New York Giants made some offseason moves, but future is still developing
It has been a rough few years for the New York Football Giants and their fans to say the least occupying cellar dweller space with the crosstown New York Jets.
After years of trying to turn the ship into a rebuild, it seems the Giants are heading in the right direction and there is new excitement surrounding the team after the hires of Joe Schoen as GM, Brian Daboll as HC as well as other coaching staff changes plus the transactions made along with exciting draft picks in 2022 including Kayvon Thibodeaux, Evan Neal, and Won'Dale Robinson.
For some insight and perspective on what's going on right now with the New York Giants, Bobby Skinner of the Talkin Giants Podcast from Jomboy Media joined me and Dave Crossan on 'Shore Time with Vin and Dave' on Sunday morning on 94.3 The Point and 105.7 The Hawk.
Let's start by discussing the New York Giants' Offense.
This is the final, final, final, final chance for Daniel Jones to become elite or face the reality of playing for another team this time next year.
"It's looked like Daniel Jones so far just hasn't looked comfortable in practice. If there's one thing that you can say about Daniel Jones is that he's pretty accurate overall, there are not these wild Jones misses or missing on short, five-yard passes -- he's just looked a little uncomfortable with a lot of pressure in his face in practice and maybe some of the receivers not running the perfect route," Skinner said.
Jones just hasn't looked good in the pocket -- seemingly making inaccurate throws, interceptions, or not getting rid of the ball -- when he feels the pressure and trying to thread needles where he shouldn't be in double or triple coverage, so there's a lot he has to prove this preseason and regular season.
"I think there's still some hope with Daniel Jones but I think that Giants fans should go into the season and, the way that I'm going into the season as this is more than likely the final year of Daniel Jones -- One: they (the Giants) didn't pick up his 5th-year options -- no matter what they say to the media or what not, that tells you more than anything -- but it is a new offense, it is a complicated offense even for the receivers," Skinner said. "I think Daniel Jones can be solid this year, I don't think Daniel Jones has been as bad as people make him out to be from a league-wide view. I think that Jason Garrett was like, literally, the 32nd best Offensive Coordinator in the NFL, and that affected, obviously the quarterback mostly, but, the receivers, the running backs, everything."
There is only a sliver of a chance Jones is back under center in 2023.
"For him to be back next year, he has to be great, not just good or pretty good or decent, he has to be great to earn a contract back or even a franchise tag or a two-year cheap deal," Skinner said.
Overall, the offense isn't looking too bad -- WR Kenny Golladay is being targeted the way he should be and is making plays and the offense led by Coach Daboll along with OC Mike Kafka is more exciting and less predictable and vanilla with a lot of work still to be done.
"It's been up and down -- I like some of the schematic stuff that they've done early, but I'm also like, okay, the Giants offense probably isn't going to lay it up this year," Skinner said.
As for Saquon Barkley, the phenomenally talented running back who busted onto the scene out of Penn State has had injury-riddled seasons the last couple of years and now the pressure is on to see if he could be anything like what he once was to start his career and what he still has left.
"Just from camp, overall, I think he's looked awesome, last year, he looked bad. Now, part of it was the offensive line in front of him -- possible one of the worst offensive lines we've rolled out in the last 10 years with the New York Giants -- they didn't do him any favors but Saquon on his own, was very hesitant before the line of scrimmage which led to negative yards or zero yards on plays where a power back would just hit that hole and get two, three yards out of it," Skinner said. "In camp, he looks like the Saquon of old -- he's not juking 10-guys in practice, but he's looked really good and the offensive line in front of him has made it easier. Saquon has issues with wanting to bounce plays instead of hitting the hole and being hesitant behind the line, but guess what will help fix that a lot -- an offensive line that can open up a hole for him."
There are a couple of litmus tests that Saquon has to pass to prove he's back.
"One: being that explosive guy he was in his rookie year and second year -- even his second year he was really awesome, even with some injuries -- being that superstar, having those superstar plays but what I want to see out of Saquon too is when the hole's not obvious but there's a sliver there, hit that thing and get two, three yards instead of thinking twice and thinking about bouncing it and trying to hit a home run out of it," Skinner said.
Something else to think about though, overall, with the Giant's running game is it's Barkley, Matt Breida, and then it's a guess.
"I like Breida, but Breida's a speed-back, so if Saquon were to go down, that would be like, okay, Breida's not the guy you want to give 15-16 carries to in a game but in his role as that backup, I like Breida -- but after that, it's pretty thin," Skinner said. "Right now, their third running back is Antonio Williams, who was a practice squad guy for Buffalo. I think if Saquon were to go down, Antonio Williams would get a lot of carries because he is that type of guy who runs behind his pads and hits and gets north-south, gets that cutback when it's there but is very 'I'm going to get you my 3-4 yards a pop'. I like Williams more than most but he has done nothing in the NFL."
As mentioned earlier, for the Giants to have much success throwing or running the ball this year, the offensive line needs to play better in addition to Andrew Thomas being the rock on that O-Line.
"I think they're (the Giants Front Office) on their way to getting it right, but, Andrew Thomas is very good, I'm a big Andrew Thomas fan -- he's Top-10 in all pass blocking statistics for Tackles in the NFL, he just doesn't get the national recognition because he had a bad start to his rookie season and then also played on the New York Giants last year, with Mike Glennon and Jake Fromm finishing the season," Skinner said. "I think that this year, you're going to be able to run the rock -- Evan Neal, he's going to be able to run-block, Mark Glowinski is a better run blocker than pass blocked, (Jon) Feliciano is probably the weakest link run blocking wise on there -- he's a serviceable stop-gap, Shane Lemieux, even through all the rookie struggles, was a good run blocker. I think in pass pro, they may have some issues."
Let's now take a look at what's going on with the New York Giant's Defense.
Blake Martinez is back and healthy after a season-ending knee injury suffering a torn ACL in 2021, Tae Crowder is coming off a really good season and even with a re-worked defense Julian Love, Adoree Jackson, and Xavier McKinney are back and looking good so far.
And, there's the rookie edge rusher, Kayvon Thibodeaux, out of Oregon on one side, and 2nd-year edge rusher Azeez Ojulari.
Will it be enough though?
"They (the defense) are going to live and die by the health of their three cornerbacks because right now, in practice, they've looked good, they're getting pressure, Kayvon's looked good, Leonard Williams has looked better, Adoree Jackson has looked good, Aaron Robinson has been hit or miss but not horrible," Skinner said. "If you lose Adoree Jackson or Aaron Robinson -- that depth is so thin and it's going to be a huge issue where teams will be able to pick on our corners regardless of how much pressure we're getting from guys winning up front and some guys rushing free with the blitz. I think the defense really hinges on if those cornerbacks can stay healthy."
Things are looking good up front so far and the Giants bringing aboard Don "Wink" Martindale as the DC will help improve the D for Big Blue, overall.
"The defense has some talent but it can be -- and again, one injury away from having major, major flaws," Skinner said.
With Martindale, the process towards that top defense will be a work in progress.
"I think you have to be a little more conservative -- Aaron Robinson didn't play much last year, Darnay Holmes is never going to be a great man coverage corner -- he fits more into what Patrick Graham did with that zone -- but I think it's going to be similar to Baltimore (where Wink served as DC with the Ravens), he has the mindset of, hey, this may not look perfect at all times but there's going to be times where we make great plays, we're going to have sacks which end drives -- I think there is talent but I think Wink will have to adjust."