Five questions for the Giants heading into the offseason

Hakeem Nicks celebrates after making a catch against Hakeem Nicks celebrates after making a catch against the Washington Redskins at MetLife Stadium. (Dec. 29, 2013) Photo Credit: Mike Stobe

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WILL THERE BE COACHING CHANGES?

Tom Coughlin almost certainly is safe for at least one more year, but there could be some shakeup on his staff. Though injuries played a role in the demise of the offense, overseeing one of only two NFL units to be shut out this season -- and having it happen twice! -- is not good for Kevin Gilbride's job security. Coughlin already has voiced support for Gilbride, as have most of the players, including Eli Manning, but the decision on his fate could take place above their heads. Manning has played for only two offensive coordinators in his 10 seasons with the Giants and has always played under Coughlin's over-arching philosophy. A new coordinator almost certainly would adhere to the same principles and schemes in use for the last decade. Special-teams breakdowns could cost Tom Quinn his job.

 

WHAT BECOMES OF HAKEEM NICKS?

When the Giants were negotiating with Victor Cruz last year, one of their stances was that re-signing Hakeem Nicks was going to be their priority and that he would be regarded as the No. 1 receiver. Now? That may have changed after Nicks' second subpar statistical season, which also included an apparent chill in his relationship with Coughlin. Nicks said last week that he's looking for more than just money as a free agent and said for the first time that he wants to be back with the Giants. But it will be tough to pay him more than Cruz based on their production, and that might tilt the scales of Nicks' considerations.

 

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WHO WILL BE THE RUNNING BACK?

David Wilson might or might not return in 2014 -- last we heard, the stenosis in his neck was career-threatening and the Giants were concerned about his future -- and even if he does, he'll play the rest of his time in the NFL one hit away from involuntary retirement. Andre Brown is a free agent, and though he has shown some good things in his two half-seasons the last two years (he was on IR for the first half of 2013 and the second half of 2012), he's likely better suited as a No. 2 back. He's also a free agent, and there's no guarantee the Giants will re-sign him. With veterans Brandon Jacobs and Peyton Hillis unlikely to return next year, the only current Giants running back who is a sure thing to be here in 2014 is rookie Michael Cox.

 

HOW MANY FAMILIAR FACES RETURN?

The list of players who have two Super Bowl rings and might not be back in 2014 is staggering. Justin Tuck, David Diehl, Aaron Ross, Corey Webster and Brandon Jacobs are free agents. Toss in Chris Snee, who has another cap-heavy year left on his contract but spent most of this season on injured reserve, and there is a possibility that the only players on the 2014 roster who played in the 2007 Super Bowl could be the quarterback and the long snapper.

 

WILL JPP COME BACK AS JPP?

For about six plays this season, we saw the Jason Pierre-Paul who had dominated offenses and made back-to-back Pro Bowls. But just as he was returning to form from his offseason back surgery -- in the Week 10 game against the Raiders -- he injured a shoulder. That injury caused him to revert to the fractional impact that took place in the beginning of the season and eventually forced him to sit out the final five games. He'll have an offseason to rehab and rest (assuming, as he insists, that the shoulder does not require surgery) and should enter his contract year in 2014 healthy. The Giants will be counting on that.

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