Since I may not be able to do a web chat this week because I will be at the scouting combine starting on Thursday, I wanted to try to answer a few more of your questions so here is a bonus mailbag today. As always, I answer questions mainly about the Giants but also take on anything else from Knicks and Nets to Michigan State to Jersey Shore.
Dan (Dumont): Do you think with the team the way it is that the Giants will be a Super Bowl contender next year? Also, how high of a priority is it to re-sign Ahmad Bradshaw?
OHM: I think the Giants need to add a little bit more to take that next step. I think they need more speed, more athleticism at linebacker, in the secondary and on special teams. The Giants won 10 games last year and barely missed out on the playoffs so they don’t need a whole lot but they do have over 20 players with expiring contracts. While I expect them to bring back a majority of these players, they won’t bring all of them back. So I’m expecting the roster to be slightly different but I think Jerry Reese will add more pieces to get them into the playoffs.
As for being a contender, I think that depends on who the Giants can add in free agency and Reese has said that he won’t even look at free agents until a new CBA is agreed upon. Contending in the NFC will be tough with Green Bay going nowhere. Heck, the NFC East will be difficult to get out of with Philadelphia and Dallas likely being strong next season.
And as for Bradshaw, he said he’s been told he is a high priority on the Giants list and I agree. I don’t think the Giants will be letting him go anywhere but East Rutherford.
Andrew (Staten Island): Hello Ohm. Regarding the Giants, do you think the pieces are in place to be a sustained contender for a few more years? Or is their O-Line (only 16 sacks this year?) and linebacker position going to be their downfall. Are there starting to be any grumblings regarding Eli Manning?
OHM: I do think the Giants have a core group that is still young enough to contend for a few years since Eli is 30 and Justin Tuck is in his prime and Osi Umenyiora clearly has plenty of football left in him. They have young a stud in Hakeem Nicks and Jason Pierre-Paul should only get better with more experience.
Reese does need to add some youth to the offensive line and could do that in the draft even though the line was pretty much the MVP of the offense this year as it survived and thrived despite so many injuries. Reese also needs to add help at linebacker as well.
As for Eli, I don’t think there are any grumblings. The interceptions are alarming but he’s still the franchise quarterback and he knows he has to play better and smarter and I think he will reduce the interceptions next season.
Thomas N. (New York, NY): Classiest guys on the Giants? Justin Tuck, Eli Manning, Shaun O'Hara, Rich Seubert, Barry Cofield?
OHM: You pretty much are money with those guys. All of them are classy guys and the Giants locker room is filled with good dudes. Tuck, though, is as good as they come for a guy of his stature.
Brandon (NJ): Do you think Plaxico Burress is coming back and playing with the Giants next year?
OHM: He’s definitely going to make a comeback. As for with the Giants, that is a sticky issue. I think the odds are slim because it would be a major distraction all season long for him to return to the same team even though he knows the offense and the players and coaches. But with that in mind, Tom Coughlin also knows Plax very well and would he want to go back down that road since the wide receiver was reportedly often fined for being late to meetings?
Ownership and Coughlin would have to sign off on a Plax return. With Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham already there, the Giants may feel they got enough. Steve Smith’s contract will expire and he is coming off serious knee surgery but I expect the Giants to bring him back as well.
Eric (NYC): Ohm, why is Coughlin keeping the special teams coach?
OHM: Coughlin is pretty loyal to his coaching staff and he said after the season he didn’t plan to make any changes. Their struggles can’t be placed all on the special teams coach, Tom Quinn. They had a rookie punter who struggled to replace Jeff Feagles and they never were able to find a punt returner to replace Domenik Hixon. Coughlin probably figures they can improve the special teams with better play from the players. The Giants can start improving by re-signing Hixon if he makes a comeback from ACL surgery as expected.
Harold (NY,NY): Ohm, what's it like being an investment banker? And, do you think you could write me a recommendation?
OHM: Harold, I wish I were smart enough to be an investment banker. I’d probably be rich and on some Caribbean beach right now. Speaking of the Caribbean, any of you guys got some suggestions for where I should take my next vacation? If so, leave me a comment. Thanks!
SpenceForPres: Ohm, what's your take on the Ron/Sammi situation?
OHM: I have been slacking on my Jersey Shore episodes but I know that the two got into a major fight and Sammi left. I know Ronnie is hurting and what not but the dude can only mess up so many times. People deserve second and third and fourth chances sometimes but if not, Ronnie has to man up and live with it just like we all have to when going through a bad breakup. His just happens to be played out in front of all of us with Snooks by his side. LOL.
Please leave us your take in the comment list on these questions and anything else you want to talk about.