5 Giants Under The Most Pressure In 2013
As preparations for the 2013 NFL season begin to ramp up in earnest, attention will turn towards a handful of key players that the New York Giants will be looking to for major contributions.
For whatever reason, whether it be injury, decreased production or a turbulent contract negotiation (in Victor Cruz's case), these five players will have an added weight on their shoulders when the season kicks off. If they can deliver up to their potential, then the team will be in good shape. If not? Well, that's yet to be seen.
Wilson played a relatively small role in his rookie season in New York last year, mostly handling the kickoff return duties and coming in to give Ahmad Bradshaw's legs a rest every now and again. He shined in his limited role, showing flashes of the potential that the Giants saw when they drafted him in the first round last April.
With Bradshaw now out of the picture, the job is there for Wilson to take if he's up to the task. If his breakout performance in the Giants' 52-27 win over New Orleans last season was any indication of what he is be capable of, then the future of the Giants' backfield is in good hands.
Cruz had another outstanding season in 2012, despite the fact that he was no longer taking NFL defenses by surprise like he did in his breakout 2011 season. That kind of repeat production speaks volumes of the way Cruz is able to step up and shoulder the load in the passing game, even when Nicks was out of the lineup with his injury.
However, this offseason hasn't exactly been the smoothest for Cruz, and his contract negotiations with the Giants have taken center stage with not much else going on around the Giants organization. Although many fans are growing somewhat impatient of the back-and-forth, he still seems to have the support of Giants nation (provided that a deal gets done, of course). However, because of this drawn-out contract situation, his production on the field this season will be under the spotlight. A major dip in production might cause a few unpleasant grumblings from the fanbase and the media.
Thomas is coming off of his third major ACL injury in the last five years, and the Giants desperately need him to perform the way he did when he was healthy. The cornerback position was one of the Giants' weakest positions last season and, aside from adding Aaron Ross, not a whole lot has been done to shore it up this season.
Last year was supposed to be Thomas's big comeback season, but it never got off the ground as he suffered the exact same injury before the preseason even began. Now, with two ACL injuries in the last two seasons, it's unclear if Thomas will ever be the same player he was in 2009 and 2010, but the Giants desperately need him to be.
Tuck is unquestionably one of the team's leaders and the captain of the defense, but it's apparent that his production on the field has dropped in the last few seasons. After recording 39.5 sacks from 2007-2010, he totaled only nine in the last two seasons, and the Giants need that ferocious pass rush to return in a big way this season.
Tuck has wasted no time in taking this year's draft picks Damontre Moore and Johnathan Hankins under his wing. Now he just has to practice what he's preaching and play this season with the same kind of intensity that helped the Giants win two Super Bowls.
When Nicks is fully healthy, he's a force to be reckoned with. The world witnessed just what he is be capable of when he gets going during his blazing performance in the 2011 playoffs. When Victor Cruz and him are operating at full capacity, the Giants offense is incredibly fun to watch.
The pressure is on Nicks in 2013 to stay healthy and stay on the field to give Eli as many weapons as possible to work with. When he does, the Giants offense is pretty hard to stop.