For the New York Giants the biggest current story for this 2014 training camp is one about a dad and his son-in-law. Son-in-law, veteran and former all-pro guard Chris Snee, 32, has retired from the league, thus ending his decorated career with the Giants. Father-in-law Tom Coughlin is sad to see him go, but knows he cannot get all teary-eyed as major work needs to now be done.
To the surprise of many experts the Giants started out 2013 0-6. Finishing 7-9 on the season and third in the NFC East meant that they found their game and went 7-3 in their last 10. This was the case despite shaky play from Eli Manning all season.
New Offensive System
Ben McAdoo comes in from Green Bay to be the architect for the Giants offense. McAdoo, 36, spent two-years as the Green Bay Packers quarterbacks-coach and the previous six-seasons as their tight-end-coach, according to ESPN.com. 2014 will mark the first ever season that Eli Manning will assume an entirely new offense as former OC Kevin Gilbride retired (or a forced retirement as many speculate).
The change was one that seemed very much needed as the unit seemedd stale in 2013. Miscommunication plagued the offense in various ways including QB to WR and sideline to QB. The Giants offense was anemic last year to say the least, ranking 28th in points per game (18.4) and 28th in yards per game (307.5), according to NFL.com.
Eli Manning is the face of this franchise, but that face turned sour in 2013 as Eli’s inconsistencies had him tossing a league-high 27 interceptions. McAdoo is coming in to change all of this as he’s been a part of one of the better offenses in the league alongside Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.
The first order of business for the offense is to get the offensive-line in order. The five-guys up front are the life-line of any offense and last year saw the Giants have no chance with how pathetic these big-guys performed. The retirement of guard Chris Snee will open up yet another spot, but free-agent pickup Geoff Schwartz will bring some much-needed stability to the unit.
Despite the health questions of RB David Wilson, this team is loaded at the running-back position. Free-agent pickup Rashad Jennings will look to capture the starting job with Peyton Hillis adding a change of pace. If the injury-plagued David Wilson can return to top-form, then a duo of Wilson – Jennings would work beautifully.
McAdoo is expected to bring a breath of fresh air to a stable group. Training camp will be an interesting time, as the public will look to see how Manning and the rest of the veterans adjust to the change that comes with having a first-year offensive coordinator on board.
The Giants are without a doubt one of the tougher teams to predict for 2014 thanks to their face-lift. Their lack-luster 7-9 season prompted general manager Jerry Reece to get very aggressive in the off-season bringing in 19 veteran free-agents including explosive-returner Trindon Holliday.
Monitoring how these new faces get implemented this summer will be something for the fans to watch. RB Rashad Jennings, while getting older at 29, does not have a ton of mileage on him. He rushed for 733 yards and six-TD’s with the Oakland Raiders last year which earned himself a nice-deal with New York.
Old-face Mario Manningham returns to the team after spending two-disappointing seasons in San Francisco. This move rounds-out a solid group at the wide-receiver position along with Victor Cruz, Rueben Randle, and 2014 first-round pick Odell Beckham Jr.
Defense, however, is really where this team loaded up.
CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB Walter Thurmond, CB Zack Bowman and LB Jameel McLain were added to boost a very up-and-down defense that gave up 23.9 points per game (18th in league). The newcomers will absolutely provide production, but it will be the veterans on this unit that will make or break their fortunes.
Jason Pierre-Paul and Jon Beason are those guys that will have the microscope fully planted on them. Pierre-Paul was an NFL all-pro in 2011 as he quickly became a nightmare of offensive-lines to handle. Since that time though, JPP as he is known, has declined in productivity and has been plagued with injuries. If this defense wants to get where they want to be, JPP needs to come through in a major way in 2014.
Jon Beason was signed during the season last year to help a struggling 0-6 team and immediately paid-dividends. Since his arrival, he assumed the leadership role and the defense was sparked. However, off-season foot surgery has the team hoping he’ll be ready for opening day, as they cannot afford to be without him in the middle of that defense.