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You Can't Write the Giants Off in August

Strange offseason doesn't mean 2011 is a lost year

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Getty Images
    Believe it or not, there are still players filling jerseys for the Giants.

    Unless you've been caught up in the London riots, you're surely aware that the Giants have had a rough go of it since the lockout was settled.

    They've said goodbye to veterans, seen their top rookie go down with a broken foot and engaged in an exhausting, fruitless feud with Osi Umenyiora. They haven't added any big contributors through free agency and generally seem like a team caught with its pants down.

    There's not really any explanation for how that happened. The Umenyiora thing has been brewing for years and the Giants have handled it like they were hit in the back of the head by a 2X4, which is unusual for a team that normally seems to take such a measured approach to their business.

    The same is true of their salary cap situation. There's no reason for the Giants to be so hard against the cap when they have several veterans who could restructure their contracts, yet G.M. Jerry Reese only made the request of Brandon Jacobs while leaving other deals untouched and leaving the Giants on the outside of the free agent marketplace.

    As a result of all the tumult, there's been a rising current of thought that puts the Giants in a heap of trouble as the start of the season draws closer. The Eagles have drawn all the headlines, the Packers are the defending champs, the NFC South is loaded and the Giants are going nowhere fast.

    It's understandable that people are rushing to judgment after six months in suspended animation, but it is also wildly premature. The Giants have lost some good players, but they still have the most important players from last year's 10-win team and, as Ralph Vacchiano of the Daily News points out, they have some history in situations like this.

    Before the 2007 season, the Giants lost Tiki Barber and they had to deal with a holdout from Michael Strahan. They had an underwhelming offseason that saw several contributors leave the team and generated no positive buzz in the weeks leading up to the start of the season.

    That year wound up with the Giants lifting the Lombardi Trophy, which is about all you need to know about why it is foolish to draw too many conclusions when kids are still attending summer camp. There's also the run-up to the 2008 season when a loaded Giants team drew nothing but big predictions before their season fizzled out in the first round of the playoffs.

    No one saw Plaxico Burress's shooting coming, obviously, but no one predicted that the pieces of the 2007 team would gel together so well either. If the cupboard was truly bare, we'd have no argument with the dire predictions about the Giants, but there's more than enough here to temper the deserved scorn heaped on Reese for the lack of action in the last few weeks.

    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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