The Clem Report’s 2014 New York Giants Preview Part 1: Offense

Posted: August 12, 2014 in Football, Giants, Sports, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , ,

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After two preseason games, I figured it was time to move my lazy ass from the couch to the computer chair and write up a preview to the Giants 2014 season.  It may be a little long, but I have the blog.  So you will listen to every damn word I have to say!  Here we go.

Number of the Season- 3:16.  No, it’s not John 3:16 or Austin 3:16.  3:16 is the amount of Giants on the 2014 roster (as of today) that were on the 2007 and 2011 championship rosters, respectively.

2007:  Zak DeOssie, Mathias Kiwanuka, and Eli Manning.

2011:  Prince Amukamara, Will Beatty, James Brewer, Victor Cruz, Zak DeOssie, Mark Herzlich, Henry Hynoski, Jerrel Jernigan, Mathias Kiwanuka, Eli Manning, Mario Manningham, Spencer Paysinger, Jason Pierre-Paul, Antrel Rolle, Jacquian Williams, and Steve Weatherford.

While this may be more of a statement of how quickly NFL teams turn over their rosters, it still does open your eyes for how few players have that fabled “championship experience” from their time with the Giants.  We still have the same coach, GM, and ownership group, which definitely counts for something.

Coaches- Tom Coughlin is back for his 11th year as New York Giants coach.  I cannot believe I just wrote that sentence.  11 years?!?!  That is uncanny.  He is the longest-tenured Giants coach of the modern era and has the same playoff record for the G-Men as Bill Parcells.  Big Blue also brought in Ben McAdoo to fix an offense that had problems with both scheme and personnel last year.  McAdoo was the quarterbacks coach in Green Bay for the last two seasons under the tutelage of Mike McCarthy.  Perry Fewell returns to coach the defense and fluctuate between being a fan favorite and fans hope he gets hired at the end of the year by another team (so Spags can come back, duh).

Opponents/Schedule- As I said in my initial breakdown, this isn’t an extremely easy or difficult schedule.  The NFC East will likely be average again this season.  Matching up with the best division in football (the NFC West) is offset by squaring off with the worst division in football (the AFC South).   And the two other games NFC teams are against the Falcons and Lions.  Again, nothing easy but also nothing too difficult.  I have updated my schedule predictions after remembering that the Giants start 6-2 in almost every year that Coughlin is the coach.

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Position Breakdown

Quarterbacks-  Any rational Giants fan knows where we stand at this position.  Having your team quarterbacked by Eli Manning is like being on a helicopter piloted by Jordan Belfort.  It is fun and scary at the same time.  And you/the Giants will either be dead or partying like maniacs by the end of the journey.  It is truly a toss-up, which is OK.  Because sometimes things like this happen:

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Any Giants fan will also tell you that they are nervous about Eli having to learn a new system after all those years under Kevin Killdrive.  I am no different in that regard.  If Eli had brain farts in the system he knew like the back of his hand, how is he going to handle a completely new offense?  But considering the renaissance Phillip Rivers went through in San Diego, there is a real chance Eli comes out alright on the other side.  If Curtis Painter or Ryan Nassib play any meaningful minutes for the Giants, something has gone seriously wrong.

Running Backs-  For some reason, the Football Gods decided that a running back as exciting as David Wilson was too good to be true for Giants fans.  The glimpses he gave us in 2012 will never be more than that and the only way to move on from him is to take on of those flashy things from Men In Black and wipe your memory clean.

*Watch these highlights at your own risk.  You may become depressed very quickly.

Rashad Jennings showed that he was capable of being a three down back in the black pit hole of Oakland.  It looks like he can be a steadying force on the backfield, which will be a breath of fresh air after last season’s craziness.  Big Blue was starting BRANDON JACOBS in the middle of last year and feeling lucky to have him at some points.  So, yeah, Jennings is a welcome addition.  Especially if he keeps doing what he did on Saturday night.

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The Giants also drafted Andre Williams, who lead the nation in rushing as a senior at Boston College.  Other than the fact he wears number 44, I see a lot of Ahmad Bradshaw in Williams.  He will fight for every inch that the defense gives him but doesn’t have the talent to break many big plays.  He also has hands of stone, which would a problem for most running backs.  “Luckily” for Williams, Eli may be the worst screen-throwing quarterback in the history of the NFL.  Williams likely has a higher floor than many of the backs drafted  near him this year, but a lower ceiling as well.

I thought Peyton Hillis was toast, and that was before he suffered an injury to his ankle/foot.  I still don’t understand how he was such a beast for the Browns a few years ago and got voted onto the cover of Madden.  Unless Hillis gets back the Eye of The White Rhino, he is going to have a hard time making a real contribution on this team.  Kendall Gaskins and Michael Cox will be battling for a spot on the squad for the rest of the preseason.  But I think we can be rest assured that it can’t get worse than last season.

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*Shudder*

Wide Receivers- When it comes to the receiving corps, there are a lot more questions than answers.  Is Rueben Randle going to develop into the player the Giants were hoping for in his make-or-break season?  Were Jerrel Jernigan’s late season heroics a glimpse of the player he can be when healthy or was it just a flash in the pan?  Will Odell Beckham’s cranky hamstring heal in time for him to become an impact rookie?  And if it doesn’t, will Tom Coughlin be able to resist the urge to murder Beckham?  If the Giants get more Yes’s than No’s, they should be in pretty good shape.

Victor Cruz coming back healthy and in an offense that can showcase him will make the offense dangerous.  Hakeem Nicks is gone, and while he wasn’t great last year, they still will have to replace is production.  I am not expecting much from Mario Manningham, who (in my opinion) was mostly the beneficiary of good receiver play around him in the past.  And that was when he was healthy.  The Giants have the talent to be very good at receiver, but if they aren’t, we likely already know the reasons why.

Tight Ends- Blech.  A collection of failed picks and signings, this will be the true test for Giants coach Mike Pope, who has a reputation for getting every once of the players he is given.  What is that you say?  Mike Pope was reassigned and now coaching for Dallas?  Ummmm, I guess this is just a hold your breath and hope for the best kind of a thing.  Larry Donnell, an undrafted free agent out of Grambling State, is currently atop the depth charts.  Your guess is as good as mine for who wins this competition.  The fact that Jake Ballard was able to produce with Eli as his quarterback makes me feel like almost any tight end (ones NOT named Brandon Myers) that the Giants bring in will be at least average.

Offensive Line- It’s not a good thing to have your offensive line almost completely turn over from one year to the next, right?  The Giants bit the bullet and invested some money and draft picks into giving their O-Line a facelift after the 2013 nightmare ended.  The only starter from last season that will definitely keep his job is Justin Pugh.  I imagine it will take some time for the line to jell, but I still believe in Jerry Reese’s ability to find bargains off of the scrap heap and in the draft.  Other than (and maybe including) Eli, this is the most important unit on the offense.  A lot of the Giants fortunes will hinge on how the big uglies play up front.  This cover seems like it was taken ages ago.

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Halftime

Part 2 coming soon…

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