On Monday, quarterback Eli Manning said during a WFAN interview that this New York Giants team has a lot to prove before it can be considered one of the better teams in the league. In a sense, he is right. This specific group of core players had an extremely up-and-down season in 2011.
Although 2011 ended with the hoisting of the Lombardi Trophy, there were times during the season when the outlook was less than favorable. In an interview with Mike Garafolo of The Star-Ledger, Giants right guard Chris Snee talked about how he expects the team to continue is stellar play from the end of last season into 2012.
"That’s the goal again this time, to start off hot. It’s almost the same exact schedule (as 2008); we play the AFC North again, so that’ll be familiar. It won’t be easy, but we have the pieces to do it," Snee said.
Last year, the Giants had a hard time playing consistently throughout the course of the regular season. For example, after an invigorating Week 13 win against the Dallas Cowboys on the road, Big Blue got blown out by a lesser talented Washington Redskins team at home the very next game. The team's 9-7 record boasted wins over the Patriots, Cowboys, Jets, and Eagles, while also including losses to the Seahawks and Redskins' (twice). Every NFL team has its up and down weeks; however, the 2011 New York Giants seemed to be more erratic than any other organization.
However, for the Giants to make it through their grueling schedule in 2012, it is essential that the team wins the games it is "supposed" to win. Not only does Snee expect for the Giants to come out strong in 2012, he would be surprised if they didn't.
"If you’re a competitor, you want to win the game, you want the challenge of going back-to-back, which is tough to do. But we feel we have the pieces to do it. We just have to come together like we did last year. It would be a shame not to carry on what we established during the postseason when we played so well," he said.
Luckily for the Giants, Snee is right. For the first time in a long-time, the team has a deep, talented group of linebackers. Furthermore, the offensive line should be improved after a year of experience with each other. If the Giants stay healthy, they have all the pieces to become a consistent, dominant force in the NFL for years to come. However, with the NFL's evolution into a rapid-changing environment, one never knows what to expect come Sunday.
Hopefully, Big Blue can continue its outstanding postseason play into 2012. This team will no longer have the luxury of sneaking up on anybody, nor will they have to deal with teams not taking them seriously. Everyone knows the 2011 Giants have the potential to be a force to be reckoned with for years to come, but in order to make that happen, the team must play in a more consistent manner.
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