By Scott Mandel
NY Giants fans, you may yet have a happy future. Much sooner than you think.
Would you believe a 3-11 team, one with the potential to finish this inglorious 2019 season 3-13, hope to contend for a playoff slot in the near future? Sounds like a silly question, doesn’t it?
But, the answer, in this view is, a resounding yes.
The Giants roster doesn’t consist of household names, yet. No Lawrence Taylor’s or Phil Simms or Eli Manning’s in that locker room. Well, there is that old guy, #10 still hanging in there but the future core of this team will not include that Jersey number, which will be retired.
But, talent, young emerging talent, is taking shape for Big Blue. And, the more I watch these kids every week, the more improvement I am seeing in technique, confidence, and most importantly, production on the field.
DeAndre Baker, Sam Beal, Cory Ballantine, Julian Love, Markus Golden, Leonard Williams, Dalvin Tomlinson, Oshane Ximines, Lorenzo Carter, Dexter Lawrence, and injured rookie linebacker, Ryan Connelly are mostly in their first or second years on a defense which might add the best defensive football player in the country out of Ohio State, Chase Young, if the Giants hold onto the second pick in the NFL draft by losing their last two games. The addition of young veterans, Leonard Williams (from the Jets) and Markus Golden have been examples of addition by addition. The removal of Janoris “JackRabbit” Jenkins, the veteran cornerback, has been addition by subtraction, especially in that locker room of impressionable youngsters.
From this group on defense will emerge new leaders. Don’t be shocked if names like Connelly, Julian Love, and Dexter Lawrence step up to that mantle.
It says here, next season will offer an athletic, fast, and tough unit on the defensive side of the ball. How do I know that? Because I know it. Take it to the bank.
The question is, will they have the right coach to guide these kids next season? Is the current coaching staff going to be retained to continue the progress?
On offense, the O-Line needs a massive upgrade in talent, particularly at the tackle positions and at center. But, I loved the young guards, Hernandez and Nick Gates, yesterday. Both are big, tough, athletic youngsters who like the game of football. Unfortunately, the stopgap free agents signed in the off-season by the potentially stopgap general manager, Dave Gettleman for the sole purpose of protecting the quarterback from the left and right tackle positions didn’t pan out, making Gettleman’s job tenuous, at best.
The receivers are solid, with Sheppard, Golden Gate, and Darious Slayton while tight ends Evan Engram and the Stanford kid, Kaden Smith are potential pass-catching stars as receivers. But, the key to this unit’s success will always remain with the success of the kid QB, Daniel Jones, and the star running back, Saquan Barkley, who, along with game-breaker Engram need to stay on the field. Until the offensive line becomes solid, though, scoring points will be a challenge, particularly vs. better teams, for Jones and his mates.
After all, you can’t play the Miami Dolphins every week, you know? But the core of this team appears to be very close to being one that will impact on the NFL, as soon as next year.