The New York Giants are entering the 2020 season looking to improve on last year. Rookie quarterback Daniel Jones and the offense were the highlights of the 2019 season, but the Giants finished the year 4-12 and missed the playoffs. However, they have high hopes for the 2020 season.
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The biggest news of the offseason was the retirement of quarterback Eli Manning. In non-players news, the Giants hired Joe Judge as their new head coach. They also hired Jason Garrett as their offensive coordinator and named Patrick Graham as defensive coordinator and assistant head coach. On the field, the Giants released linebackers, Alec Ogletree and Kareem Martin. They placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on Leonard Williams and exercised the fifth-year options on Evan Engram and Jabrill Peppers‘ contracts. Big Blue signed Tae Crowder to a four-year contract and re-signed linebacker Markus Golden. Starting left tackle Nate Solder and cornerback Sam Beal opted out of the 2020 season because of Covid-19.
When the Giants selected Jones with the sixth pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, many criticized the pick. However, Jones silenced those critics with a solid rookie year. He threw for 3,027 yards with 24 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. However, Jones also had a league-leading 18 fumbles (11 lost) last year. He will need to improve on that this season. The biggest question for the Giants’ offense is the health of Engram. He has struggled with injuries his entire career but when he is healthy, he is one of the best tight ends in the league.
In addition to Engram’s health, the team has to wonder if Darius Slayton can be the number one receiver. Last season, Slayton had eight touchdowns and led the team in receiving yards. However, were those empty stats, as the rest of the receiving core struggled to stay healthy, or a sign to come? The Giants will need to find that answer out this season as Jones deserves a true number one wide receiver.
The Giants defense has been bad the last couple of years. However, it could be better this year as they have a lot of young players with upside. The one thing the defense must improve on this season is their pass rushing. With the return of Golden, he should be able to lead a younger group of pass rushers. Unfourantely, things arent much better in the back seven.
Rookie safety Xavier McKinney and linebacker David Mayo got injured during training camp and will miss significant time this season. McKinney is expected to be out for two to three months after suffering a fractured left foot while Mayo could only be out several weeks with a torn meniscus in his left knee. Losing both players for the start of the season is a big blow to the Giants’ defense. McKinney is someone that Judge says could be the “quarterback” of the defense, while Mayo was one of the highlights on defense last year as he had a career-high 82 tackles (five for loss), two sacks, a fumble recovery and two defended passes.
Predicting the 53 Man roster
Jones is the clear starter for the Giants. Tanney will be Jones’s backup. Assuming the Giants keep three quarterbacks, McCoy will have to fend off Cooper Rush for the number three role.
Barkley, Lewis, and Gallman are all guaranteed to make the roster. Fester and Leake are better options than the other running backs currently on the roster.
Tate, Slayton, and Shepard are guaranteed to make the roster. Coleman, Stills, and Victor will add depth. Slayton could be the number one receiver this year.
Engram is one of the best tight ends, but will he stay healthy all season? Smith is just about as good as Engram and will have to step up if Engram gets injured. Toilolo and Tomlinson add depth.
With Solder opting out, this unit becomes very young very quickly. First-round pick Thomas will now slide over to left tackle and protect Jones’ blindside. Hernandez is coming off a solid season while Zeitler is now the veteran of the group. This unit needs to gel quickly or else Jones will spend a lot of time on the ground this season.
This group has a lot of potential and upside but struggles to rush the passer. Williams has a lot to prove this season as he is playing under a one year deal. If he can generate pressure from the inside, this unit should surprise some people.
Golden is the veteran of the group and has the most to offer. The team has high hopes for Ximines this season and either he or offseason addition Fackrell will need to step up and provide pressure opposite of Golden.
Mayo will be out to start the season so the Giants will need Downs and Brown to step up while Mayo is out. After already losing Ryan Connelly for the season, the Giants will need to consider adding someone to this group either in free agency or by making a trade.
With Deandre Baker on the commissioner exempt list after his rocky offseason, the cornerback position is a big concern for the Giants. They signed Bradberry in the offseason to a big contract and he will take over as their top cornerback. Behind him is a lot of youth and unknown. Hopefully one of the young guys can step up, otherwise, the secondary is going to be a big problem for Giants.
With McKinney out several months, he likely will be placed on injured reserve to start the season. Peppers will start at strong safety while Love will take over at free safety for McKinney. Ebner was a special team’s star for the New England Patriots and followed Judge to New York.
Gano and Dixon will be the starting kicker and punter respectively. Kreiter is the long snapper Other than Ebner, the Giants don’t have any impact players on their special team’s unit.
The success of the 2020 season will depend on how big of a step Jones takes in year two. The roster lacks a lot of elite talent but is filled with young guys with upside. Despite an underwhelming roster, the Giants string together enough “surprise” wins and sneak into the playoffs as a wildcard team.
Season Prediction: 8-8 and make the playoffs as a wild card team.
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