The third and final phase of the offseason workout program comes to a close this week with mandatory minicamp (June 7-9). Since reporting April 4, the team has ramped up from conditioning to on-field installations to full 11-on-11 team reps, giving everyone a glimpse of what the 2022 New York Giants will look like in the first year of the new era.
With that in mind, we asked our writers what the biggest story line will be heading into next month’s training camp based on what they’ve seen so far:
Dan Salomone: Spring football is all about teaching and building chemistry when a new regime takes over (and even when it doesn’t as no team is ever the same from one year to the next in the NFL). So, the Giants spent the past two months forging those bonds from player to player, coach to coach, and coach to player.
“I think it’s really important because you’re going to have to weather the storms,” coach Brian Daboll said last week. “That’s what you try to do right now this time of year. Really it’s the guys. It’s their football team, the players. You try to do the best job you can in leading, putting a good culture together, bringing in the right kind of people, then let those guys take it over.”
Now comes the next part: evaluation. Another word for it is competition.
The pads will come on for the first time late next month, and slowly but surely football starts to turn from a concept to reality. Roles will start to become more defined at training camp, especially when the rehab status of the “red jersey” players come into focus. What will the receiving corps look like? Who is the top tight end? Where are the rookies lining up? All those questions and more will be answered as we’re less than 100 days to Week 1.
Lance Medow: The same story line entering OTAs will remain as the team heads into training camp/preseason and that’s the state of a relatively young and unproven secondary, specifically at corner. Aaron Robinson and Darnay Holmes are clearly taking advantage of their opportunities this spring as both players have been active and opportunistic. Robinson will likely assume most of James Bradberry’s snaps on the outside opposite Adoree’ Jackson and Holmes could emerge as the main slot corner (with competition from rookie Cor’Dale Flott).
All but three players in the secondary entered the NFL between 2020-22. Jackson, Maurice Canady and Julian Love are the only older veterans in the group, but Canady has only played 50 percent of his team’s defensive snaps twice during his five NFL seasons. Moreover, Wink Martindale’s scheme relies heavily on strong cover corners and those players will be key given his aggressive nature as a play-caller and desire to constantly blitz. If you don’t get home against the quarterback, you’re going to need the defensive backs to handle their end of the equation.
It’s fair to say the secondary has a bit of mystery and intrigue. There’s a lot of youth and potential but we just haven’t seen enough of a sample size to determine what this group can do on a consistent basis. When Martindale was asked about the outlook of his unit, he responded: “We’ll control the narrative.” The foundation of that story will depend on the play of the secondary.
Matt Citak: It may sound a bit like a broken record at this point, but the biggest story line heading into training camp has to be the revamped offensive line.
It was clear throughout this off-season that rebuilding the O-line and shoring up its depth was a top priority for Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll once they took over. When free agency began, the Giants gave guard Mark Glowinski a multi-year deal before adding center Jon Feliciano. They also added several other veterans to compete for playing time, including Matt Gono, Jamil Douglas and Max Garcia. Of course, Evan Neal was then selected with the No. 7 overall pick in the draft, while UNC teammates Joshua Ezeudu (No. 67) and Marcus McKethan (No. 173) were taken in the middle rounds.
For those keeping count, there are nine new bodies in the OL room, which is now led by position coach Bobby Johnson. The new-look line will obviously need some time to build chemistry, but the unit has already looked noticeably improved throughout the spring, especially with Neal locking down at right tackle. Between Neal and Andrew Thomas at the two tackle spots, Daniel Jones could be looking at a lot more time in the pocket this season. If that success can carry over into training camp and the regular season, the Giants’ offense might be looking at a big step up from last year.