41 Giants-related Questions for When Football Resumes
With the Giants set to return to their East Rutherford, New Jersey headquarters this week for the first time since facilities were closed nationwide in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in mid-March, the feeling is football can't be too far behind.
In the meantime, a lot of questions have been accumulating about this franchise and the direction it's headed. The team started over with a brand new coaching staff that has reshaped the player personnel to its specifications.
For the first time in a while, the head coach, Joe Judge, speaks of having a plan to get the Giants franchise back on track but sounds convincing when he talks about that plan.
In a typical off-season, we would have seen the rookie minicamp and a few of the OTAs and would be getting ready for a mandatory minicamp in a couple of weeks. All that didn't happen, which leaves a lot of unanswered questions.
So with football hopefully not too far away from actually happening--training camps are set to open at the end of July--here is a list of things I'm looking forward to seeing.once the Giants do get on the field.
1. What kind of drills has Daniel Jones been doing to improve his ball security, and where is he with that? Hopefully, he's much improved as the team can ill-afford to have him leading the league in turnovers as he did last year.
2. What is the lineup behind Jones? Perhaps that won't be decided for a while, but someone is going to work with the second-string offense. Will it be Colt McCoy? Alex Tanney? Cooper Rush?
3. How many of the five quarterbacks on the roster will the keep? Figure it will be at least two--Jones and McCoy. But will there be room for a third quarterback, or will they send Rush or Case Cookus to the practice squad to free up another roster spot?
4. Is this the end of Alex Tanney? Tanney has been good for the quarterbacks' room, given his football IQ and willingness to help. But that lack of game experience he has, although no fault of his own, can't be good when you have a mobile quarterback like Jones who already has gotten hurt and missed time because of it to where you probably want an experienced backup on the roster.
5. How many weeks into the season until someone longs for Eli Manning to come out of retirement? (You know it's going to happen the minute Daniel Jones struggles.)
6. What will Saquon Barkley's roles be in this offense? We know he'll be healthy, but will new offensive coordinator Jason Garrett finally start moving him around to take advantage of different matchups that can benefit the offense?
7. Does Wayne Gallman have a future on this team? He was buried on the depth chart last year for reasons known only to the previous coaching staff. And with the Giants having signed veteran Dion Lewis, will Gallman remain buried? Will he become the latest of the draft picks made by Jerry Reese to be jettisoned?
8. Who is going to be the fullback, the steady Eddie known as Eli Penney or George Aston? Will the Giants even carry a fullback given how infrequently the position has been used not just by the Giants but by Dallas (when Garrett was the head coach there)?
9. Can receiver Corey Coleman pick up where he left off before suffering a torn ACL last year? If he can, the Giant might very well have their kickoff returner and a valuable fourth receiver on the projected depth chart, which, for some, would ease the sting of not dipping into that historically deep receivers class.
10. How much better will Darius Slayton be in Year 2? He looked good as a rookie, but there are still things in his game he can clean up that will make him even better. And do the Giants have enough at receiver?
11. Will we finally see a game where Slayton, Sterling Shepard, and Golden Tate are all on the field simultaneously with Barkley and tight end Evan Engram? (It's still hard to believe that this didn't happen last year.)
12. Are Sterling Shepard's injury issues firmly behind him? Let's hope they are as if this young man suffers another head injury, it would be challenging seeing him trying to come back from that.
13. What position will Andrew Thomas play on the offensive line? You would think, given the circumstances forced by the COVID-19 pandemic that wiped out the spring practices, the coaches would keep him on the left side where he played in college, but head coach Joe Judge has indicated that he prefers for his offensive linemen to cross-train. Will there be enough time to accomplish that in training camp?
14. If Thomas does go to the left tackle spot, is Nate Solder automatically moving to right tackle, or will there be a competition with Matt Peart, Nick Gates, and Cam Fleming for that job?
15. Who will be the starting center? Logic would dictate it will e Spencer Pulley, but there is supposed to be competition at that position as well, including rookie Shane Lemieux, who has been training at center since the college season ended.
16. Is Nick Gates a fit at center considering he has never played the position in a live game? And if not, is there even a role for him on the starting offensive line?
17. Can left guard Will Hernandez take that next big step in his development toward becoming a Pro bowl lineman? Last season was a tough one for everyone on the Giants offensive line, Hernandez included. However, new coaching and another year of experience under his belt can only be a plus for the still young offensive lineman.
18. What is Matt Peart's baseline? Eventually, they would like for him to become the starting right tackle. Still, if what Judge says is true about it not mattering what these guys did before they got to the NFL, then Peart needs to establish a baseline regarding what he can do and what he can't within this offense. Can he maybe be a jumbo tight end while he cuts his teeth at the NFL level?
19. What about Shane Lemieux, who also needs to establish a baseline? Is he the future at center? Can he be the extra blocker when the Giants go to the jumbo package?
20. Are the Giants planning on bringing Jon Halapio back if his rehab from a torn Achilles is on schedule?
21. Will the Giants get Leonard Williams signed to a long-term deal before the July 15 deadline? Doing so would go a long way toward opening up some cap space plus that would potentially free up the franchise tag next year if the team needed to use it on Dalvin Tomlinson.
22. What kind of configuration is defensive coordinator Patrick Graham planning for that defensive line? Remember, this is a defense that will be multiple so you can pretty much bet the mortgage that every member of that unit will be asked to know various positions.
23. What's the next step in Dexter Lawerence II's development? He had a pretty solid rookie campaign, but there's still room to grow for this core piece to the defense's foundation.
24. How will the defensive linemen attack the gaps to create opportunities for the back seven to penetrate and disrupt the offensive backfield activity? Will there be a lot of "amoeba" looks in which various defenders are milling around the line of scrimmage to confuse the opposing offense?
25. What kind of improvement has Oshane Ximines made in the offseason? When we left this intriguing rookie, he showed promise as a pass rusher but needed to add some strength to better hold against the run.
26. What will Graham ask Kyler Fackrell to do differently this year vs. what he did last year with the Packers to get Fackrell back to double-digit sacks?
27. How will Blake Martinez function in his new role of being more of a proactive linebacker than a "clean up" type of guy?
28. Which of the young linebackers drafted in the sixth and seventh-rounds will have a role on the 53-man roster?
29. Who of Sam Beal and Corey Ballentine will win the other starting cornerback job while DeAndre Baker takes care of his legal issues?
30. Do the Giants finally have a long-term answer for their slot cornerback position on the roster, and if so, will it be Chris Williamson, Darnay Holmes, or someone else?
31. How will James Bradberry impact that defensive secondary? He brings veteran leadership, and while there are still those who lament that the Giants missed out on Byron Jones, Bradberry has been more productive.
32. Will we see the three-high safety set? The Giants appear to have the personnel to run it if they want...just sayin'.
33. What kind of roles will Julian Love, PFF's pick for the Giants' most underrated player, take on?
34. Is Jabrill Peppers fully healed from his season-ending back injury? And how will working alongside Xavier McKinney enhance what Peppers brings to the table?
35. Can McKinney ease the disappointment of those Giants fans who wanted the versatile Isaiah Simmons?
36. How much of the Patriots special teams schemes will be infused on the Giants?
37. Who will be the punt and kickoff returners?
38. Which version of Aldrick Ross will we see in 2020, the 2018 Pro Bowler or last year's shaky performer?
39. What will Joe Judge's practices look like?
40. What, if any, criteria will the Giants use as a benchmark for progress?
41. Will they reunite with Markus Golden by the July 22 deadline, or will another team come sweeping in to ruin those plans?