What Will be the Strengths of the 2016 Giants?
Entering the 2016 season the Giants are trying to change the lack of success they have had in recent seasons. The Giants have not made the playoffs since they won their fourth Super Bowl in 2011 and have not had a winning record since 2012. While the lack of victories in recent years has been troublesome there are still three positives to be found on Big Blues roster.
The first positive is that the Giants have an established franchise quarterback in Eli Manning. While the argument still persists if Eli is elite many other franchises would love to have the two-time Super Bowl MVP as their signal caller. Manning has acquired a reputation for leading the Giants on big drives in the closing seconds of games to help the G-Men be victorious. Now the hopes for 2016 is that Manning is able to get into the playoffs in 2016 and make a run at a third Lombardi Trophy.
The second positive for the Giants will be the receiver core which is led by Odell Beckham Jr. OBJ has been the main aerial target for Manning since his arrival in 2014 and Beckham Jr. has risen to superstardom while donning the Giants blue and white. What will be different is Beckham Jr. could have help in 2016 with the drafting of Sterling Shepard and the return of Victor Cruz. Shepard was the Giants second round pick and will fit a need the Giants have by playing the slot position. Cruz is a returning fan favorite but his performance is still hard to predict because Cruz last played a meaningful game in October of 2014. Shepard and Cruz should have an advantage because they ought to be able to exploit their single coverage matchups due to Beckham Jr receiving a lot of attention from opposing defenses in the form of double teams.
The third positive is the Giants have improved their defense through free agent acquisitions. Big Blue was ranked 32 out of 32 teams in yards given up, and were ranked 29 out of 32 in scoring defense. Jerry Reese made defense a priority by signing defensive tackle Damon “Snack” Harrison, defensive end Olivier Vernon, and cornerback Janoris Jenkins. While the talent has been upgraded we will see how much Steve Spagnuolo can get out of the defensive unit.
Rookie coach Ben McAdoo has been dealt a better hand than Tom Coughlin was in his final season as Giants head coach. McAdoo’s squad has a solid offense and an improved defense which means the Giants look good on paper. But how well will Big Blue look on the field with McAdoo as their leader?