Eli Manning: He basically had career highs across the board in completions (317), completion percentage (62.3 percent), yards (4,021 yards), touchdowns (27) and passer rating (93.1) – and this while nurturing an unproven receiving corps and having an anemic running game. Sure, his team-high 22 turnovers [13 fumbles, including eight lost] were a problem but he was asked to do just about everything to keep the offense afloat and he passed admirably. GRADE: A-

Brandon Jacobs: His balky knee was kept secret until the final week of the season. He supposedly injured himself in the season opener against Washington but did all he could to keep it under wraps, until Tom Coughlin shut him down before the Week 17 mauling by the Minnesota Vikings. Despite the ire Jacobs drew for his shortcomings this season, he did finish with 835 yards; which if averaged out would’ve been enough for his third-straight 1,000-yard season. Alas, the lingering images of the 6’4, 260 pound Jacobs continuously coming up small in third-and-short situations will be his 2009 lasting impression. GRADE: C+

Ahmad Bradshaw: Pound-for-pound, the diminutive running back may have been the toughest Giant this season. Mired with ankle and foot stress fractures – injuries he accrued in college three years ago -- Bradshaw gutted it out for all but one game, finishing with a respectable 778 yards and a team-high seven rushing touchdowns. All things considered, he was New York’s most reliable back. GRADE: B-

Steve Smith: Owner of the greatest statistical season a Giant receiver ever had – and owner of one Pro Bowl snub – Smith had a quietly efficient season. He also proved that his receiving group – which was a concern coming into the season -- was the team’s best unit. Smith, who finished with a franchise record 107 catches for 1,220 yards and seven touchdowns, emerged from his shell and was amongst the conference leaders in all major categories. Considering his previous highs were 57 catches for 574 yards and one touchdown, it’s safe to say Smith has earned his status as Manning’s go-to receiver. GRADE: A

Hakeem Nicks: It’s not very often a rookie wideout can come into a situation were all looks bleak, only to actually help turn the alleged unit into a positive, but that’s what the 2009 first-round pick did. Nicks’s 47 receptions, 790 yards, and six touchdowns were a pleasant surprise to Giants fans that weren’t used to seeing an aerial attack at the Meadowlands. The University of North Carolina product was second on the team in touchdowns and first in yards per catch [16.8]. GRADE: B

Mario Manningham: The emergences of Smith as a true number-one receiver and Nicks as a deep threat kind of put Manningham on the backburner. But the speedy Michigan product was every bit as cumbersome to defenses, notching 57 catches, 822 yards, and five touchdowns. When you factor in that the previous season Manningham recorded only four catches for 26 yards, and you can see why the Giants are giddy about his ceiling. GRADE: B


Shaun O’Hara: It’s almost impossible to gauge the true value of an offensive line – particularly the center position – but if you go by acclaim, then O’Hara, 32, is still amongst the league’s best. O’Hara was a Pro Bowler and Second Team All-Pro in 2008 and finished in the top three of Pro Bowl votes for centers this season. His production didn’t fall off too much, as he was the offensive line’s trigger man, signal caller, and a protector of Manning, who had a career season. The only flaw on his ’09 resume is that New York was atrocious in short yardage situations. GRADE: B-

Chris Snee: Forget that he’s Coughlin’s son-in-law because Snee is a player. He never misses a start [he hasn’t missed a game since 2004] and was a Pro Bowler and First Team All-Pro in ’08, and his per-game grades were “stellar”, according to offensive line coach Pat Flaherty. Much like O’Hara, though, the short-yardage deficiencies will haunt Snee in an otherwise productive season. GRADE: B-

Rich Seubert: Despite ailments to his shoulders and knee, Seubert plugged along and continued his streak of consecutive games played [he hasn’t missed one since 2006]. A real warrior down in pit but like his brethren, it’s hard to forget that when it was time to move the pile, the unit as a whole didn’t get it done. GRADE: B-

Kareem McKenzie: Until late this season, McKenzie hadn’t missed game time since the ’06 season. But a sprained knee in Week 14 versus Philadelphia derailed the Giants’ consecutive string of trotting out the same starting five [45 games]. McKenzie, a power blocker, was surely missed down the stretch – especially when the Vikings held them to 38 yards rushing. GRADE: B-

David Diehl: This monster of a left tackle [6’6, 313] hasn’t missed a start yet since being drafted in the fifth round in 2003. He was a Pro Bowl alternate and Second Team All-Pro in ’08 and was Manning’s blindside protector. Diehl had another solid season but the short yardage – and the fact Manning was sacked 30 times – is a blemish on his ’09 resume. GRADE: B-

Will Beatty: The rookie tackle received baptism by fire once McKenzie went down for good. A second round pick out of UConn, the athletic Beatty showed great feet and athleticism for a man his size [6’6, 300]. What he flashed in athletic ability – even lining up as an extra tight end at times – he lacked in pure drive-blocking power. His future is bright but he still has a ways to go. GRADE: C+


Osi Umenyiora: His first season back after rehabbing from a torn ACL in ’08 was quite uneven. The season opener featured a strip-sack and touchdown but that was basically the highlight of his ’09. What followed were an alleged fallout with now-fired defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan in a September film session, sideline tirades, and stretches of lax play against the run, which ultimately led to him being relegated to solely a pass-rush specialist. He finished the season with only 28 tackles and six sacks. GRADE: C-

Justin Tuck: He, too, suffered through an up-and-down campaign, due largely to nagging injuries. First, it was his problematic shoulder that flared up after Cowboys lineman Flozell Adams tripped him. Then his season was further compounded by a troublesome knee. Though he finished with 60 tackles and a team-high seven sacks, Tuck will be the first to tell you his season wasn’t up to his standards. GRADE: C+

