Written by Ali Jawad
With all significant off-season events in the books. Several teams are hoping their new acquisitions will be enough to show improvement and, for some, elevate them up to contenders. One team looking for positive signs of growth this season will be the New York Football Giants. In what seemed to be a great off-season for the G-Men, they would address several holes on their roster through the draft and free agency, as well as shake things up on the coaching side. Let’s take a look at the top five moves made by the Giants this off-season.
Honorable Mention Hiring Jason Garrett as Offensive Coordinator
Cowboys fans are happy to see Jason Garrett is no longer the head coach. Giants fans should be glad to see him as OC. It’s no secret Garrett’s offense in Dallas the last half-decade was one of the more consistent offenses in the league. Last season Dallas ranked first in yards, and sixth in points scored. I also see this as a big win for Daniel Jones. Garrett deserves credit for the way he developed Dak Prescott, who was a 4th round selection into a Pro Bowl QB. Jones offers a wide variety of skills for Garrett to work with, from his ball placement to football IQ and his athleticism. Cleaning up the fumbles will be Garrett’s most significant task with Jones. Still, after an impressive rookie season, one that was played in a poorly run system. Garrett’s offense will feature massive play-action and RPOs, which are two of Jones biggest strengths, and let’s not forget the monster in the backfield Saquon Barkley who should receive his fair share of carries this season. Still, what makes this hire a good one is the fact that Garrett is coming into coach under new head coach Joe Judge. He won’t be calling time outs, throwing challenge flags, or making big boy decisions. He is being tasked with only half the work this time, and that is getting the offense on the right track. Garrett was once a successful OC in Dallas between the years of 2007-2010. Remember Pat Shurmur found more success as a coordinator than a head coach, so did Wade Phillips, Jim Schwartz, and Jay Gruden.
5. Signing Blake Martinez
The Giants knew heading into the 2020 season they needed to make serious upgrades on defense. One of those upgrades came at the LB position with former Packers LB Blake Martinez. He was signed to replace Alec Ogletree, who struggled to play in the middle of the defense for the Giants in 2019. While Martinez has question marks in pass coverage, he does bring other qualities such as run defense, volume tackling, and the ability to rush up the middle. Martinez will pair with last year's promising rookie Ryan Connelly, as well as his former position coach from Green Bay Patrick Graham, who is now the Giants DC.
4. Placing the UFA Tender on Markus Golden
It’s no secret the Giants most significant need after this off-season is pass rush. Last off-season, the Giants signed Markus Golden to a one year 10 million dollar contract, and the results were promising. Golden finished with a team-high ten sacks and was top 10 in QB pressures and hits last year. While the Giants are looking to keep Golden, no new contract was ever reached. Instead, the Giants placed the very seldom used UFA Tender. This means Golden has the right to sign anywhere he wants, but if he remains a FA by July 22nd, he can only play for the Giants in 2020. If Golden ends up signing elsewhere, the Giants will receive compensation. A win-win situation for big blue.
3. Drafting Xavier Mckinney
Looking back at last season, another area the Giants struggled in was at free safety. While the Giants had Jabrill Peppers playing well at strong safety, there wasn’t anyone next to him that they could rely on. Antonie Bethea has aged. They did, of course, find some promise in rookie Julian Love last year, but after selecting Mckinney, it seems like the Giants would want Love playing more cornerback. The selection of Mckinney was a surprise because no one expected him to fall into the second round. Dave Gettleman wasted no time grabbing the former Alabama star. With Mckinney, the Giants have the draft's most versatile defensive back who can play all over the secondary. He will make plays from the box, as well as have the ability to match up with TEs in pass coverage. Mckinney and Peppers should be a fun duo to watch.
2. Signing James Bradberry
Four years ago, the Giants opened up the bank to Janoris Jenkins, and he delivered a promising 2016 season. Since then, it hasn’t been the same and after his release just before the end of the season. It was clear that corner was a top need for the G-Men. This time they decided to open up the bank on former Panthers cornerback James Bradberry. One of the best moves they made. Bradberry brings shutdown traits with him to a pass defense that ranked 28th in the league last season. Bradberry is also no stranger to competition, having covered the likes of Mike Evans, Julio Jones, and Michael Thomas. Against those three All-Pros last season, Bradberry surrendered just one touchdown. He even held Thomas to zero catches in their week 17 matchup. Must feel nice Giants fans you guys finally have a shutdown corner.
1. Building up the OL in the Draft
This was a no brainer decision. The last few years watching the Giants offensive line has been a nightmare. Just ask Eli Manning and Daniel Jones. In 12 games last year, Jones was sacked 38 times in those contests. To address the concern, the Giants went out and drafted Andrew Thomas, Matt Peart, and Shane Lemieux in the 2020 NFL Draft. Thomas figures to be the LT of the future and should have an immediate impact as a day one starter, while Matt Peart, a long lengthy, and athletic tackle figures to be the Giants answers at RT, and Lemieux will be in the mix at Center and Guard for big blue. Coupled with current standouts like Will Hernandez and Kevin Zeitler and the Giants OL now coached by a former Dallas Cowboy in Marc Colombo should develop into a sturdy unit that will help pave the way for Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley.