With the 2013 season officially in the books for the entire NFC East, we’ll spend the next couple of weeks highlighting the seasons of the Eagles’ division rivals.
This week, we caught up with Lou Musto of cover32’s New York Giants site. We asked Lou a few questions in hopes of summing up the Giants’ campaign.
Troy Weller: Who was the one person this year that had the most positive impact on the Giants’ final record?
Lou Musto: Things turned around for the Giants when they acquired middle linebacker Jon Beason from the Panthers. Beason’s time in Carolina was up and the Giants desperately needed a linebacker. I doubt anyone expected him to play as well as he did. He really helped pick up a defensive unit that was underperforming at the start of the season. Beason finished second on the Giants with 93 tackles in 12 games in New York. The Giants, during that time, were 7-5 while shutting down some of the league’s top rushers, including LeSean McCoy (twice), Matt Forte, Adrian Peterson and Alfred Morris.
TW: Who is the most overrated player on the Giants and why?
LM: Hakeem Nicks, apparently. For all his talent and ability, he really didn’t seem particularly interested in trying this season and it cost the Giants—and likely him as well, as he is expected to hit the free agent market. For a player of Nicks’ caliber to finish with zero touchdown catches says a lot about him. Considering his injury history and a poor season in 2012 as well, it’s fair to say Nicks probably isn’t the top receiver he was just a short time ago.
TW: What is your overall feeling on the job done by New York’s entire coaching staff?
LM: Things could’ve been better all around, but offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride and offensive line coach Pat Flaherty had to have been the most disappointing performers among the coaches this season. Poor protection up front and atrocious play calling hurt the Giants, especially when they got rolling and had an opportunity to make a splash despite their 0-6 start. I’ll say that Gilbride caught more flak than he deserved, but his departure will be a good thing going forward as long the G-Men are able to find a quality replacement.
I’m pleased with the job defensive coordinator Perry Fewell did. Despite an abundance of injuries and lackluster talent, they played like a strong defensive unit who, while giving up some big chunks of yardage, really held their own throughout the season despite the offense’s poor play. Their play against the run was especially impressive.
As for head coach Tom Coughlin, his ability to keep the Giants focused despite their dismal start and then their elimination from playoff contention should be commended. The Giants never quit, and there were a lot of times when they really probably should have. They were not a good football team, but they were focused enough to compete in the second half of the season and that’s why they were able to finish just one game under .500.
TW: Which side of the ball do you think made the most progress as a unit in 2013?
LM: Definitely the defense. The defensive line, linebackers and secondary were a stout, cohesive unit. And considering the youth throughout, that shows a lot of promise for the future.
The offense, meanwhile, needs to scrap everything and start over. They took a lot of steps backward in 2013.
TW: At what position(s) do the Giants need to draft in order to improve in 2014?
LM: The Giants are going to have a lot of talent to choose from, even in the middle of the first round. Improvements must be made on the offensive line, but they shouldn’t ignore the cornerback position or running back, should something they covet be available to them. Offensive line must be top priority though. They have at least three voids that need to be filled and concerns about Will Beatty’s future potentially puts a future left tackle at the top of the list.