By: Lucas Kochevar
The New York Giants haven't sniffed the playoffs since 2016 but, with third year QB Daniel Jones and HC Joe Judge, people are wondering if they can climb back into the mix. The Giants have been a hot topic recently with intriguing training camp stories coming out. First off, they had a major brawl happen with Jones sitting at the bottom of it. Judge was irate and made the players run sprints due to their actions. Then, they had several players sign and immediately retire. These are not typical stories and with Judge's reputation as being a hard-ass, it really makes you think if the culture being established is a good one that can last years. The typical argument would be 'Look at the Patriots. They have a strict structure and they're the greatest dynasty in NFL history,' I agree they are easily the greatest, but I also believe that their sustained run is an anomaly. It also helps when you have the greatest QB of all-time in Tom Brady. The Belichick coaching tree holds a poor record with very few of them panning out when they leave NE.
It truly is hard to see them turning into a playoff team after one season with Judge in charge. There is one major unit that has to make noise in order for New York to compete. The offense last year ranked 31st in both points averaged and yards per game. They were absolutely putrid on paper and film. Even in the previous losing seasons, they managed to be in the middle of the league. Daniel Jones has to be more consistent for this team to work. Jones is the key to the puzzle. He struggled with turnovers mightily in his rookie season, but in his sophomore year he managed to convert on more opportunities. Something that is concerning is the lack in improvement in accuracy. Many QBs see the percentage rise over the years as the game comes to them, however, in year one to two, Jones saw his percentage go down slightly from 62% to 61%. I should cut him some slack due to the fact that his offensive coordinator is Jason Garrett. The former Cowboys HC calls a very vanilla game and seems to be stuck in the past compared to the new age pace and space offense. If they come out of the gate slow, don't be surprised if a change is made rather quickly at OC.
The Giants are getting star RB Saquon Barkley back from his torn ACL. The offensive line should show growth, especially with OT Andrew Thomas playing his second year. They signed Kenny Golladay to an already loaded receiver room. With all this talent, the Giants should be at least in the top half of the league for offensive stats. The defense was actually surprisingly effective last season. With James Bradberry being a stud, the Giants held strong and kept them in games. They re-signed DL Leonard Williams and signed CB Adoree' Jackson. Those two are key factors in this unit improving upon their success last season. The team has to get more pressure on the QB, whether it's in creative ways with the blitzes or the D-Line winning their 1-on-1's.
In my honest opinion, I think the Giants spent recklessly on talent they didn't need for skill positions. They should have invested far more in the trenches. Spending $72 million on Kenny Golladay was a huge risk and they already have talent with WRs Sterling Shepherd and Darius Slayton. Do I think they have the makings of a playoff team? Yes. Do I think they will make it? No. The consistency week in and week out terrifies me with this team. The Cowboys get Dak back and the WFT is still a better team on paper, despite not having a true QB1. The road is a very difficult one, even for a wild card spot. Daniel Jones is a player to keep a major eye on this year. Seeing strong improvement from him is just as important as a playoff berth for Giants fans.