Mathias Kiwanuka: Highly underrated player who can play anywhere along the defensive line and could even stand up as a rush linebacker. He never gets the pub of Umenyiora and Tuck but true football insiders know how valuable Kiwanuka was in plugging holes along the Giants’ crumbling dam of a defense. He finished with 59 tackles and three sacks but his value – and versatility -- far outweighs the stats. GRADE: B

Barry Cofield: He wasn’t the run-plugger a man his size [6’3, 305] should have been but Cofield was serviceable. He recorded a solid 35 tackles – the most of any regular Giant defensive tackle -- but just as impressive he had three passes defended. GRADE: B-

Fred Robbins: Quietly put together a solid season with 25 tackles, two sacks, a fumble recovery and career-high five passes defended. But at his size [6’4, 325] the man teammates dubbed “Fast Feet Freddy” should’ve been a more disruptive force in the run defense. GRADE: C+

Chris Canty: Wildly disappointing, considering how much fanfare was made by his free agent signing from Dallas. The massive [6’7, 286] and versatile lineman is capable of being a game changing force. During his time in Dallas, Canty started every game for three-straight seasons, but couldn’t stay on the field in ’09, due to calf issues. He played in only eight games and recorded 13 tackles. It’s also not a good sign when your general manager publicly calls you out by name saying, “Maybe we brought the wrong guys in here.” GRADE: D

Rocky Bernard: He, too, was a free agent signing that didn’t pan out. He was brought over from Seattle to be a game-changer and instead the Giants got what scouts dub as a JAG [‘just another guy’]. He had 22 tackles in an otherwise non-descript season. GRADE: C-

Antonio Pierce: Not only is he the defensive captain but he’s the emotional leader of this team as a whole. What little swagger the defense had during his time on the field, totally dissipated once he was sidelined for the season with a neck injury after Week 9. When asked about Pierce’s future as a Giant, general manager Jerry Reese showed the cold, hard reality of the NFL: “It is a wait-and-see deal,” Reese said. “It is one of those slow-healing injuries…so we will wait and see where that goes.” Despite his shortened season, only two linebackers had more tackles than Pierce’s 53. GRADE: B-

Danny Clark: He played every game but had as much production as Pierce, who only played in nine. That won’t cut it for a franchise that’s bred some all-time linebackers. GRADE: C+

Michael Boley: Injuries kept him off the field a quarter of the time [played 11 games] but when he was in the starting lineup, his speed and open-field tackling were reasons why the Giants got off to such a fast start. He had 84 tackles – second on the team – and two sacks. He was one of the rare good free agent signings. GRADE: B

Chase Blackburn: He’s the linebacker version of Kiwanuka, as he knows the assignments of all three linebacker positions. He played the weakside, middle, and strongside this season and played them all well. Once Pierce was lost, he took over the middle position and recorded 56 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and an interception. GRADE: B

Jonathan Goff: This young ‘backer has promise and stepped in nicely when called upon, registering 25 tackles, a sack, and an interception. Mostly used as a special teams specialist, Goff showed flashes when he was inserted into the lineup. His role will certainly increase next season. GRADE: C+

Clint Sintim: Another young ‘backer who finally had his number called in live action. An ’09 second round pick, he recorded 20 tackles and a sack but was used primarily as a special teams ace. He upside is tremendous, though. GRADE: C+

Terrell Thomas: Easily had the best year of anyone in the Giants secondary, posting a team-high 85 tackles, a team-high five interceptions, and a sack. The unit as a whole was a sieve but Thomas, in only his second season, had a strong campaign and more than picked up the slack for an injury-riddled secondary. GRADE: A-

Corey Webster: Coming into the season, he was thought to be the team’s best cover corner but regressed some because Thomas clearly became the team’s best. Webster only had 50 tackles and one interception before missing the final three games of the season due to an injured knee. GRADE: C+

C.C. Brown: He had 67 tackles – third on the team. Nice numbers but he wasn’t the impact player the Giants were hoping they’d get when they signed him from Houston. He’s a big hitter but his cover skills were less to be desired, as there were countless times when replays showed Brown in distant pursuit of yet another receiver who got behind the safety. GRADE: C-

Michael Johnson: 57 tackles, a sack, a pick, and a fumble recovery are nice numbers for the third year player. This season was consistent to his solid ’08 output [41 tackles, a sack, two picks, and a fumble recovery] and he showed he can cover in space and get down into the box and make tackles. The coaching staff believes his ceiling is high. GRADE: B-

Aaron Rouse: Another thumper at safety who couldn’t cover anybody. He’s more physically imposing than your average safety but Rouse had his troubles in space. His 51 tackles, one sack, and one interception are nice stats but he was brought over from Green Bay to also be a difference maker – and he never really was. GRADE: C

Bruce Johnson: He had 47 tackles, one interception [an 83-yard pick-six], and two forced fumbles. Decent stats but when you consider that Johnson was an undrafted rookie free agent corner, it illuminates his season even more. He never seemed overwhelmed by the moment and handled himself like a veteran. GRADE: B-

Kevin Dockery: He has the swagger that every cornerback needs. Case in point, when asked if he had any reservations going against the vaunted Saints passing game in Week 6 – a 48-27 pasting by New Orleans – Dockery said, “For what? We’re not afraid of that aerial attack!” Needless to say, after Brees bombed the Giants for 369 and four touchdowns, Dockery saw limited action the rest of the way playing in only 11 games. He finished the season with 25 tackles. GRADE: C-