University of Albany in Albany, N.Y., on July 21. Here are a few questions from Sports Illustrated's Dr. Z, followed by CNNSI.com's perspective on some of the issues facing the Giants this season. SI's season preview will post Aug. 23.
Dr. Z wants to know:
1.) Sure, everybody's hoping for a breakout year from Kerry Collins and a dynamic debut for massive rookie tailback Ron Dayne, but doesn't it all start with the offensive line?
2.) If your answer is "yes," then won't it take a magician's wand from O-line coach Jim McNally (granted, one of the best in the business) to shape up a unit that returns only one starter?
3.) Still on the O-line -- can't seem to shake the feeling that the whole success of the 2000 season rests on its shoulders -- will LT import Lomas Brown be the glue that holds this group together or merely an aging 37-year-old who was clearly on the downside last year in Cleveland?
4.) What happened to All-Pro LE Michael Strahan last year? Nagging injuries or what? And how about RCB Jason Sehorn, whose idea of offseason rehab was making the celebrity scene in L.A., and NYC, and all over?
The Giants can make the playoffs if ... rather when it's a cold day in a hot place. The G-men finished 7-9 last season and gave up 358 points (22.3 per game). To counter, the front office signed cornerback Dave Thomas and linebacker Michael Barrow -- not exactly the type moves that strike fear into the hearts of Cowboys and Indians....
Pivotal games: The first seven games of the season will determine whether the Giants will secure a top-10 pick in the 2001 draft. Three of the games are at home, and each are against NFC East teams: Arizona, Washington and Dallas. The road games are at Philadelphia, Chicago, Tennessee and Atlanta. By the time the bye week (Oct. 22) rolls around, Giants fans could be turning their attention to the college ranks.
On the hot seat: Everyone not named "Ron Dayne." With the exception of Dayne, the team's No. 1 draft choice, no one should feel secure. If the Giants stumble out of the gate, fans really will need a scorecard in 2001 to identify the players.
Up-and-comers: Fourth-year safety Sam Garnes has improved his tackles totals each season, including 75 last year, which was second only to Jessie Armstead (98). With the porous defensive front seven of the Giants, look for Garnes to increase his tackle totals again in 2000.