It is a little less than a week before the first preseason game and everyone seems to have already anointed the Eagles as SuperBowl champions. I understand, while the games are still played on paper, the Eagles look unbeatable. Unfortunately for the Eagles and their fans, eventually they are going to have to start playing games on the field, and things never go as well as you think they will. I am sure the Cowboys, Redskins and Raiders can all attest to that. As for the Giants, they are still going to be an improved team, despite standing pat during free agency. How is this possible? Because the most important thing to the continued success of a franchise, is player development of the guys already on the roster, not free agents and first-year players.
In the offseason, all the experts deemed the Giants’ biggest weaknesses to be along the offensive line and the linebacking corp. Both look to be solidified by young players already on the Giants roster. The players I’m talking about are William Beatty and Clint Sintim. Those players are entering their third season in the NFL, a season many believe is the season that young players become stars in this league.
In addition to the signing of David Baas, the progression of Beatty will allow the Giants’ offensive line to return to the productive levels we have seen back in 2007 and 2008. David Diehl, David Baas, and Chris Snee form one of the best interior lines in the league, and flanked out at right, Kareem Mckenzie looks to add another solid year to his resume. This leads to the only question mark on the line, William Beatty. Beatty was a guy with first round talent, and fell to the second round simply due to the tremendous depth at the tackle position that year. In his third season with the Giants, he should have a firm enough grasp of the offense to make a huge contribution. If he does, watch out.
Michael Boley and his hefty contract will undoubtedly start at weak side linebacker this season. With Jonathan Goff’s great season, and lack of competition, he should look to man the middle for another year. That leaves the strong side spot open. All indications have been that the coaching staff is looking to Sintim to fill that role. The third year player has worlds of talent, it just hasn’t been realized on the football field yet. It is his third year, however, and you’d hope by now Sintim would be able to show something. Like Beatty, if he can reach his potential he can turn what was a question mark into an asset for the Giants.
In addition to these two players, look for Travis Beckum, Hakeem Nicks and Ramses Barden to all improve on their previous performances, giving the Giants the impact players so many are craving from free agency. It might not be splashy, but the Giants have the makings of an improved team. That is scary when you realize they were 10-6 and possibly eight minutes away from being the 2nd seed in the playoffs last season.