Nov 30, 2014; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Roy Miller (97) and defensive end Tyson Alualu (93) sack New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) in the fourth quarter at EverBank Field. The Jaguars won 25-24. Mandatory Credit: Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports
Fans tend to see a few similar themes every year at Giants Training Camp. Everyone’s hot. A veteran holds out. And some superstar gets in a fight. We usually see some variation of these by the end of camp. But maybe the biggest thing we see at this time of year: concerns that won’t carry over into the regular season.
Yes, every team heads into Training Camp with question marks. Some, big question marks. I’d say the Giants’ offensive line and safety position are big question marks. And Jason Pierre-Paul coming back: big question mark. However, some things at this time of year that seem like a big deal, well, really aren’t. And fans may interpret story lines one way when, really, they don’t mean what we think they mean. It’s natural to sometimes overreact and overanalyze as fans. That’s why we’re fans, right?
Below I listed some of the things we may hear about this Training Camp that will concern you—but they will be OK once the regular season begins.
Next: 1. Eli Manning Is Having A Bad Camp
Nov 9, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) walks back to the locker room following a 38-17 Seattle Seahawks victory at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
1. Eli Manning Is Having A Bad Camp
The last couple of seasons Eli’s performed pretty well at camp, but this is the story we’ve heard throughout his career. He’s missing targets. His arm strength is diminished. He’s struggling to throw the ball downfield.
Heading into 2012, everyone reported this. And you know what? They weren’t wrong–not at all. But when you’re entering your 12th season in the NFL, your leash is a little bit longer. If Eli stumbles out of the gate, or performs poorly during the preseason, don’t panic. Really, don’t. He’ll be fine.
Next: Ryan Nassib Is Having A Good Camp
Aug 22, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Ryan Nassib (9) readies a pass during the third quarter against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. New York Giants won 35-24. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
2. Ryan Nassib Is Playing Really Well This Preseason
There’s nothing more preseason-esque than hyping up the backup quarterback.
Don’t get me wrong–I want to see him do really, really well. I want Nassib to so well that the Giants to have to consider him as a future successor to Eli Manning–it’d be great to have that player on the roster when the Giants one day have to cross that bridge.
But they’re not crossing that bridge right now. And while Nassib may perform well this preseason, he’ll likely be doing it agains the two’s and three’s. And while he may look like an NFL starter at points this preseason, it doesn’t mean he’ll be starting over Eli Manning this year unless Manning totally flops. And I mean totally flops. Or gets hurt.
Really, I think most fans know Nassib won’t overthrow Manning this year. But we’re Giants fans. And we all know that guy. You know, that Giants fan who’s forever had hate in his heart for Eli Manning. They think guys like Nassib should start ahead of him just because.
Pay attention to Nassib this preseason. He may one day start for the Giants. But don’t think just because he plays well this preseason means he’ll be their stater come November. Realistically, that would depend on Eli’s performance and health, not Nassib’s.
Next: The Defense Is Struggling This Preseason
Jun 16, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants safety Landon Collins (21) participates in practice during minicamp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Steven Ryan-USA TODAY Sports
3. The Defense Is Struggling This Preseason
Well, of course they are. They struggled the first time Steve Spagnuolo took over in 2007. And those struggles bled into the first two games of the regular season. But they figured it out, and won a Super Bowl. A Super Bowl would be nice, but even if they don’t get that, I expect them to figure it out under Spagnuolo this time around.
I think some fans are expecting the Giants D to come out like gangbusters because Spags is back. I know I feel like they will, and should. But this is an entirely different personnel that Spags is working with. Different team leaders. Different levels of talent. And also, the NFL has evolved! The NFL in 2015 is not the same NFL as in 2007. Spags will not run the same exact defense as he did from 2007-09. He’ll work with what he has.
Speaking of which, if the defense is without Pierre-Paul that could really change the way they run things. So if they struggle a little in the beginning, don’t read into it like Spags is the wrong hire. Be patient, because Giants fans have seen how good this guy really is.
Next: Odell Beckham Jr. Is The Best Player On The Field
Dec 28, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham (13) gets past Philadelphia Eagles free safety Malcolm Jenkins (27) to score a touchdown during the game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
4. Odell Beckham Jr. Is The Best Player On The Field
I’m not saying this as to suggest that Beckham Jr. is going to take a step back this season. I’m going in the opposite direction here. I’m saying this because if he isn’t the best player on the field, I’d be concerned. And if you’re not reading this headline, that should make you wary.
I don’t want to put this much pressure on Beckham Jr., but I’m going to: the Giants need him to be the best player on the field. There’s no need to get too deep into what he brings to the offense: his presence alone makes the Giants one of the more dynamic offenses in the entire league.
All we know is the Giants really, really need Beckham Jr. to play at that elite level he played at last year. If he doesn’t, that’s a call for concern.
Next: Is Corey Washington The Next Victor Cruz?
Nov 3, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Corey Washington (88) makes touchdown reception during the second half against Indianapolis Colts free safety Josh Gordy (27) at MetLife Stadium. Indianapolis Colts defeat the New York Giants 40-24. Mandatory Credit: Jim O
5. Is Corey Washington The Next Victor Cruz?
I will say this: this is absolutely no knock on Corey Washington. He may one day be an effective NFL receiver. But no matter how much he dominates the two’s and three’s this preseason, even the one’s, he has such a long way to go before he’s Victor Cruz.
Remember what Cruz has accomplished so far: He’s a single-season 1,500 yard receiver, a Super Bowl
champ, and a team captain. All done as an undrafted free agent. That, all the more impressive when you consider all the preseason darlings who never play a snap in the NFL. Cruz doesn’t get the credit he deserves sometimes, in my opinion, but we can save that discussion for a different time…
Washington has the tools and hopefully the work ethic to make an NFL career for himself. I haven’t bought into him yet, but I root for him, and I do believe he could do it. But don’t go so far to say he’s the next Victor Cruz. He has a long way to go.