There is no single reason why the 2012 New York Giants failed to defend their Super Bowl title, but team co-owner John Mara believes there are two areas where the club must improve to get back in championship contention this season.
That’s along the offensive and defensive lines, which were two areas of strength that regressed last season as the Giants missed the playoffs with a 9-7 record.
“We need to re-establish that toughness in front,” Mara told me and co-host Jim Miller on SiriusXM NFL Radio at the NFL owners meetings. “Teams ran the ball against us too easily last year. That’s an area of concern. And the offensive line, that performance needs to get a little better, too.”
The Giants haven’t made any personnel changes along the offensive line. Left guard Kevin Boothe is the only 2012 starter who isn’t still under contract. Boothe is an unrestricted free agent.
Defensively, the Giants released defensive tackle Chris Canty and haven’t re-signed end Osi Umenyiora or DT Rocky Bernard. New York did ink defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins to a three-year, $8 million deal following his release by Philadelphia.
“Our defensive line we feel like we have improved with Cullen, who all of our (personnel) people just loved,” said Mara, who also is the team’s president and CEO. “He’s been a terrific player and very durable. Actually, one of the biggest proponents to bring him was (right guard) Chris Snee, who’s had to play against him. He said this guy is a heck of a player.”
The Giants haven’t made any blockbuster moves in free agency, instead opting to sign veteran free agents to short-term contracts. Mara admits the Giants “need to re-tool a little bit. We’ve started to do that.”
“We’re headed in the right direction,” he said. “The key to long-term success in this league is what happens at the end of every April. You have to draft well.”