EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Eli Manning and the New York Giants' defense carried them to their second Super Bowl title in five seasons. They need to step up again to repeat.
Pro Bowl defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck and most of the defense will be back when the Giants arrive at training camp at the University at Albany on Thursday. But Manning and the offense will be looking for a lot of answers despite coming off the most productive season in franchise history in terms of yards gained.
There are a lot of holes to be filled.
Right tackle Kareem McKenzie was not re-signed. Starting tight end Jake Ballard, doubtful for this season after suffering a major knee injury in the Super Bowl win over New England, was claimed on waivers by the Patriots after the Giants waived him injured. Backup tight end Travis Beckum also hurt his knee in the title game and is questionable for the start of the season.
While Ahmad Bradshaw is back as the starting running back, Brandon Jacobs signed with San Francisco, so the backup job is open.
Wide receiver also is a concern. Hakeem Nicks broke his right foot in minicamp and No. 3 receiver Mario Manningham bolted to the 49ers in free agency.
It all leaves offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride with jobs to be filled as the Giants return from an offseason highlighted by a parade down New York's ‘Canyon of Heroes,' a trip to the White House, and seemingly endless opportunities
The positive, of course, is Manning has shown he can make the offense go no matter who is in the lineup.
"We're excited to get back to work," guard Kevin Boothe said. "It's similar to the first day of school when growing up. I like shorter vacations because that means we played until February."
Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell, whose unit gave up 400 points in the regular season and 56 in four postseason games, won't have to change much. The only offseason losses were starting cornerback Aaron Ross and backup lineman Dave Tollefson.