Five Giants steps back: Add speed

Will a lack of speed hold the Giants back against a new-look NFL next season? AP Photo/Kathy Willens

A year ago, the Giants were preparing to play in the Super Bowl and going through everything the Ravens and 49ers are experiencing this week.

So with it being Super Bowl week, we are exploring five things the Giants must do in order to return to the Super Bowl next year. Yesterday, we explored how the Giants have to fortify their offensive line. Today, we look at how the Giants should add more speed this offseason.

Considering that Robert Griffin III and Chip Kelly now reside in the NFC East, the division is only getting faster.

The Giants defense struggled this past season, especially when trying to stop the run. They finished 25th against the rush. While they beat the Redskins once and held them to 17 points in their loss at Washington, Griffin rushed for 89 and 72 yards and Alfred Morris racked up 120 and 124 yards against them in both meetings against the Giants.

And during an early 19-17 loss to the Eagles, the Giants couldn’t set the edge and allowed LeSean McCoy to rush for 123 yards and Michael Vick to scramble for 49 yards during that game -- the majority of those yards coming in the second half.

It remains to be seen what Kelly’s offense will be like in the pros, but he will have McCoy and DeSean Jackson’s speed to work with.

The Newark Star-Ledger recently talked to Marc Ross, Giants director of college scouting, about whether the influx of college-style option offenses might affect the Giants’ approach in any way when it comes to the upcoming draft.

"Stick with what we do,” Ross told the Star-Ledger at the Senior Bowl. “We don’t worry about what other teams do, we draft the best players for us. And we think from that, we’ll be able to defend those kind of new-wave offenses.

“Last year, even the team we have now, we think we have the personnel to beat those guys, and we’re just trying to just get better at all positions to further do that. We’re not going to drastically change anything we do, based off of those new offenses."

Ross is right. The Giants should not alter an approach that has led to two Super Bowl victories since the 2007 season. But they can enhance their formula with more speed.

Considering that they will face the Redskins and Eagles a total of four times along with Russell Wilson and the Seahawks and Cam Newton and the Panthers again next season, the Giants have to get faster like the rest of the league does to combat prolific offenses.

No matter what happens with the Eagles’ quarterback situation or how long it takes RG III to return from his knee injury, the Giants need to add speedy playmakers on defense.

They can use more speed at linebacker where they hope Jacquian Williams will be able to stay healthy for a full season next year. It remains to be seen what will happen with Michael Boley, who is entering the final year of his deal, and free agent Keith Rivers.

And the Giants will need speed at corner after struggling to stop so many big plays this past season.

The Giants can definitely add another pass rusher and a speedy one at that since Osi Umenyiora’s future remains hazy.

And on the offensive side, the Giants should utilize David Wilson’s speed more next season and regain Hakeem Nicks’ quickness when the receiver gets healthy.

If the Giants hope to return to the Super Bowl, they will need speed and athleticism to counter option attacks in their division and in the NFC, where Colin Kaepernick and the Niners will be the defending conference champs.

Tell us if you think the Giants need to add more speed, and where, for the upcoming season to contend again.