OPEN CAMP: July 28, Quest Diagnostics Training Center, East Rutherford, New Jersey.
LAST YEAR: Turnaround season in Ben McAdoo’s first year as coach. Surprisingly, it was defense that carried team. S Landon Collins had MVP-type year in his second season. Additions of DE Olivier Vernon and DT Damon Harrison and return of DE Jason Pierre-Paul to form after 2015 fireworks accident transformed Steve Spagnuolo’s unit. Offense, which led team in 2015 with McAdoo as coordinator, was major disappointment. Two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning was under too much pressure and there was no running game to help. Giants won close games: New York had eight wins by seven points or less. Its biggest winning margin was 14. Only time it was blown out was in wild-card game by Packers, game overshadowed by Odell Beckham Jr. and other receivers taking ill-advised boating trip in Florida on off day during week before contest game. General manager Jerry Reese told Beckham to start maturing in season-ending interviews.
Article continues below ...
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: WR Brandon Marshall, rookie TE Evan Engram, OL D.J. Fluker, rookie DT Dalvin Tomlinson, PK Aldrick Rosas.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: DT Johnathan Hankins, PK Robbie Gould, RT Marshall Newhouse, WR Victor Cruz, RB Rashad Jennings.
CAMP NEEDS: While defense went from one of NFL’s worst to very good unit, offense went downhill. Line was bad, running game was nonexistent, and Manning rarely had third option at receiver outside of Beckham and Sterling Shepard. With exception of Newhouse, line returns. Entering third season, LT Ereck Flowers has to start playing like first-round pick. Either Bobby Hart or Fluker will replace Newhouse. Hope is fleet Engram proves difficult matchup at tight end, and Marshall gives Manning third option. Second-year pro Paul Perkins expected to replace Jennings. Spagnuolo needs to find safety (Darian Thompson, Andrew Adams) to play opposite Collins, and DT (Tomlinson, Jay Bromley) to play beside All-Pro Harrison. Rosas has big leg but he has never kicked in regular-season game. Will Giants go fishing for veteran on waiver wire after final cutdown?
EXPECTATIONS: If defense plays as well as last year and offense returns to 2015 form, Giants can challenge Cowboys in NFC East. New York should make playoffs for second straight year after missing five in row.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL