With camp starting this weekend, I figured I would share what I will be looking for during training camp in East Rutherford. Even if you cannot make it to the Giants facilities to watch in person, there are ways you can keep yourself updated with camp news every day. Personally, I love to use Twitter (@TKaz21), following multiple Giants writers and NFL news outlets that attend camp in person. Here’s a list of things that I will be looking for in those tweets:
Outside of Nicks and Cruz, which receiver is making the most noise?
Throughout preseason so far, Rueben Randle has been getting all the praise in the world from coaches. Gilbride went off about how he looked like a seasoned vet in mini camp with the absence of Nicks and Cruz. He showed flashes towards the end of last year that he can definitely play the game and will be an asset, but he is not the only option. The Giants picked up Louis Murphy from free agency, a down field burner. His speed is not his only asset. His down field blocking is some of the best in the league, always going 100% even when he doesn’t have the ball in his hands. Ramses Barden is back with the team, showed what he could do against the Panthers when he started in place of Nicks last year, may be his last camp as a Giant. Picked up Keith Carlos, guy can move and is quite the athlete, chance he can make the roster.
JPP had surgery on his back and MAY be available week 1 against the Cowboys, and Osi is gone, who will step up in their absence? Mathias Kiwanuka is moving back to his original defensive end position and may start the season opposite Tuck. 3rd round pick Damontre Moore, a guy that plays with speed and aggression but does not have a great work ethic. His combine performance was less than satisfactory, bumping him from a potential 1st rounder all the way to the 3rd. Will be interesting to see how the Giants use him in camp. Adawale Ojomo a surprise undrafted free agent from Miami made his presence felt last preseason with 4 sacks, 10 tackles, and a forced fumble, but only appeared in one regular season game. Adrian Tracy or “Yosi” (young Osi) got the majority of his snaps in two games last season (Baltimore and San Fran). Looks like he will come into camp as the 3rd DE.
Who’s taking the “Bison Role”?
There were times last year, because of cornerback injuries, that Antrel Rolle needed to slide down to nickle corner. With Kenny gone, Antrel needs to stay at safety with Stevie, so now the Giants need to find that Bison Role. The Bison Role for the Giants first came to fruition with Deon Grant. The player that takes the position has to hit hard enough to bring running backs down but also be quick enough to cover down field. My early pick for the position was Will Hill, a player who loves to hit and has plenty of athleticism. With his suspension however, it seems as though Ryan Mundy may take it. Mundy was a nice under the radar signing this off season and with the suspension of Will Hill, it may be much needed. Another guy that loves to hit needs a little work on his pass defense. Cooper Taylor was the 5th round pick in this years draft. Had a serious heart condition in college that took him out of the game for a little, making him transfer from Georgia Tech to Richmond. At almost 6′-5″ 228 lbs. he is a little big for a safety, small for a linebacker. A great student of the game, Taylor was lauded by safeties coach Dave Merritt for always studying throughout OTAs and mini camp. He will be fighting with Tyler Sash for that last spot, if Will Hill is still on the team. Jacquian Williams, the outside backer is the dark horse for the position and may find a home there if the Giants cannot get him on the field otherwise.
Paysinger, Herzlich, Rivers were the starters in OTA’s but we all know that can change. With Chase Blackburn gone, I feel like the middle is Herzlich’s to lose. Dan Connor was brought in as a free agent, but with Herzlich’s experience in the system, I don’t see the staff giving Connor first shot come training camp. The SAM and WILL or outside backer positions will come down to Williams, Rivers, Curry, and Paysinger. Williams had knee issues last year, but has all the athleticism in the world. He can lock onto the better tight ends in the league making him a great candidate for the Bison Role. Rivers and Curry are former top 10 picks that are trying to live up to the hype. Paysinger has been around for awhile and has been great on special teams. He has a chance this year to get some solid reps at the WILL, or weak side backer, position this year.
Who’s the Bell Cow at RB?
With Bradshaw gone, the Giants have quite the predicament on their hands. Andre Brown had a break out year of sorts last year before he broke his leg. David Wilson was put into the dog house because of a week one fumble and never seemed to fully leave it. Now those two are the leading men in the Giants backfield. The biggest knock on Wilson is his pass protection, but his explosiveness and big play ability are much needed. Andre Brown can bang with the best of them, almost locking him into the goal line carries. The 3 left are Torian, Scott, and Cox. Torian was hurt most of the off season with a hammy, and was brought in last year for depth purposes. Scott is fast, 4.34 40 fast, but has yet to do anything in the league. Cox, the 7th round pick out of UMass has great hands and okay speed.
Who is going to be the starting RT? Diehl is in line for that right now with Pugh and 3rd year player James Brewer close behind. Number 66 has had a pretty tough time the past two years at RT but his veteran experience and leadership will make it hard to unseat him. The line should look like this day one of camp (from LT to RT) Beatty, Boothe, Baas, Snee, Diehl. This group gave up 19 sacks last season, a nice improvement from the 28 in 2011. Age is a factor with most of these guys, and injuries will probably hit them. Diehl can take any of the OL positions besides center, and Pugh can play was drafted mainly for his versatility.
The Giants defense was 31st in the league and a lot of that had to do with the poor play of the secondary. Quarterbacks had a 106.6 rating against Corey Webster making him 3rd worst in the league between players with at least 75% of snaps played. His 330 yards after the catch ranked him 5th worst in that category. Prince Amukamara just needs to stay healthy. He broke his foot his rookie year and missed 3 games in 2012 with leg injuries. Terrell Thomas is back after his third torn ACL, and feels about 90%. Aaron Ross is back from his “vacation” in Jacksonville, and Hosley is going into his second year. I see Prince and Webster as the starting two guys out there, with Prince locked on the number one wideout. The battle will be for the 3rd corner. TT may even be used more as a backup safety because of his knee, so it might come down to just Hosley and Ross for the 3rd corner spot.
Pay attention to the DTs
Giants were 25th against the run last year and put a huge emphasis on getting players in that could help. With Canty in Baltimore the Giants brought in Cullen Jenkins, and Mike Patterson from free agency along with drafting Johnathan Hankins in the 2nd round. Jenkins is a better pass rusher than run stopper. Patterson has experience but had brain surgery and only played 5 games last year. Hankins is a big guy at 6-3 320 but may weigh even more. They also have Linval Joseph, Rogers, Kuhn, and Austin. Joseph and Jenkins will be the starters going in, interested to see how it all shakes out.
Giants brought in Brandon Myers from Oakland. He is not a typical Giants TE with the lack of blocking ability, but can definitely catch the ball. Pascoe was lined up to start opposite Myers in two TE sets, but with Hynoski going down with a torn MCL, Pascoe will be taking reps at FB. This opens the door for the JPP of tight ends, Adrien Robinson. Robinson has been a project, and missed OTA’s and mini camp last year due to late graduation. With the lack of practice he was only active for 2 games with 2 offensive snaps all season. He should get plenty of reps in training camp. Chase Clement from LSU reminds TE coach Mike Pope of Jake Ballard. He’s 6-5 with a solid ability to block down near the goal line.
The Giants have many players that need to prove their worth during training camp and preseason. What will you, the readers, be looking for during camp and preseason games? Comment below!