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The STEP UP Game: 7 New York Giants That Need To Step Up Their Game

The past few seasons the Giants have been riddled with injuries, retirees, and wanted felons; all of whom changed the team’s dynamic; and not in a good way. As a result, the Giants have failed to obtain a play-off spot two years in a row! (Unacceptable!) In order to secure a play-off spot this season, there a few players who HAVE to STEP UP! Don’t be fooled, it’s not all veterans who need to step-up their game; rather it’s the young players who need to prove their worth.

Are you tired of missed tackles, dropped passes, or missing out on post season festivities? Well, here’s your chance to read the who’s who in the STEP UP Game- these are the top 7 players who need to step up their game to ensure the Giants a place in the 2011 Play-Off’s.

Let’s play….The STEP UP Game!

#7 – Linval Joseph, DT (#97): Joseph was the 2010 2nd Round draft pick. After Fred Robbins went to St. Louis in 2009, many thought the Giants would be looking to Joseph to fill Robbins’ shoes. Instead, Giants continued to turn to Chris Canty, Barry Cofield, and Rocky Bernard; which did make much sense as they used these three PLUS Robbins in 2009. Joseph played in six games last season, completing 8 tackles- 6 solo, 2 ast. Joseph hasn’t seen much of the game from on the field, but with possibility of Cofield leaving, Joseph is the Giants best option as the team’s starting nose tackle.

#6 – Travis Beckham, TE (#47): Beckham was drafted in 2009 as a tight end receiving option. Last season, Beckham had 13 receptions for 116 yards, and 2 touchdowns; however, Beckham is a beyond terrible blocker! If Beckham doesn’t emerge as a consistent threat across the middle for Eli, this could be his last season.

#5- Rocky Bernard, DT (#95): Bernard came to the Giants as a free agent in 2009, after seven seasons with the Seattle Seahawks. Bernard is just not performing up to par. In the 2010 season, Bernard completed 18 tackles-16 solo, 2 ast., and 2 sacks. Bernard is set to make $2.95 million this season and $3.45 million next season, is he worth it? The Giants could use that money towards contributing players. Rumor has it that Bernard will be released after the lockout is resolved.

Aaron Ross could be in danger of a decreased role if he does not STEP UP his game

#4- Aaron Ross, CB (#31): Entering his fifth season as a Giant, Ross is slowly become the forgotten player. A hamstring injury in 2009 took a toll on Ross’ speed in the 2010 season; enough to be replaced by Terrell Thomas in the starting line-up. Last season, Ross had 36 tackles- 25 solo, 11 ast., and 1 very impressive sack injuring Chicago Bears Quarterback, Jay Culter. That sack may have been Ross’ only memorable moment last season. Ross can expect 2011 1st round draft pick, CB Prince Amukamara, to replace him on the field this season if he’s not back to full strength. If Ross can pick up his speed again, he could prove to be one of the top cover guys on the team.

#3- Ramses Barden, WR (#13): Standing at 6’6” and weighing in at 230 lbs., Barden was the fans’ pick to replace Burress. Giant fans love their big bodied receivers and Braden is a sure fit. He has shown incredible skill during practice, but one he steps on the field it is as if he forgot how to play the game. Barden has only played in three games, and became the Giants third string receiver after Steve Smith’s knee injury. The Giants have been very patient with Barden’s non-performance, but Smith has been cleared to play and has been tweeting that he has completed physical therapy, has been practicing with the team, and feels really good for this season.  Now that Smith is healthy, will the Giants patience in Barden dwindle or will they give him another chance?

#2- Jason Pierre-Paul, DE (#90) – Picked up fifteenth overall in the 2010 draft (my personal #1 pick), Pierre-Paul was projected to be more of a ‘potential’ pick rather than a ‘production’ pick; however that all changed when Mathias Kiwanuka was injured, forcing Pierre-Paul to step up. Pierre-Paul finished his rookie season with 30 tackles-24 solo, 6 ast., 4.5 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles! Osi Umenyiora’s demand for a new contact or a trade puts a lot of pressure on Pierre-Paul. If the Giants decide to trade Umenyiora, Pierre-Paul will have to step up even more than he already has.

And the #1 who needs to STEP UP their games is…..

#1- Matt Dodge, P (#6)– Dodge had 72 punts averaging 44.8 yards/punt in the 2010 season. Only 20 of his 72 punts were inside the 20; Dodge is constantly punting out of bounds, outside the 20, or causing touchbacks. The most upsetting act by Dodge last season was during a very important division game against the Philadelphia Eagles; Dodge punted the ball directly to DeSean Jackson, which caused the Giants to lose the game. It was a play that will haunt Giant fans for years to come. This season Dodge needs to be more directional with his punts, lessen his hang time, and NOT ever punt anywhere near DeSean Jackson ever again!

For these seven players, and the rest of the New York Giants…STEP UP! We, your fans, want another ring!

Now it’s your turn to play the step up game- Do you agree or disagree with this list or is there a player not on this list that should be?? Shout that player out and let us know you want to see him STEP UP!

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