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elite14eva
01-11-2006, 03:26 PM
SPORTS Top of Giants' list: DBs, LBs
Wednesday, January 11, 2006



Tom Coughlin has a huge list of Giants positives to take into 2006.

"We have a mixture of young and old," he began. "We have a quarterback who might as well have been a rookie. We had success with two outstanding pass rushers at defensive end. We had times when we played very well against the run.



"Our offensive line worked together for a year. We had an opportunity to introduce Plaxico [Burress] and Eli [Manning] and [Jeremy] Shockey and Amani [Toomer] in the passing game. [Kicker Jay] Feely did an admirable job, a great job, particularly early in the season and again late.

"As I said to the players, I'm very proud to have had the opportunity to coach and work with them. I'm looking forward to the future."

Before anyone cedes the Super Bowl XLI trophy to the Giants, however, there are a few things they will need to work on just to match their 2005 accomplishments in what promises to be a hellish NFC East. And they begin in the back - the back of the defense, that is.

"I would say that is a fair direction to go in," Coughlin said when asked about his major source for concern. "When we were doing our best [on pass defense] we were rushing the passer and keeping people in front of us, not giving up the big play.

"When the pressure wasn't as great and we had to cover longer, some of our inefficiencies started to show. We have work to do there, without a doubt."

It would not be surprising if cornerback heads the list of needs both in free agency and the draft. Outside linebacker probably is second. Injuries and disappointments in those two areas eventually took their toll on the Giants in their 23-0 playoff loss to Carolina.

Coughlin thought he had the corners well covered entering the season with veterans Will Allen and Will Peterson as starters and youngsters Corey Webster, Curtis Deloatch and Frank Walker in reserve. Realistically, however, as he looks ahead to 2006, he can count on only Webster.

Allen probably will leave via free agency. Peterson's mysterious back problem makes him a huge question mark. Deloatch faltered badly down the stretch; so badly that he lost his nickel job to the ancient Terrell Buckley against Carolina. Walker fell off the face of the earth.

"Webster, I think, came back up a little bit at the end of the year, which gives us a real good fit there," said Coughlin, well aware that teams need not just two but three or four corners these days.

The best potential free agent is Buffalo's Nate Clements, but he is going to attract a ton of interest and dollars. There are few other intriguing corners whose contracts are set to expire, but players such as the Jets' Ty Law and the Dolphins' Sam Madison may join the field as salary-cap cuts