Despite having the worst record in the NFL over the last three seasons, there are reasons to be optimistic about the New York Giants.
In about six weeks, the New York Giants and the rest of the NFL’s 32 teams will (hopefully) report to training camp. The annual period will certainly look different this season as teams will be taking precautions and practicing social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As training camp nears, there’s not much optimism outside of the Giants organization in regards to the 2020 campaign. You can’t fault people for thinking that the Giants will undergo their fourth consecutive losing season. After all, their 12-36 record over the last three years is the worst in the NFL.
Nonetheless, new head coach Joe Judge has brought new energy to the team that he and ownership are hoping will translate to wins on the field. The Giants sport a young and talented roster and could be better in 2020 than most think.
Here are the top three reasons to be optimistic about the Giants heading into training camp.
1. Joe Judge has to be an upgrade over Pat Shurmur
Despite not having any head coaching experience, you’d figure Judge will be an upgrade over Pat Shurmur. Many were immediately questioning the hiring of Shurmur considering he, at the time, had a head coaching record of 10-23.
As we all know, Shurmur’s tenure with the Giants was a disaster. Poor in-game decisions ultimately led to Big Blue winning just nine games in his two seasons.
Judge has a daunting task ahead of him as he attempts to prepare his players without the benefit of rookie camp, OTAs, and minicamp. But since he’s coached under legends Nick Saban and Bill Belichick, he’ll fare better than Shurmur. It’s also a benefit for Judge that he possesses Jason Garrett on his staff, considering he coached in the division with the Cowboys from 2007-19.
Judge will make his fair share of rookie mistakes. Nonetheless, he’ll help construct a better culture than the one Shurmur built.
2. Andrew Thomas and Xavier McKinney
With their first pair of draft picks, the Giants selected arguably the two best players at their respective positions in offensive tackle Andrew Thomas and safety Xavier McKinney.
Thomas was the only unanimous All-American tackle taken in the draft and the most NFL-ready tackle as well. Given the fact that there was no rookie camp, OTAs, and minicamp, having a first-year player who can come in and be an immediate starter is invaluable.
As of right now, we don’t know if Thomas will play left or right tackle. But if he can perform the way he did at Georgia, he’ll solidify one of those two spots.
McKinney was viewed as arguably the top safety in this year’s draft class. The Giants acquiring him with the No. 36 overall pick appears to be one of the steals of the offseason.
The free safety position has been an issue over the last two seasons with Curtis Riley in 2018 and Antoine Bethea last year. McKinney will be the dynamic playmaker they’ve needed at that spot and will likely be starting next to Jabrill Peppers when training camp opens.
3. Daniel Jones enters camp as the starter
Daniel Jones didn’t have extensive time to work with the first-team offense until he earned the starting job ahead of Week 3 last year. This season, he enters camp as the starter and can quickly get back in sync with his receivers.
Aside from his turnover issues, Jones played well in 2019. He portrayed pinpoint accuracy and developed a rapport with all of his pass-catchers. Now, Jones will receive the majority of the first-team reps at the start of camp as opposed to the middle of September. This will ultimately benefit him and the rest of the offense.