We’ve made it folks. Football is officially back starting tomorrow. The 53-man roster is officially set, and this is the squad the 2019 New York Football Giants are rolling with. Sure, this Giants roster has it’s fair share of holes but, in what should be considered Year Two of a Three-Year Rebuild Plan (hopefully), I like the shape this team is in.
Many Giant fans will disagree with that last sentence. There are still many Big Blue fans that have a Glass Half-Empty view (more on that later) of this roster and organization. I am not here to say those guys are wrong, but let your boy Mr. Glass-Half-Full talk you off the cliff a bit.
What I want to say to those people, is that this season should not be defined by wins and losses (although we should 100% be shooting for more Wins than last year). What will define this season are four P’s. Progress, Patience, Potential, and Pride. It’s your basic Four P’s Principle. Standard stuff really. The goal for this Giants team is to learn how to win again in 2019 and have this young core grow together heading into 2020. One more solid draft and plenty of cap space moving forward should set the Giants up nicely for 2020 and beyond.
Make no mistake about it, the Giants let some serious talent walk out of their door this past offseason. For one reason or another, Mr. Gettleman, Mr. Mara, and Coach Shurmur did not see players like Odell Beckham Jr. (pain in the ass), Olivier Vernon (injury-prone; overpaid), Damon Harrison (overpaid; getting older), and Landon Collins (faux-leader that eventually was going to get overpaid) as part of the Giants future. Dave Gettleman and Pat Shurmur’s plan (yes, despite widespread belief of the contrary, they do have a plan) was to get younger and build a winning “football-only” team culture. You are starting to see the fruits of that labor. They want to restore Giants Pride. That is something that has gotten lost since Tom Coughlin’s retirement.
The New York Giants are building a young nucleus through the draft. That, my friends, is how you build a successful winner in the NFL. Getty and Co. have drafted 7 starting-caliber players (I use “starting-caliber” as the baseline for good players) in the last 2 drafts (Barkley, Hernandez, Carter, Hill, Jones, Lawrence, and Baker) to go along with 6 depth players that will play key roles in the 2019 season and beyond (McIntosh, Ximines, Love, Connelly, D. Slayton and Ballentine). Some of those latter mentioned players have the potential to become more than just depth. For the non-mathematicians out there (read: me), that is 13 players in the past TWO drafts that will be contributing to the 2019 Giants in some shape or form. A good average would be finding 3-4 contributing players per draft. Getty is doing a great job building this core the right way by adding good, cheap talent.
The Potential is there for this offense to be good. With a rebuilt offensive line that does not have any MAJOR weaknesses, Eli Manning will be provided time to find Evan Engram, Sterling Shepard, and Golden Tate (once he’s done getting punished for trying to make babies; fertilization drugs) down the field. Imagine seeing what Barkley did last year with a bad offensive line and not being ridiculously hyped to see what he can do in Year Two. I have said it before and I will say it again…..Barkley is THE best running back in the league already in Year Two and we are going to see that man SHINE this year. This is also a huge year for Evan Engram to put all his drops and injuries behind him and show the fuck out.
I know there are a bunch of Eli haters out there right now. With his level of play the last few years, some of it has been warranted. Daniel Jones has looked amazing this preseason, and ultimately, I hope he takes the reigns from Eli at some point this year (if Eli is under-performing) or next year and becomes our next franchise Quarterback for the next 10+. With all that said, I hope Easy E goes out with a damn BANG. Eli Manning is a Prideful sonna bitch and he hears all the shit talkin’. Believe that. I can promise you that he wants to stick it to everyone out there saying he is one of the worst Quarterbacks in the league. He wants to leave this thing on a high note. I am rooting like hell for him to make it happen and for the first time in about 8-9 years, he has a viable offensive line to give him a shot at it. You can also bet that the DJ drafting has lit a fire under his ass.
You know what the team does have if Eli falters? A Potential franchise quarterback in waiting with Daniel Jones. DJ literally lit every draft analyst’s world on fire when he was slingin’ the ball all over the yard this preseason. I am not sitting here anointing him as the next big thing, and I did talk shit on the pick when it happened (more because I wanted Josh Allen at #6, not because I didn’t want DJ), but your boy has come full circle since being able to watch this dude perform with actual talent around him. If things go south this season, us Giant fans will at least take solace in being able to get a glimpse of the future with DJ. When real bullets are flying against opposing starters, we can see whether DJ’s preseason was for real, or if it was manipulated by the coaching staff to make him look good(as some pundits are saying because they are afraid to admit they may have been dead wrong and are grasping at straws to find any remaining excuse they can).
