Calling all Big Blue fans, now it’s your turn. James Williams joins Into The End Zone to bring us his thoughts on the New York Giants as our ‘State of the Franchise series moves onto the next part in the series.
Have a read through and see if your expectations match his or if you are thinking this season might be a little different.
Let’s do this!
Last Season’s Reflections
Last season was a complete disaster for the Giants. The first 5 weeks passed by winless, starting with a 19-3 loss to fellow NFC East team Dallas and a last gasp field goal loss to eventual Super Bowl Champions and fierce rivals Philadelphia. Week 5’s loss to fellow winless team the LA Chargers, Eli Manning’s original draftees saw Dwayne Harris, Sterling Shepard, Brandon Marshall and Odell Beckham Jr all pick up injuries, and the rest of the season was just damage limitation lurching from defeat to defeat, with only victories over fellow strugglers Denver and Washington, and an overtime win against Kansas City to celebrate.
Low points were plenty, from a 51-17 drubbing by the resurgent LA Rams (a year after Steve Spagnuolo’s defence was ranked 2nd in the league), to the benching of Eli Manning after 222 consecutive career starts (2nd only behind Brett Favre’s 321) and the suspension of popular players Dominic Rogers-Cromartie and Janoris Jenkins leading to an anonymous report stating head coach Ben McAdoo had completely lost the locker-room.
The Giants finished the season 3-13, leading to both McAdoo and General Manager Jerry Reece being shown the door, for Pat Shurmer and Dave Gettleman respectively.
Changes During The Off-Season
It’s hard to determine whether the most important changes for the Giants happened on or off the field over the off season. On the coaching side, McAdoo, Spagnuolo and Mike Sullivan (offensive coordinator) all moved on, as did almost all the backroom staff. In came Pat Shurmer as head coach, fresh from a deep play-off run with the Vikings as their OC, highly regarded James Bettcher became DC from the same position within the Arizona Cardinals and Mike Shula came with Gettleman from the Carolina Panthers to be OC, a role he’d undertaken in Carolina for four seasons.
In the back room, Jerry Reece moved on for David Gettleman, a man well known to the Giants with over 12 years’ experience with the organisation already in the bank, and tutoring under the legendary Ernie Accorsi. In his time in Carolina, Gettleman led them to their first ever SuperBowl, SuperBowl 50, where they lost to the Broncos, and drafted future MVP Cam Newton.
The Giants addressed some of their many problems with free agency, luring Nate Solder with a megadeal from the Patriots to replace likely-bust Ereck Flowers at Left Tackle, Guard Patrick Onameh came in from the Jaguars and Alec Ogletree came in from the Rams. Pierre-Paul, with his huge contract and declining productivity was traded to the Bucs, while Brandon Marshall and Dominic Rogers-Cromartie were released.
The draft was a huge success for the Giants, with many calling it one of the best of any team. Gettleman resisted calls to draft Manning’s successor or trade down from the number 2 spot, and instead chose the consensus best player in the draft, running back Saquon Barkley. Guard Will Hernandez was seen as many as a steal to fall to the Giants pick in the second round, while rangy linebacker Lorenzo Carter will be seen by many as one to fear in Bettcher’s new look defence. Intriguingly Kyle Lauletta was also picked, to join fellow late round quarter back selection Davis Webb in the Giants’ quarterback room.
Predictions For The New Season
Next season brings a tough schedule for the Giants, with Jacksonville, New Orleans and Philadelphia all to play before the bye week, and the pass rush heavy Texans waiting to welcome the Giants’ aging quarterback and new look offensive line.
A lot depends on how well the coaching team can mold a team coming off a tough 2017. Shurmer made Minnesota’s offense into one of the most inventive, balanced and dangerous in the league with a cast far less talented than he inherits with the Giants, with a fit again OBJ, Eli Manning, Evan Engram, Sterling Shepard and Saquon Barkley at his disposal. James Bettcher brings a new look defense, switching from 4-3 to 3-4 and also has talent at his disposal including Damon “Snacks” Harrison, Olivier Vernon, Landon Collins and Janoris Jenkins all close to the best in the league when playing well.
However, the tough schedule and disastrous 2017 means that anywhere near a winning season will be a pleasant surprise. 6 wins should be the aim with Washington, Tampa Bay, Chicago all to visit the Metlife Stadium. Divisional rivals the Eagles look too strong to stop in the NFC East race, while bragging rights over the Cowboys may be attainable. On the whole though, I’m quietly optimistic.
Editor Notes: Giants fans, let us know your thoughts and tell us whether you agree with James’ reflections and predictions. Leave a comment or contact us via social media below: