UA-59049186-1 NFL Team Preview: New York Giants - Good if it Goes

NFL Team Preview: New York Giants

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Last Year:

Record: 11-5

Offense: 19.4 (26th)

Defense: 17.8 (2nd)

Offseason: 

Key Acquisitions: WR. Brandon Marshall, K. Mike Nugent

Key Losses: RB. Rashad Jennings, WR. Victor Cruz, DT. Johnathan Hankins, K. Robbie Gould

2017 Draft Picks

2017 Outlook 

Coaching Staff

  • HC: Ben McAdoo
  • OC: Mike Sullivan
  • DC: Steve Spagnulo
  • ST: Tom Quinn

Offense

QB. Eli Manning, Geno Smith

RB. Paul Perkins, Shane Vereen

FB. Rhett Ellison

WR.  Odell Beckham Jr., Roger Lewis

WR. Sterling Shepard, Tavarres King

WR. Brandon Marshall

TE. Evan Engram, Will Tye

LT. Ereck Flowers, Michael Bowie

LG. Justin Pugh, Adam Gettis

C. Weston Richburgh, Brett Jones

RG. John Jerry, Jon Halapio

RT. Bobby Hart, D.J. Fluker

Defense

DE. Jason Pierre-Paul, Devin Taylor

DT. Jay Bromley, Dalvin Tomlinson

DT. Damon Harrison, Robert Thomas

DE. Olivier Vernon, Owamagbe Odighizuwa

SLB. Devon Kennard, Mark Herzlich

MLB. B.J. Goodson, Kennan Robinson

WLB. Jonathan Casillas, J.T. Thomas

CB. Janoris Jenkins, Antwon Blake

SS. Landon Collins, Duke Ihenacho

FS. Darian Thompson, Andrew Adams

CB. Eli Apple, Michael Hunter

NB. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie

Specialists

K. Aldrick Rosas, Mike Nugent

P. Brad Wing

 Breakdown

Offense:

The Giants did not play up to their potential on offense last season and the primary reason why was poor offensive line play. More specifically poor tackle play. With all five lineman from last year back and projecting to start again the only way they can improve is if guys simply get better. The strength of the line is in the interior. Their best player is left guard Justin Pugh who was really good last year both run and pass blocking. John Jerry is at the other guard spot and he was good in pass protection last year but was awful run blocking and needs to be a lot better in that area in 2017. Weston Richburg is a good young center. His play fell off some from the fantastic play he showed in 2015 but I expect him to get back to that level in 2017. Ereck Flowers and Bobby Hart were one of the worst tackle tandems in the league last year. The good news is that both were above average run blockers so that is something to build on. The bad news is that both have been human turnstyles in the passing game. That does not really come as a surprise from Hart who was a seventh round pick in 2015 but Flowers was the ninth overall pick of that same draft and as he enters his third year the time is now for him to prove his worth. Another problem the Giants had was running the ball. However, I believe a lot of that had to do with Rashad Jennings who simply became washed up and was not very effective. He is out of the picture and moving forward Paul Perkins has the job. Perkins started one game last season and got the bulk of his carries down the stretch which is when the Giants run game started to improve. I thought Perkins was one of the best backs in last year’s draft and I think is primed for a breakout year. The receiving corps is loaded for the G-men. It all starts with superstar Odell Beckham Jr. who is out to prove this year that he is the best receiver in the league. Opposite Beckham will be Shepard who had a very good rookie season and may be in for an even better season. There are a couple of new additions to the group as well. Brandon Marshall comes over from the Jets and will man the slot. Marshall may be older and not quite the player he used to be but playing on this team where he will no longer be the focal point of defenses should make him a lot more effective than he was as the main guy on a bad Jets team. The Giants selected Evan Engram to play tight end with their first round pick and the rookie comes in with an elite athletic profile and lots of expectations. He could be the best tight end Eli Manning has played with since Jeremy Shockey if he lives up to his talent. Speaking of Eli he is obviously the straw that stirs this drink. The fact of the matter is Eli’s play was highly inconsistent last season. In the previous two seasons before 2016 Eli had a passer rating over 90, threw 30 or more TDs, and had a QBR over 60. However, in 2016 Eli only threw 26 TDs, had a 86 passer rating, and a 51.8 QBR. Part of the problem is definitely the lack of protection, most notably at the tackle positions, but the Giants did not have strong O-line play in the previous years when Eli played better so his play cannot just all be explained away simple because of poor protection. Overall I think the Giants O-line will be better, the receivers will be better, and the running back will be better. So the question is will Eli be better? As he enters his 14th season at the age of 36 it is highly possible not only will he not get better he could start to get worse.

Defense:

The biggest reason for the Giants success a year ago was the defense. The defensive line is still loaded even with the departure of defensive tackle Jonathan Hankins. Damon Harrison, the best run stopper in the NFL, is still there to lead the interior but the question is who will line up next to him and replace Hankins. Robert Thomas is the current projected starter but look out for second round pick Dalvin Tomlinson who will be looking to compete for that spot. Their terrific duo of defensive ends will be back in Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon. Vernon played well in his first season with the Giants leading them in sacks with 8.5 and dominating vs the run. Pierre-Paul was the best pass rusher on the team with seven sacks in just 12 games. The Giants linebacking corps had been a mess for years until last season. It was not great by any means but definitely improved and the group should be better this year. Devon Kennard is the best of the group and will be the strong side linebacker. Kennard has a background as both a defensive end and linebacker and can be utilized as an off-line or edge player. B.J. Goodson was a rookie on the bench last year but will be promoted to the starting middle linebacker spot. He was a terrific linebacker at Clemson and has the talent to be an upgrade over Kenan Robinson. Jonathan Casillas is the projected weakside linebacker but J.T. Thomas is coming back after missing all but one game last year and will be in the mix. The Giants secondary was terrific last year. They have one of the best cornerback trios in the NFL. Janoris Jenkins is the top guy and the man who takes on the opposing team’s best guy and did a good job all last year and figures to do so again in 2017. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was also terrific a year ago and will reprise his role as the slot corner in nickel packages and playing on the outside in base packages. Second year man Eli Apple will step in and play on the outside when Cromartie goes inside. Apple had his ups and downs but showed tremendous potential. Landon Collins had a breakout year at safety. He was the second highest rated safety by pro football focus and statistically the best in the league. Andrew Adams was the starting free safety last season and did a decent job but last year’s third round pick Darian Thompson is reportedly going to get the nod this season. Overall the Giants did not lose very much on defense and should be an elite defense again.

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