Peter King, in his latest Football Morning in America column, is out with his first edition of NFL power rankings , and he ranked the Giants No. 24, two spots ahead of the Commanders in the NFC East (Philly and Dallas were Nos. 9 and 15 respectively).
His reasoning was as follows:
With a manageable schedule, and a QB-friendly head coach in Brian Daboll, and a receiving corps that at least starts camp with a chance to be impactful, and the first time in years the Giants can look at an offensive line with two high-achieving tackles (Andrew Thomas, Evan Neal), Daniel Jones actually has a chance to be the quarterback he was drafted to be in 2019.
Daboll and Joe Schoen aren’t lying when they say they think Jones has a chance to be the guy for the future. While odds are against it, Jones is set up to have the best chance he’s had to be a middle-of-the-pack quarterback. If he’s that, the Giants could win seven. Amazing, isn’t it, that this franchise who snuffed out New England’s Super Bowl twice in the last 15 years hasn’t won a playoff game in a decade—and a seven-win season would get the locals fired up.
There is optimism about the offensive line, a problem for most of the past decade since the Giants last a Super Bowl, which the Giants are hoping is now fixed enough to allow for Daniel Jones to remain upright to take some deep shots down the field.
As with anything related to sports, keeping the offensive line healthy will be a big key.
An even bigger key will be for Jones, who according to Pro Football Focus had the third-best adjusted accuracy rate (71.6 percent) when under pressure among the 30 quarterbacks that took at least 50 percent of their snaps last season, to cut down on the bad throws.
Per Pro Football Reference, at least 17 percent of Jones's annual pass attempts in his three seasons have been "bad throws." Last season, he tossed 80 bad throws, a single-season career high, despite missing six games.
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To help Jones cut down on bad throws, head coach Brian Daboll has encouraged Jones to be a little more daring in practice and take some chances that maybe int he past he might have been reluctant to take.
Don "Wink" Martindale
And if those chances taken don't pan out, then chalk it up to a learning experience.
Jones seems to be appreciative of Daboll's approach. "You never want to throw interceptions, but I think just the idea to be aggressive and take your shots and see if you can make something happen," he said.
"I think that's a mindset he has to attack a defense, attack downfield, and as a quarterback, a decision-maker, you're a big part of that. That's something we've talked about a lot and something he wants to see in practice."
The offense, while certainly needing to show significant improvement from last year, is only one part of the equation. A year ago, the Giants defense finished 21st overall (354.8 yards/game allowed).
A major point of emphasis for the Giants has been to shore up the pass rush. Last season the Giants finished 25th in their sack rate (5.27 percent)--a deep dip from the 6.51 percent rate they recorded in 2020, which landed them 13th overall.
While the Giants added some firepower to their defense, including edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux and the more aggressive mindset of defensive coordinator Wink Martindale, they still need to settle some of the questions on the back end of the defense, at inside linebacker and cornerback.
Overall there is a lot of optimism for the Giants to finish with a much-improved record than last year's 4-13 disappointment. But there's still a long way before any such forecasts of better days ahead actually have a realistic chance to come to fruition.