2. Healthy Offensive Weapons
Last season, it seemed as though Daniel Jones had a constantly changing group of offensive weapons at his disposal, never having the entire talented group available at the same time. Injuries ravaged the Giants’ offensive unit with their entire wide receiving group, tight end group, and running back group missing time with injuries last season.
Saquon Barkley would miss three games due to a high ankle sprain. Despite returning earlier than expected from the injury, he clearly was not as explosive as he was in his rookie season and was utilized much less in the passing game.
Top wide receivers Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate III also missed multiple games last season. Shepard would miss six games due to concussion issues, while Tate would miss six due to a PED suspension and injury. Corey Coleman would miss the entire season due to injury. As a result, Darius Slayton was forced into action as a rookie and developed an excellent rapport with Jones starting at quarterback, amassing 48 receptions for 740 yards and eight touchdowns as a rookie.
At tight end, Evan Engram missed all or parts of 10 games on the season due to injury. Engram would have a big game in the first NFL start by Jones against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, catching six passes for 113 yards and a touchdown. However, he would be held to a total of just 140 yards in the five other games that he played in the remainder of the year.
Much like Darius Slayton, Kaden Smith would also develop a rapport with Jones after being signed by the Giants in Week 6 and being pressed into the starting lineup in Week 11. Jones would connect with Smith for 221 yards and three touchdowns in their limited time together, providing optimism for the future.
The Law of Probability would suggest that it is unlikely that the Giants offensive unit will have to deal with as many injuries in 2020 as it did in 2019. If Daniel Jones can benefit from having the continuity of a healthy offensive unit around him this season, there is reason to believe that he could put up even bigger numbers than he did with a unit that was often void of multiple star players.
With a healthy Saquon Barkley out of the backfield on play-action and screen plays, Shepard and Tate available across the middle, Slayton on the outside as a vertical option, and Engram and Smith making plays at the tight end position, the Giants look to have extremely talented weapons for Jones to utilize next year.
If the group is able to be on the field for one game together next season, it will represent one more game played together as a unit than last season.
A return to form from some or all of these extremely talented players would give the Daniel Jones led offense a significant boost over last season. Offering another reason to be highly optimistic about the young quarterback’s progression heading into year two.