Welcome Dolphins, here comes Ben McAdoo and the New York Giants!
Surely a fair amount of Giants’ fans are excited for the return of NFL football on Friday, as Big Blue takes on the Miami Dolphins. Both squads introduce brand new, young head coaches to the NFL in this game. As most everyone knows, the G-Men hired their offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo this off season, while the ‘Phins brought in Adam Gase to right the ship.
Here are five key things to look for from the New York Giants:
Yes, it is his first official game as head coach on the sidelines, but McAdoo has been a cool customer since getting the coordinator job three seasons ago. I don’t envision any major differences in McAdoo’s demeanor, but I will be watching to see how McAdoo spreads himself across the entire squad throughout the game. Will he go from a teaching role to more of a delegation role? The biggest takeaway becomes who calls the offensive plays, McAdoo or offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan?
USA Today reported on Aug. 8, 2016 that this decision will be McAdoo’s the coach’s first major commitment in his new role. “McAdoo, the team’s former offensive coordinator, was promoted this off season and has been purposefully tight-lipped on revealing who will call plays for the Giants offense this season. It will either be him or offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan.”
I’m betting that McAdoo learns from his old boss Mike McCarthy of the Green Bay Packers and calls the plays this season.
More to come on this one…
Andre Williams vs. Orleans Darkwa:
If you are fortunate enough to be one of general manager Jerry Reese’s draft picks, you really have to work hard to get cut. Yes, I am looking at you Adrien Robinson, Jerrel Jernigan and Jayron Hosley. James Kratch of NJ Advance Media thinks that Andre Williams will make the squad over Orleans Darkwa at running back in a projection released on Aug. 8, 2016. “I know it sounds silly but here’s the thing: I don’t think they give up on Williams,” Kratch wrote.
Kratch predicts that Big Blue will keep four running backs, and Rashad Jennings, Shane Vereen and Paul Perkins appear to be locks to make the squad. If Darkwa outperforms Williams in the backfield, and he continues to contribute on special teams, then what would the case be for keeping Williams?
Eli Apple’s role presents another case where fans should trust their eyes, instead of what they are being told. (Where have I said that before?) Yes, having too many cornerbacks is a good thing in today’s NFL, but the tenth overall selection should be more than the first back-up. If the Giants stubbornly move Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to the slot to get Eli Apple onto the field, then Apple better remind us of Mark Collins or Jason Sehorn, rather than Jayron Hosley.
“The slot rotation the Giants insist is occurring isn’t visible during team drills. Jenkins and Apple take zero snaps at that position.”
Jordan Raanan, ESPN
Jordan Raanan of ESPN followed the first-rounder’s progress one day during practice on Aug. 5, 2016. Here’s what he saw:
11:34 a.m.: The Giants are running a dime defense. Apple, Janoris Jenkins, Rodgers-Cromartie and first-team slot cornerback Trevin Wade are on the field together. Rodgers-Cromartie and Wade are in the slot. Apple is on the outside. This doesn’t change for the final three snaps of this drill, when the four cornerbacks are on the field along with two safeties.
The slot rotation the Giants insist is occurring isn’t visible during team drills. Jenkins and Apple take zero snaps at that position.
With free agent signee Damon Harrison coming off the PUP list, and third-year man Jay Bromley still on there as well, the remaining rotation should get a good look. NJ Advance Media reported on Aug. 8, 2016 that reclamation project Louis Nix is currently third-string on the team’s official “unofficial depth chart”.
Current depth chart shows undrafted free agent Greg Milhouse (Campbell) at second string behind Harrison. I am anxious to see Milhouse in action, as well as Devon Coleman. I would not expect Johnathan Hankins to see more than a series or two as he comes back from a torn pectoral muscle. Montori Hughes played reasonable well down the stretch for the Giants last season, but I also think that, injured or not, Reese’s draft picks usually stick on the roster. At the end of the day, it seems more likely than not that several players (Milhouse, Hughes, Coleman, Nix, Cudjo) are vying for one roster spot.
Based on the depth chart, and head coach Ben McAdoo’s comments, we know that the team is looking for third-round draft pick (Boise State), Darian Thompson, to start at free safety on opening day (Sept. 11).
“[Thompson] stepped in, he knows football, he gets football,” McAdoo said. “He can communicate the game, and it doesn’t seem too big for him. He allows those around him to play fast,” said McAdoo in a statement posted on Giants.com on Aug. 9, 2016.
“He stepped in, he knows football, he gets football.”
Ben McAdoo about Darian Thompson
The wild safety journey has taken the G-Men through the likes of Cooper Taylor, Brandon Meriweather, Stevie Brown, Quintin Demps and Jeromy Miles recently. Meanwhile, Taylor, along with Mykkele Thompson, Nat Berhe and Bennett Jackson, are trying to demonstrate that they are healthy. All of these players have been hurt in training camp or preseason games previously, so this is no small test. In fact, Jackson injured himself twice in preseason games in the past two years alone.
Last season’s holdover, Landon Collins, needs to raise his level of play in order for the defensive unit to thrive. Rookie Andrew Adams and practice squad player Justin Currie round out the rotation at safety.