Robert Saleh
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN isn’t high on the Giants or Jets this year. Or at all, really.

The locals are well down the board in ESPN’s projected three-year NFL power rankings. The Jets are No. 21, despite the optimism surrounding them, while the Giants are 29th. The rankings factor “each team’s quarterback situation, remaining (non-QB) roster, drafting ability, front office and coaching.”

The big picture take on the Jets:

The Jets arguably have done as well as any team when it comes to offseason additions, but I still wonder if (head coach Robert) Saleh and his staff are the right coaching crew to extract maximum return out of this roster, and whether (quarterback Zach) Wilson is the right QB in this city and division. He needs to show he was worthy of being the second pick of the 2021 draft. If management got it wrong in those two areas, struggles will continue in New York.

General manager Joe Douglas put on a show this offseason. He added left guard Laken Tomlinson, cornerback D.J. Reed, and safety Jordan Whitehead via free agency. He then drafted corner Sauce Gardner, wide receiver Garrett Wilson and defensive end Jermaine Johnson in the first round in April. But the team’s success will all come down to the coach-quarterback tandem, which is entering its second season. The Jets can improve just as much as they can regress.

If Saleh proves to be a legitimate NFL head coach instead of just a defensive guru, the Jets will take a step forward. The same will occur if Wilson efficiently develops with an improved supporting cast.

Douglas acquired assistance for the coach he hired and the quarterback he drafted. It’s now up to Saleh and Wilson to take advantage of that assistance week-in and week-out.

As for the Giants:

There is deserved optimism about the leadership of GM Joe Schoen and coach Brian Daboll for the Giants, but they take over an organization in need of major repair. Perhaps no team had a worse cap situation at the start of this offseason (the Falcons and Bears are also in this mix), so the first step in progress is going to be undoing some prior errors. Additionally, QB Daniel Jones is in a now-or-never season after the team declined his fifth-year option. But two top-seven picks this year and a healthier cap outlook going forward bode well.

Schoen and Daboll will get a pass this year. Any intelligent Giants fan knows they walked into a disastrous situation constructed by Dave Gettleman’s costly blunders. Schoen did what he could with the minimal cap space he possessed and the draft picks he owned, and luckily he’ll have a much better cap situation in the future.

The Giants additionally have some young defensive pieces who could become staples. Azeez Ojulari and Kayvon Thibodeaux have the potential to create a dominant pass-rushing tandem while McKinney must be a leader in a rather inexperienced secondary.

But it’s all going to come down to the quarterback situation. Jones won’t be sticking around in 2023 unless he drastically improves and the Giants win games. If only one of those two scenarios occurs, he’ll likely be replaced with a veteran bridge option (possibly Tyrod Taylor) or a future draft pick.

If Jones wishes to continue his Giants tenure past 2022, all must go right in East Rutherford. Or the team could be staring down additional years of lackluster quarterback play.

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Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.