Who the hell knows.
I am half-joking when I say that, but seriously, there are too many “If’s” to count. When you have a young team that has been rebuilding like the New York Giants have, you are hoping for the youth to naturally develop with the coaching being given to them. The problem with that idea is that it leaves too much to the unknown. Fans and analysts hate that and given where this team has been for the last 5 years, I do not blame them for ranking the Giants as one of the worst in the league.
Speaking of unknowns, one of the biggest unknowns is how the Giants’ injury-prone players are going to fair in 2021. The list is EXTENSIVE. Let’s take a look at the Walking Wounded.
Saquon Barkley – High-Ankle Sprain in ’19; ACL/MCL tear in ’20 (missed final 14 games and all of Training Camp/Preseason)
Kenny Golladay – Consistent Hammy issues his entire career (missed all of Training Camp/Preseason); Hip Sprain in ’20
Kyle Rudolph – Coming off foot surgery.
Daniel Jones – Missed 2+ games in each of his first two seasons.
Adoree Jackson – Played in only 14 games the past two years due to foot/ankle issues (missed time this preseason with another foot/ankle issue).
Evan Engram – Missed 14 games over his first four years with various injuries; Injured again this preseason (Week One status already in doubt).
Sterling Shepard – Missed 15 games over his first five years, including 4 games last year; Concerning concussion history
Honorable Mention: Oshane Ximines, Lorenzo Carter, Darius Slayton, John Ross
I say all that to say, I can see where the skepticism comes from. Add in the general disdain for Offensive Coordinator Jason Garrett (aka The Clapper), and a ton of question marks all along the Offensive Line, and you get the picture of why people are down on the Giants yet again.
Well, this is why you come to read my articles people. I’m not here to feed you the shit you hear from the rest of the people on Twitter and ESPN. Take your negative/realistic bullshit elsewhere. I’m not having it!
I am here to tell you that your 2021 New York Giants will improve. Now, you may be wary because I am a Glass-Half-Full kinda guy that put out a prediction last year that the Giants would go to 8-8. I stick by my predictions though, and I do not feel like the team was far off from 8 wins in 2020. Now, with a full season under Coach Judge’s belt, a normal-ish offseason, Training Camp, and Preseason, an easier schedule, and an improved roster, I am expecting bigger things.
This unit will not skip a beat. The Giants have added a bonafide #2 Cornerback in Adoree Jackson and a full season of Xavier McKinney to an already good secondary. They are getting a healthy Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines back and added Azeez Ojulari (2nd Round pick; arguably best Edge in the Draft) to a depleted Edge position, which will only help a pass rush that somehow recorded 40 sacks in 2021 (Patrick Graham is a genius).
The defense returns the rest of their starters (minus Dalvin Tomlinson) to a unit that finished 9th in Points Against in 2020 and 12th in Points allowed. Year Two of Patrick Graham, with players having a better understanding of his system and the addition of guys that fit his style, should be fun to watch. This unit is the strongest part of the Giants team and will be the reason why they are will be in most games with a chance to win in the 4th Quarter. With an elite secondary, the unit can be a Top 10 unit without a doubt, with a peak of Top 5.
You can reserve most, if not all of your question marks, for this side of the ball. Can Saquon Barkley stay healthy for only the second time in four seasons and prove he can carry a team to victories like a #2 overall pick should? Can Andrew Thomas bounce back from a bad rookie season and prove he can be an above-average Left Tackle in the NFL? Can the Offensive Line come together to become a Top 20 unit (Aim small, miss small. Am I right?)? Can The Clapper, Jason Garrett, improve his simple-ass scheme and step into the modern age to help this offense succeed?
It’s enough questions to make your head spin. I didn’t even mention Kenny Golladay, the Giants biggest offseason acquisition, who was brought over to be Daniel Jones’ version of what Plaxico Burress was to Eli Manning. I didn’t mention Kadarius Toney, who was brought in to be a dynamic weapon for Jones that could score on any touch. Both players have missed all of the preseason along with Barkley.
The biggest question mark of all is the Offensive Line (duh). This offense cannot function if the OL unit cannot be serviceable. I swear if Offensive Line coaches Rob Sale and Pat Flaherty can’t mold this unit into one that won’t destroy the offense, I will have lost all hope. A lot of this comes down to Andrew Thomas. If he becomes another in a long line of Offensive Lineman busts the Giants have selected in the past decade, the season is screwed and Gettleman should be fired. The combo of Peart and Solder needs to produce SOMETHING or else Daniel Jones is going to get killed back there.
The Giants improve their depth up the middle last week. That, along with the good play of Will Hernandez and Nick Gates has me way less worried about the interior of the line than the exterior. If Sale and Flaherty can work their magic and make this line serviceable, I do think this offense has the talent to become a Top 15 unit.
With this being the second year of the Joe Judge Era, I do believe the coaching staff will improve as well. They now have more of the types of players they want to run their systems. There is a better understanding of said systems in 2021, and Joe Judge is more comfortable being the head honcho and everything that it entails.
Lots of jobs are on the line in the 2021 season. If things go south, we could see a pretty big shake-up to the foundation of this team. Will Daniel Jones and the Offensive Line do enough to stick around in 2022? If they fail, Dave Gettleman will be fired, and that means there is no allegiance to a lot of players that were drafted in the last four years. Yes, that includes Saquon Barkley. So, it’s nut up or shut up time boys. Let’s see what you got!
Mr. Glass-Half-Full’s 2021 Prediction:
Our motto at nygiantsrush.com is #10winsthefloor. That should be the goal. The goal and my prediction are not too far off.
I have listed all of the reasons why I expect Year Two of the Joe Judge Era to be better than Year One. Couple in an easier schedule and a weak division, I am going on record with a prediction of 9-8 for the 2021 New York Giants.
You would like to see better than a 3-3 record within the division, so that is your avenue to that 10th win. It’s right there in front of them if they want to take it. It is time to make the big jump to playoff contention or this rebuild will all be for naught. The Giants went all-in this offseason. MAKE IT COUNT!