For real though, that is a legit excuse that is being used. That and digging up every statistic ever on QB’s that had great preseasons that turned out to be terrible in the regular season.
The defense has some major question marks and, with one of the youngest secondaries in the league (aside from old man Bethea), we are going to see some mistakes that will make us want to pull our hair out. On the other hand, I couldn’t be more excited to see the Progress and Potential this group has. Baker and Ballentine have all the makings of the future starting duo at Cornerback for the next 4-5 years. Jabrill Peppers, if he builds off of the Progress he made in Year Two of his NFL career last year, has the Potential to make us all forget about Landon Collins. Peppers and Baker will also bring a certain swagger back to this defense that has been missing for quite some time.
It will be up to our young pass-rushers Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines, both 3rd-Round picks from the last two drafts, to carry this pass rush. If that goes south, and Markus Golden doesn’t regain his 12-sack form from three years ago, its going to be a LONG season for this Giant defense. Put me down as a huge fan of Dexter Lawrence though. I want to see that young man dominate in the middle and become a better version of Snacks. At 6’4″ 340, he is a monster that can control the line of scrimmage. The Potential is immense with DLaw.
In the end, we as Giant fans are going to need to practice Patience with this defense. If the unit comes together quickly and James Bettcher dials up enough pressure to get to the Quarterback, this team has the ability to surprise people. The offense can be good enough to put up points and move the ball, especially once Golden Tate returns from suspension Week Five.
This team genuinely seems to like each other and loves to play football. I am excited about the youth and Potential this team possesses on both sides of the ball, and I do truly feel like they are trending in the right direction.
Just one last thing though. For the love of God, please just let the QB situation play out. Trust that Shurmur and Gettleman NEED to show some progress this year, and if it is going south with Eli, they are going to make the switch as early as possible. If I had to guess, they are going to give Eli until Week 6. Start DJ Week 7 at home through the rest of the season and let Eli get a Week 17 start for his last hurrah. Nothing buys more time for a GM or Head Coach like starting a new Quarterback that you recently drafted.
Mr. Glass-Half-Full Prediction Time:
A lot hinges on the first four weeks of the season. This is, relatively speaking, the easiest part of the New York Giants schedule, but, they are also going to be playing said four games without Golden Tate. If this team wants to have any shot of finishing around .500 or better, they will need to win at least 2 of those first 4 games against the Cowboys, Bills, Bucs and Redskins.
Ideally, they go 3-1 in that stretch and set themselves up nicely, because the next 2 games are against the Vikings and Patriots. This takes us to our first milestone at Week 7. If Eli is showing that he is no better than last year with an improved offensive line, Week 7 is where Coach Shurm could make the switch to Daniel Jones, because it is a home game against one of the worst teams in the league in the Arizona Cardinals.
I have the team at 4-3 at that point with the Lions, Cowboys and Jets (away game) up next before the Bye Week. This team is capable of going 2-1 during that stretch, which puts them at 6-4 through 10 weeks. Not a bad start.
The backend of the schedule is where things get REALLY tough.
If I was thinking with my brain here, I would say that this team PROBABLY goes 2-4 in the final 6 weeks and finishes up at 8-8. In my mind, that is still a very respectable record and would show overall team Progress, especially if Daniel Jones shows well.
If I was thinking with my HEART, I’d say the Giants win the Dolphins and Redskin games and then go into the final week of the season playing an Eagle team that would be resting their starters. Being at home, the Giants win that game end up with 9 wins. That would get them in the Wild Card conversation in the NFC while also finishing over .500.
Personally, if this team wins anywhere between 7-9 wins, we get to see Daniel Jones do some good things on the field, and see Progress (there’s that word again) from our young defense, I will be happy. I would consider that season a success and something to build off of heading into the all-important third and final year of The Rebuild.
Final Record Prediction: 9-7
Go Big Blue
P.S. We will have a little something for our Glass-Half-Empty crowd coming before week’s end. I am a man of the people and I believe both sides should be properly represented! For all you Negative Nancies out there (and there are many of you), my dear friend Mr. Glass-Half-Empty is going to preach a bit and give his take on this current squad and give some predictions of his own. Stay tuned!