Giants Need to Focus On Long-Term Future
In football, the dreaded R-word (rebuilding) is only whispered in dark corners and secret backrooms beyond the locker room and the front office. It's not a word that elicits much optimism, despite its inherently optimistic purpose. However, rebuilding is necessary every once in a while for most teams. It comes around every so often and rears its head, bringing us crashing down to Earth. It's a necessary part of the cycle of NFL life, and for some teams in a perpetual state of rebuilding, like the Cleveland Browns, it simply is their way of life.
The New York Giants haven't had what you would call a "rebuilding season" or even a season that remotely resembles one in almost a decade. But no matter what you choose to call it, rebuilding or not, the Giants need to begin thinking of their long-term future. It seems that their run of trying to bank on short-term success and a "win now" formula has come to an end, and it's time to start planning for long-term success by focusing on long-term solutions to their many problems rather than patching them up with a few free-agent band-aids.
One of the harshest realizations about the Giants this year has been the realization that they are not a very deep team at all. The injuries that have piled up here and there over the course of the season have revealed that the Giants are just not built to withstand that kind of wear-and-tear on their lineup. The offensive line has practically been stripped bare, with replacement G James Brewer, who was a longshot to even make the team this past summer, being benched on Sunday against Seattle. When you really give the lineup a close look, there actually isn't a position that couldn't use a little bit of help.
The point is, throwing around one-year and two-year contracts to veterans as temporary patch-ups for lingering issues is not going to help the Giants in the long run. It may serve as a nice bridge from one 9-7 season to the next, but it's not the long-term solution that the Giants need. They need to rebuild through the draft with young talent and add some talented free agents who can come in and immediately contribute to positions of need. More than anything else, this season has proven that you need depth to win in the NFL, and the Giants simply don't have it.
For the past few seasons, the Giants have skirted the boundaries between greatness and mediocrity, bouncing back and forth between Super Bowl victories and some moderately successful but ultimately disappointing seasons. They have been a team of destiny and a team that destiny has seemed to have forgotten almost at the same time. But the running theme of these past few years has been the fact that since winning Super Bowl XLVI, the Giants have not been the same team even though they've pretended to be. They've gone from year-to-year believing that they were the same team that won it all, patching up holes here, leaks there and, all the while, failing to see that the identity of the team had changed.
Despite the fact that many of us have known that since last season and that we've seen the signs for quite a while now, sometimes you're too close to the situation to really see it for what it is, and that's this: The window has closed on this version of the New York Giants, whether they like it or not, and now it's time to start thinking about the future, rather than focusing on winning now.