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Offense the Key for the Giants on Monday Night

Giants offense tries to do better the second time around

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Brandon Jacobs and the rest of the Giants offense find themselves in a tough spot.

    The Giants hit the field for their second preseason game on Monday night against the Bears with a serious need to show that the team is heading in the right direction.

    The latest offseason lump came on Friday when Osi Umenyiora, seemingly forced into a corner by the Giants' refusal to trade him or pay him more money, pulled out his trump card and chose to have surgery on his knee instead of continuing to play.

    That decision came with a side dish of foreshadowing for a serious battle to come when Umenyiora will choose whether or not to return from his surgery or if he'll simply keep playing the world's smallest violin after figuring out a way to get paid and not play for the Giants.

    That outcome leaves the Giants looking worse than they've looked at any other point this offseason. Umenyiora called their bluff and, once again, the Giants had no response when something didn't go their way.

    We've gotten used to that sequence of events. Kevin Boss, Steve Smith and Plaxico Burress were all pursued by the Giants, they all signed elsewhere and the team didn't even try to come up with other players to use in their roles.

    The result was an awful offensive performance against the Panthers in the preseason opener, one they can't afford to repeat against the Bears at the Meadowlands.

    Eli Manning needs to lead a couple of scoring drives in the first half, the offensive line needs to keep him upright and someone from the muddy morass of receivers and tight ends needs to show that the Giants have enough weapons to put together a strong aerial attack.

    If the offense struggles again, however, the Giants are going to have to come up with something other than "Just trust us" as a way to explain themselves.

    It won't matter that Boss is now hurt, that Smith might not play for another month or that there never was any chance Burress was coming back when people start expressing disgust with the Giants' offensive shortcomings.

    Should it come to that, the Giants have no one but themselves to blame. They made it look like there was serious interest in all three players and then watched all of them sign with other teams.

    The Giants have tried some possibly revisionist history about how interested they were in those players in the first place, but the failure to bring in anyone to fill their roles from outside the organization makes it a very hard sell. And none of this even covers the vitriol that will accompany a poor showing by the offensive line.

    Jerry Reese, Tom Coughlin and Giants ownership have held fast to the idea that there's enough in the cupboard to make a real run at a title this season. That means they need a "told you so" performance from their offense of Monday night or the whispers that the Giants don't know what they're doing will turn into shouts.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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