Be patient, New York Giants fans. All of these offseason moves won’t completely turn this franchise around in just one year.
The offseason can be an exciting time for any NFL franchise, regardless of whether that specific team has found success in recent years. It’s a period where everyone stands with a 0-0 record, looking to fill holes in the roster and possibly the coaching staff and front office ahead of the new season.
It’s arguably the most exciting time of the year for New York Giants fans, and that’s been the case for each of the last few seasons. After the three-win 2017 campaign, fans experienced a level of excitement when the team drafted Saquon Barkley. After the five-win 2018 season, fans may have not been overly excited with the Daniel Jones pick but were optimistic and intrigued by the fact that the organization was entering a new era at the quarterback position.
And then there’s this current offseason, where the team has made a number of different moves after a third consecutive double-digit loss campaign. This includes addressing the offensive line once and for all, putting together a mostly new coaching staff, and making numerous defensive acquisitions through free agency.
But don’t get your hopes up, Giants fans. Despite the team heading in the right direction and improving on paper, not everything is going to fully come together in 2020.
Remember, football is absolutely a team game. Arguably the biggest team game there is. Everything needs to click, every aspect of the organization needs to fire on all cylinders. And right now, there are still some glaring short-term issues with Big Blue.
Sure, the Giants used three of their first five draft picks on the offensive line, ultimately making it a point to fix the position group for the long haul. But the key phrase in the aforementioned sentence is “long haul.” It won’t be entirely fixed in this upcoming season, as first-round draft pick Andrew Thomas may be the only newcomer in the starting lineup. Third-round tackle Matt Peart is a developmental lineman and so is fifth-round guard Shane Lemieux, who may eventually be the team’s center for the future.
The Giants (hopefully) have the long-term pieces in place when it comes to Dave Gettleman’s “hog mollies,” but that in no way means it will all come together this upcoming season. The struggling Nate Solder will still likely be in the starting lineup at one of the two tackle spots and the short-term answer at the center position additionally remains unknown. Along with Lemieux, the Giants possess the inconsistent Spencer Pulley (56.7 Pro Football Focus grade in 2018, 48.7 PFF grade in 2019) and Nick Gates (who isn’t primarily a center) as options.
Center Jon Halapio could return to the team, but his future is unclear after tearing his Achilles in Week 17 of last season.
So the short-term status of the offensive line is certainly raising question marks, but that’s not the only issue. The receiving corps is still missing a significant piece as well. Former Giant Amani Toomer believes the group is “lacking,” and he’s not necessarily wrong.
Darius Slayton is a great down-field threat, Sterling Shepard is a productive possession receiver (when healthy), and Golden Tate has his moments. But New York is still without a tall receiver that Jones could rely on near the goal line. The Giants did sign the 6-foot-7 Rysen John as an undrafted free agent, but it’s unknown whether he’ll even make the active roster ahead of the regular season. Plus, he’s more of a tight end anyway.
And finally, the pass-rushing issue? Yeah, that’s still not entirely fixed either.
The Giants did indeed place the unrestricted free agent tender on Markus Golden, their sack leader from a year ago. So if he doesn’t sign elsewhere by July 22, he’ll be a Giant in 2020 via a cheap deal. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the pass rush will improve at all from 2019. His 10 sacks last year only led to 36 total for the entire team (22nd in the league).
New York added outside linebacker Kyler Fackrell via a one-year deal, but he’s additionally portrayed inconsistencies. After racking up 10.5 sacks with Green Bay in 2018, Fackrell recorded just one last year.
The Giants needed to add a consistently talented edge rusher through the draft or free agency. Maybe the Golden-Fackrell-Lorenzo Carter-Oshane Ximines-Carter Coughlin unit could work in the long run, but 2020 may be another season comprising of struggles in that department.
Don’t get me wrong, the Giants definitely possess some beneficial long-term pieces that will help turn the franchise around…eventually. But I believe it will take more than one season for everything to click.
Expect somewhat of an improvement in 2020 with a new head coach at the helm, but not one that’s significant enough to turn Big Blue into a playoff ballclub. Going from four to seven wins would be beneficial. However, the 2021 campaign — at the earliest — could be when the Giants’ return to January football ultimately occurs.