Undrafteds New York Giants preseason review. The Giants have a lot to uncover this season. Is Daniel Jones the answer? Is Jason Garrett doing a good enough job as offensive coordinator? Is the defence where it needs to be after some off season additions? Are they genuinely heading in the right direction, and if so, is it fast enough?
The loss of Saquon Barkley tipped the Giants season on it’s head in week 2 last year, so I’m almost inclined to give Daniel Jones & the Giants a pass, but an 11 TD season for a second year quarterback simply isn’t good enough. So here they are, having aggressively added weapons during the off season, bringing in the likes of Kenny Golladay on a mega deal, adding Kadarius Toney in the first round of the draft, and pass catching tight end Kyle Rudolph to give some extra support to Evan Engram.
In a division that’s totally up for grabs, and there for the Giants to prove themselves the favourite, this is an important year in New York, not to mention the pressure being applied by the new kid on the block… If Zach Wilson starts lighting it up for the Jets, the leash for Daniel Jones and the Giants becomes even shorter.
The Head Coach
Thinks were looking a little shaky for Joe Judge coming out of the gate, as the Giants began the season 0-5. However, we have to attribute some of that to the loss of their star man so early on. A guy like Saquon Barkley isn’t replacement, and Judge had to take the time to figure out how they were going to approach the season without him. When you add that loss to the fact that pretty much the entire off season with his new team was spent away from the field due to COVID complications, it wasn’t an easy start for him going into his first year as a head coach.
He was appointed ahead of the 2020 season having come from a special teams background, and earned himself three rings with the Patriots in New England. Any coach who’s spent time working under Bill Belichick & Nick Saban (Alabama 2009-2011), will have a pretty good chance at being successful. Those guys are two hall of famers, and while we don’t know too much yet about Joe Judge as a head coach, we know he comes from footballing royalty. The last 11 years Joe Judge went from Saban’s Alabama, to Belichick’s New England, and was then hired to take over the Giants in New York. Learn more about head coach Joe Judge with this NFL short documentary…
2021 will be an interesting year for him, as he’ll actually get to hold pre season football and camps on the field, rather than via zoom calls, and with his star running back back in the fold, and a roster that was given a serious boost in the off season, I’d expect to see a much more accurate look at just how capable Joe Judge is… I’m looking forward to it.
Daniel Jones was a relatively controversial selection when the Giants picked him 6th overall in 2019. 24 touchdowns and 12 picks in his rookie season is a fair cop for a guy who only played 13 games, with B grade talent around him. While the offence was stunted in 2020, and Jones only managed 11 touchdowns, he actually graded out better. He only threw 100 yards less than he did in 2019, and drops from his receivers were up almost 3%.
I will say that his decision making feels questionable at times, and he can be a little hot and cold, but the issue with the fumbles needs correcting. The question of old is how much of it is really his fault. The offensive line is a work in progress, we know that, but it’s getting there slowly and the Giants are definitely addressing it as a need. I was also far from impressed with Jason Garrett, who should be able to get more out of an offence, regardless of the situation, considering his experience. I’d imagine he’s on a pretty short leash this year.
The fact of the matter is, there should be zero excuses for the Giants offence this season, and that includes Daniel Jones. He’s been mid tier his first couple of seasons, and last years production, while yes the above factors have to be considered, isn’t good enough. This season, it has to be different. He has an offence full of weapons, elite talent at receiver, two talented tight ends and a top 5 running back in the backfield. Daniel Jones must absolutely be a lot better this season, or the Giants will be approaching year four of his deal, and the team option on his contract, without knowing if he’s the answer or not, and that back and forth is entering Mitchell Trubisky territories of uncertainty.
The Rookie To Watch
This one absolutely has to be Kadarius Toney. The Giants have lacked a guy who can make a big play after the catch since Odell Beckham Jr was traded. It finally feels like they might have that guy again in the big apple.
Toney developed at a serious rate in 2020, and was coached into working out how to put his freakish ability to good use for the Gators. He stepped up and showed out as one of Floridas top two pass catchers, and proved that he can do it all offensively. The Giants will use him as a slot receiver, with Kenny Golladay and Darius Slayton on the outsides, and it’ll be Toneys job to pick the ball up across the middle, and make guys miss. Which is exactly what he’s best at. I love the upside for Toney in New York, and he’ll be able to bail out the offence and Daniel Jones in tight situations because he’s just that slippery. Kadarius Toney is a lot of fun to watch, and the NFL & its fanbase will begin to take notice as this season gets underway.
The New Kid On The Block
Adoree Jackson was let go by the Titans in a transaction that quite surprised me. He missed a lot of time in 2020, and oddly the Titans pretty much cleared out the cornerbacks room, including Jackson. He’s then heavily recruited by former team mate turned Giant, Logan Ryan, and lands in the big apple, suddenly attributing to a totally converted secondary within the past two seasons.
The Giants paid James Bradberry a fair sized contract the previous year, and that risky moved seems to have paid off so far, as he had a career year in his first season with the Giants. Logan Ryan brings 7 years of NFL experience with him and seems to have converted full time now over to safety. Jabrill Peppers came in as part of the Odell Beckham trade, and the former Michigan talent has slotted into his role at strong safety, replacing Landon Collins. Then add in the 2002 rookie Xavier McKinney, who i’ll come to in a moment… So Adoree Jackson comes into a team with an already progressive secondary, and I personally believe this will be the best move they’ve made this offseason.
The Up & Comer
Xavier McKinney. The 2020 rookie broke his foot in the pre season and missed most of his rookie year as a result of that last year. However, he came back for the last four games of the season, and showed plenty of promise in the process. The Giants lined him up in a few different spots, stacking him in the box at times, and aligning him at slot corner at other moments. Coming from Alabama, McKinney slotted into Minkah Fitzpatricks role as a safety who can do it all, after Minkah was drafted, so the Giants may be looking to utilise that wherever they can.
McKinney has the talent to be very good in the modern day NFL, and if he can pick up his coverage skills and continue to develop, I like where he’s heading this season. I’d like to see him begin to work his way into a permanent spot in the starting line up at free safety. He’s absolutely a guy to keep your eye on this year…
Record Prediction: 9-8
The Giants will be much improved on the field this year, and will certainly look a lot more polished than they did last year. However, a lot of it rides on Daniel Jones. They have some excellent pass rush, have added some strong experience on defence in the likes of Blake Martinez and Adoree Jackson, plus all the talent they’ve picked up offensively. So how well will it gel? Is the offensive line good enough to hold up yet? And is Daniel Jones the long term solution to the New York Giants quarterback position?
This season, a 9-8 would be a fair assessment and actually a good outcome for the Giants. I don’t know how they’re going to match up with the Cowboys and the Washington Football Team, but they need to go at least 3-3 in the division, and likely better than that if they want to challenge for the NFC East title.
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