January 17th, 2011
by giants101

I interrupt this ridiculous New York Jets love-fest to bring you a little New York Giants-related material.

With the NFL playoffs soon reaching their conclusion, I decided it may be the opportune time to take a look back at our beloved New York Giants and some of the individual performances that paved the way to one of the most disappointing 10-6 seasons in the NFL history.

New York Giants Hakeem Nicks breaks a tackle by Dallas Cowboys Bryan McCann in the second quatert at New Meadowlands Stadium in week 6 of the NFL in East Rutherford, New Jersey on November 14, 2010. UPI /John Angelillo

It was clear from the very beginning that any pre-2010 team predictions could essentially be thrown right out the window. Yes, there were some rather vague predictions that some have been able to hang their hat(s) on, but for the most part, fans and beat writers were well off in what they expected from certain players this season.

Plus Performances:

Osi Umenyiora, Defensive End

When polled prior to the season, most New York Giants fans believed Chief Osi should have been traded for whatever the team could get for him. Some even appeared willing and anxious to punch his ticket out of town for nothing more than the cost of a bus fare. He was widely considered a player already on the downside of his career and one who had become a cancer in the locker-room. People screamed from rooftops that he was useless, shouldn't start and was one of the worst defensive ends in the league against the run.

It's a perfect example of why some of us sit at home on our respective couches and watch the Giants on television as opposed to being somehow involved in personnel decisions.

At the end of the day, the masses could not have been more wrong. Umenyiora not only returned to his Pro Bowl-caliber form, he had an NFL-record-setting 2010 season. His 10 forced fumbles were a league record, and he added 11.5 sacks and 48 tackles (including two stuffs from the edge). Not bad at all for a player deemed “worthless” only a few months earlier.

Rich Seubert, Offensive Line

Raise your hand if you thought Rich Seubert would be widely considered the team MVP.

Odds are, very few hands are in the air. After all, who could have predicted a scenario where Seubert would eventually take over as the starting center? Even with a long history of relentless and damaging injuries team wide, very few could have anticipated the insane amount of boo-boos the Giants would have suffered during the 2010 season.

It didn't matter what position Seubert was playing along the offensive line this season…he played it well. He was truly the glue that held that patch-work line together while Shaun O'Hara, Shawn Andrews, David Diehl, Adam Koets and others were out. Without the job he did, there is almost a zero percent chance Big Blue would have even won those 10 games.

Richie is a man among boys out there, and I certainly hope his offseason of recovery goes well. He's earned the right to be considered one of the toughest men in the NFL.

Hakeem Nicks, Wide Receiver

When it came to predictions, I'll have to give it to a lot of fans here. Many expected Nicks to excel in his second NFL season and he did exactly that.

His 79 receptions tied him for 10th in the league, his 11 touchdowns tied him for third in the league and his 1,052 receiving yards were 13th in the league. And all of that was accomplished in 13 games.

The sky is the limit for “Hakeem Hicks” (Troy Aikman and John Gruden's name for him). The kid is a superstar in the making and we all got just a little taste of it here in 2010. While we can't put him in the Hall of Fame just yet, it wouldn't be going out on much of a ledge to assume he'll be a top-5 NFL wide receiver in years to come.

Minus Performances:

Rocky Bernard, Defensive Tackle

The Giants gave Bernard a four-year, $16 million contract. Four years…$16 million.

Talk about underwhelming.

After suffering through an injury-riddled 2009 campaign, expectations were understandably poor for Bernard entering his second year with the team. Unfortunately, he still managed to play below those expectations.

A solid game in Minnesota Detroit aside, Bernard was nearly non-existent in 2010. Sure, he saw little playing time behind Chris Canty and Barry Cofield, who had a fantastic season in his own right, but he made very little of the opportunities he did have. He just doesn't seem like a guy who fits in with this team, or even one who really wants to be here. It may be time to say goodbye.

Matt Dodge, Punter

Poor Matt Dodge will never, ever live down punting to DeSean Jackson in week 15. Not ever. He's a goat for life.

Beyond that, Dodge struggled on a rather consistent basis in 2010. Whether it was fumbling snaps, shanking punts or just generally running around like a chicken with his head chopped off, it was a very poor rookie campaign that has most New York Giants fans ready to call it quits on him already.

Admittedly, Dodge was severely damaging to this team. However, Big Blue knew what they were getting into when they drafted him in the 7th round of the NFL Draft. They were aware that he would face certain inconsistencies and that he might cost the team a game or two. They probably didn't anticipate being cost the NFC East and a chance at the playoffs, but they understood the risk and went with it anyway.

Dodge has the tools to be a very solid NFL punter. Will he eventually put it all together? That remains to be seen, but we shouldn't be so quick to run him out of town.

Keith Bulluck, Linebacker

Coming off a short recovery from an ACL tear, moving from middle linebacker to outside linebacker and being forced to learn a whole new defensive system, it's a bit difficult to fault Bulluck for his unimpressive season. Still, coming into the year he had high expectations and said all the right things. Accordingly, Giants fans expected much more out of him than the 13 games and 31 tackles he gave them.

Bulluck has had an amazing career, he's always played the game the way it's supposed to be played and he's never made any waves. He deserves all the respect in the world for what he's accomplished, and no one should ever regret him wearing blue. At the same time, there comes a point when you have to know it's time to call it quits…and now is that time.

He claims he will only return to the Giants if he's a starter next season, but his performance here in 2010 cannot possibly justify that. So it's time for the organization to respectfully say goodbye and to seek an impact linebacker to replace not only Bulluck, but the entire crop they have.

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