FOUR KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL SEASON

So many factors make up successful seasons in the NFL. Health and injuries always go without saying for all 32 teams. These are the keys the NY Giants will have to hit on to have a successful season with such a tough schedule.

Daniel Jones leaps in year two of the Daboll-Kafka offensive system.

From 2022 to 2023, the offense has maintained continuity at the most critical positions and some “upgrades” at thin positions from the previous season.

The Giants ranked 26th in the league, averaging 185.7 passing yards per game. In today’s league, there are other recipes for sustained success.

The Giants may not have added high-end receiver talent, but the receiver position is now the deepest position group on the team. The upgrades and additional depth at WR will be crucial to the success of Daniel Jones, proving himself further as a passer after his big payday this offseason.

Mid-season pickup Isaiah Hodgins is returning. He showed great promise with 351 receiving yards and 4 TDs in only eight games after being picked up off the Bills practice squad. Wandale Robinson, a 2nd-year player coming off an ACL injury suffered last year vs. the Lions in which he had his first 100+ yard receiving game, is hoping to pick up where he left off. Darius Slayton resigned, who has been DJ’s favorite target and has led the team in receiving 3 of the last four years. Parris Campbell was added through a free agency and provided the position’s depth, speed, and versatility. Drafting Jalin Hyatt in the 3rd round offers excellent value and adds speed to an offense that could not stretch the field in recent years. Fan favorite Sterling Shepard resigned on a one-year vet min deal and will likely act as additional depth and a respected veteran presence in a packed receiver room.

Guys like Jamison Crowder, David Sills, Collin Johnson, Collin Johnson, and promising UDFA Bryce Ford-Wheaton will compete for roster spots in training camp this year.

And who can remember the blockbuster trade for Darren Waller? Waller provides the #1 receiver upside at the TE position without paying the #1 receiver money (assuming he can stay healthy). Behind him is Daniel Bellinger, who had an excellent rookie year. He provides a complete skill set than Waller and will make a big jump in year two. If you’re not convinced, Travis Kelce named him one of three young tight ends (others include Kyle Pitts and Jake Ferguson) to watch this upcoming season on his podcast “New Heights,” co-hosted with his brother All-Pro Center Jason Kelce.

Whether Saquon gets extended or plays on the Franchise Tag, these additions will allow Daboll to open up the passing game for Daniel Jones to showcase his talent. Additionally, this will help keep Saquon healthy and prolong his career into the future so he can continue being the generational talent we love for years to come.

Kamil Krzaczynski / Associated Press

  1. The Offensive Line Improves.

Here we are again. Another offseason, another year of praying for improved offensive line play. Over the last five years, the Giants have consistently had a bottom-three offensive line, in any way you put it.

Outside of All-Pro Left Tackle Andrew Thomas, last season’s offensive line could have been better.

Rookie RT Evan Neal allowed 52 pressures and eight sacks and a rotation of interior OL throughout the season, making pass protection hard to watch in stretches. Evan Neal will live up to his pedigree of a top-10 selection. He has been working on a new stance this offseason and cleaning up his footwork with former All-Pro Willie Anderson. Evan Neal hopes to make the same year two leap we witnessed with Andrew Thomas, who had similar struggles his rookie season.

Mark Glowinski is serviceable, and Ben Bredeson and Josh Ezeudu will likely be competing for the starting LG spot. With the addition of 2nd round pick John Michael Schmitz who most analysts consider the best Center in this year’s draft, we may witness the first time in almost a decade an offensive line that Giants fans can be proud of.

AP

  1. Questions in the Secondary are answered.

Just like last year, this secondary has some questions. Last season we saw the departure of James Bradberry to a division rival as a cap casualty leaving the secondary looking bleak in a defensive system that relies on press-man corners.

Adoree Jackson stepped up to the plate and played well last season. We saw stretches of surprisingly good play and, at times, terrible play from journeyman Fabian Moreau. 2022 3rd-round pick Cor’Dale Flott showed promising play towards the end of the season and projects to be the Giants starting slot corner. He can carry that momentum into year two and cement himself as a permanent starter for years.

Xavier McKinney played well on the field, and let’s pray he sticks to safer hobbies during the bye week this season. Julian Love signed with the Seahawks; he’s a solid safety I would’ve liked to retain and has yet to be adequately replaced. Jason Pinnock (2021 fifth-round pick), who was claimed off waivers from the Jets last season, is listed as the starter to replace Love makes me nervous. Young guys like Darnay Holmes, who has an affinity for holding penalties, and second-year safety Dane Belton, who played meaningful snaps during Xavier Mckinney’s injury, can be effective in limited snaps in backup roles.

The most significant addition to the secondary this offseason is #24 overall pick Deonte Banks, the apple of defensive coordinator Wink Martindale’s eye. To see a man who prides himself on keeping his composure leaping with joy when the Giants turned in his draft card and bear-hugging GM Joe Schoen is all I needed to be all in on this physical specimen CB out of Maryland.

This secondary is young and unproven but has the opportunity to silence the critics this season and show that they can lock down the NFL’s best in a schedule packed with high-powered offenses.

Elite Sports NY

  1. Stop the Run!!

The Giants were abysmal at stopping the run last year.

They were 28th in run defense, allowing 146.3 rushing yards per game. Joe Schoen has moved to address this issue by adding Inside Linebacker Bobby Okereke in free agency. Okereke is a young and upcoming tackling machine who tallied 151 combined tackles in 2022 for the Indianapolis Colts.

Schoen also signed interior defensive line depth to help Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams clog up the middle of the defense. In addition, A’Shawn Robinson and Rakeem Nunez-Roches are solid, cost-effective additions that should help beef up our run defense this season by adding rotational depth.

To see improvement in the Giant’s defense this season, they must be disciplined in stopping the run, and hopefully, the moves made by Joe Schoen and the company will reflect that on the field.