The New York Giants will open camp in two weeks, and there will be several things to keep an eye on once they step on the practice field.
General manager Dave Gettleman made huge changes to the roster that he hopes will lead to success in 2019 and beyond.
Only time will tell if the moves Gettleman made this offseason will pay off. He and the coaching staff will have to make some tough decisions when putting together the final 53-man roster after their final preseason game.
But there will be several things to take note of when the Giants step onto the practice field on the first day of training camp.
1. Is Daniel Jones already No. 2 on the depth chart?
But where will Jones land on the depth chart?
We’ll see when the second-team offense takes the practice field if Jones has already supplanted backup quarterbacks Alex Tanney and Kyle Lauletta. If he has, it means that he impressed Shurmur and the rest of the coaching staff during rookie camp and OTAs. It also means he’s poised to see significant playing time in the Giants first preseason game against the New York Jets on Aug. 8.
This would also add some validity to Shurmur’s claim that it’s not a lock that Manning is guaranteed to be the Week 1 starter. This would then lead to the fact that he and Jones are in a quarterback competition.
If Jones isn’t No. 2 at the start of camp, then we can put the myth to bed that Jones has any chance of being the Week 1 starter, barring an injury to Manning.
2. Is Nate Solder ready to practice?
However, there’s one question hovering around this unit, and that’s if Nate Solder is ready to practice after having offseason arthroscopic ankle surgery. Solder had a slow start to the 2018 season, so you know he’ll do all he can to be out on the field the first day of practice. He’s going to do everything in his power to avoid another slow start.
In addition, the offensive line needs to work as a cohesive unit, and with two new starters to the line, it’s important that Solder is ready at the start of camp.
3. Are Grant Haley and Julian Love splitting time at nickel corner?
There will be several intriguing position battles, but none might be as tight and competitive as the one for the starting nickel corner. Grant Haley, who was the starter for the bulk of last season, and was given the highest cover grade for any Giant defensive back by Pro Football Focus last season, will likely open camp as the starter. Haley is poised to have an even better season than he had in 2018.
But Haley will be pushed by rookie Julian Love, who many feel the Giants got the steal in the draft by selecting him in the fourth round at No. 108 overall. Love was considered one of the most talented and versatile cornerbacks in the draft.
With these two talented corners, don’t be surprised if defensive coordinator James Bettcher has them each taking reps with the first-team defense throughout camp.
4. Who will be Saquon Barkley’s backup?
Everyone knows the Giants offense will run through Saquon Barkley this season. This is why many have him as the consensus No. 1 pick in fantasy football, and why many feel he will win his first rushing title.
But the Giants don’t want to run Saquon into the ground. They’ll need to manage his workload early in games to ensure that he’s still fresh in the fourth quarter of games. Therefore, whoever will be his primary backup will have a huge role with the team.
Wayne Gallman, Rod Smith, and Paul Perkins will all be vying to be Barkley’s backup. Whoever sits at No. 2 on the depth chart at the start of camp will probably have the inside track on winning the job.