Giants’ Offseason Plans and Season 47 Preview
Season 46 recap
Key Returning Players
Saquon Barkley (NFC RBOTY, OROY, OPOY, Pro Bowl)
(234 car, 1193 yds, 11 TD, 45 Rec, 350 yards, 1 TD)
Landon Collins (NFC DBOTY, Pro Bowl)
(42 Tak, 1 Sacks, 9 INT)
Olivier Vernon (Pro Bowl)
(46 Tak, 14 Sacks, 2 FF)
Janoris Jenkins (Pro Bowl)
(50 Tak, 2 Sacks, 3 FF, 6 INT, 1 TD)
Will Hernandez (Pro Bowl)
Odell Beckham Jr. (Pro Bowl)
(55 Rec, 1224 yards, 7 TD)
The Giants started the 46th Season of RedZone football under the radar; an incomplete roster with some top-end talent in key spots. With the uber-talented 2nd overall pick (Saquon Barkley), the all-world WR, OBJ and the recently added LT Nate Solder, the offense expected to struggle some to start the season with an undermanned offensive line and a surprising question at Quarterback. In camp, the rookie 4th round pick out of Richmond, Kyle Lauletta impressed tremendously and earned the job. With a measured, disciplined and balanced approach on both offense and defense, the G-men flew out of the gates and never looked back. While Kyle struggled with picks early, he picked his game up significantly as the ground game began picking up traction. The defense was the definition of bend but don’t break, giving up significant yardage but keeping teams out of the end-zone to the tune of allowing a total of 15 points per game, a top 10 figure across the league. With the combination of an ability to run the ball well and stop the run the Giants found a winning formula and rode it to 13 wins, the best record in the league and the #1 seed in the NFC playoff field. The Bears stomped into MetLife and wiped out the Giants with nearly 700 yards of offense, never punting. The Giants suffered a rash of injuries and the Bears took advantage of Ballard being far more aggressive than he’d been at any point during the season. The Giants went home early but there are plenty of reasons for optimism.
Fixing the Line
The priority for the Giants will almost assuredly be the offensive line. Ballard spoke openly about the need to improve upfront, especially on the right side (and the center) where all 3 starters began the season with sub-70 ratings. Additionally, Ballard talked about getting better in the middle of the defense at each level and spoke with no certainty about what to do with the veterans in the secondary they added just as the season was getting underway (Parker and Pacman). The CBA allows for one more of them to be re-signed and the other would be a candidate for the tag, which is extremely unlikely for either
Eli – A Giant Decision
The elephant in the proverbial off-season room for the Giants will be what to do with Eli Manning. With an $18 million cap figure going into the last year of his contract, coming off a year where he saw only one drive of action and the team went 13-3 without him, what will the Giants do? The value of a backup quarterback cannot be understated, but neither can $11 million more in cap room for a team with GIGANTIC holes that doesn’t pick until the latter part of each round.
Expect the Giants to be significant players on most of the impact players in free agency. Ballard said the team would be aggressive in trying to get better anyway they can and with $40+ million in room, they do have space to get better across the board and to add some depth ahead of the draft.
The needs’ for the Giants are relatively obvious, they need help up front on offense. On defense, they’re old or untalented at some premium positions and contracts could mean more skill guys; J. Stew is a year older and going into the last year of his contract and Sterling may drive a hard bargain over his contract and NYG could hedge the bet and draft a guy to compliment Odell. Ballard has intimated that he would like to get a bigger guy to compliment OBJ. Saying all that to say the Giants could be in Best Player Available mode, sans RB.
Previewing Season 47
Opponents: Phi(x2) Was (x2) Dal (x2) NE, Mia, NYJ, Buf, GB, Min, Chi, Det, LAR, Car
The NFC East will be another tough road ahead, with each of the 4 teams expected to beat up on one another. The G-men will have a first place schedule drawing the Rams and Panthers to beef up an already solid schedule after what the NFC North did last season with 3 11+ win teams the Giants will have to earn it every week.
With a year of development under the belt of Kyle Lauletta, a hopefully improved line and a re-tooled defense and maybe a free agent or two added to the fold, the Giants should remain competitive but Ballard has always struggled in terms of consistency from season to season and this one will be another big test. Is he up to it?