- Ohm Youngmisuk, ESPN Staff Writer
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RUN, RUN, RUN
Tom Coughlin wants the New York Giants to get back to running the ball. After snapping a seven-year streak by failing to post a 1,000-yard rusher last season, the Giants will start Ahmad Bradshaw, with Brandon Jacobs cast as the change-of-pace back. The two are coming off surgeries in the offseason and are healthy. The Giants' offensive line is determined to return to its dominant form from two seasons ago and provide Eli Manning with a running game again.
ON THE MEND
The Giants have several players coming back from injuries. Perhaps none is more important than safety Kenny Phillips. Phillips was emerging as a star before needing season-ending microfracture knee surgery after just two games last year. Now the safety is back and determined to prove that he can not only start again but be better playing alongside Antrel Rolle.
MAN IN THE MIDDLE
The Giants have a lot of question marks on defense, but the biggest is at middle linebacker, where Jonathan Goff will start. The third-year linebacker impressed many in the preseason finale against the Patriots. Now he has to call the plays to stop Carolina's power running game before facing Peyton Manning in Week 2.
WHO WILL LEAD?
Antonio Pierce's departure not only left the Giants with a gaping hole at middle linebacker but it created a leadership void. The captain was the heart and soul of the defense. Now the Giants hope Justin Tuck, who likes to lead more by example, will step up and show some Pierce and Michael Strahan-type leadership skills.
The Giants' special teams have been a major concern for Coughlin throughout the preseason. The Giants lost punter Jeff Feagles to retirement and returner Domenik Hixon to a season-ending knee injury. Now rookie punter Matt Dodge, who replaces a legend, and recently acquired returner Darius Reynaud, who came in the Sage Rosenfels deal with Minnesota, need to step up.
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