Training camp begins for the Giants out at QDTC this Thursday, and things have changed quite a bit from this time last year.
S Antrel Rolle, DE Mathias Kiwanuka, C J.D. Walton, S Stevie Brown, S Quintin Demps, LB Spencer Paysinger, LB Jacquian Williams, DT Mike Patterson, CB Walter Thurmond, RB Peyton Hillis, CB Zack Bowman.
RB Shane Vereen, DE Owa Odighizuwa, OT Ereck Flowers, S Landon Collins, LB J.T. Thomas, LB Jonathan Casillas, S Jeromy Miles, DB Mykkele Thompson, WR/KR Dwayne Harris
What's different this summer....
A new defense under returning DC Steve Spagnuolo. It doesn't have the reliable Rolle, who played nearly every snap over his five years here, and it may not have the club's top DE, Jason Pierre-Paul, thanks to his poor judgement. But MLB Jon Beason is back and OLB Devon Kennard has a full season under his belt. The safety situation has been addressed with a slew of bodies, new and old, but the pass rush is still challenged, especially against top competition. Spagnuolo will deploy an aggressive approach that hearkens back to the Giants' championship defenses of the past.
Ben McAdoo begins his second year as the team's offensive coordinator. His system revived the career of QB Eli Manning, who turned in one of the best statistical seasons of his career in 2014. The Giants will look to build on that success this season. WR Odell Beckham, Jr. had a breakout rookie season in 2014 and will be the focal point of the passing attack. Flanked by the improved Rueben Randle among other talented wideouts -- including the retuning Victor Cruz (knee) -- OBJ will try to best his record-setting debut. The addition of RB Shane Vereen should give the Giants more versatility in both the passing and running games.
The Giants feel confident on special teams with Harris coming over from Dallas to spearhead the return game. Casillas and rookie Geremy Davis are two other new faces the Giants hope will bolster the special teams.
Questions to be answered....
The offensive line is still in flux. Although the Giants have used high draft picks and top free agent dollars on linemen, they still have a number of issues. With OT Will Beatty (pec) likely out until November, Flowers is slated to start at LT and low-regarded FA Marshall Newhouse will play RT. The team has their fingers crossed this works out.
Can JPP get back to where he was at the end of last year? We'll see if he can play at all with his right hand severely damaged in that July 4 fireworks accident. RDE may be out of the question altogether. Chances are he may have to change back to the left side of the line, so that his good hand -- his left hand -- is exposed to the outside.
Cruz is currently going to give training camp a shot. The Giants have considered placing him on PUP but have yet to make that decision. He should be brought along slowly, so don't get nervous if you don't see a lot of him early on.
Who will be the Giants' safeties? They would love to have Collins win a job outright this summer. He just may be good enough to do that. The club is very high on two incumbents -- Cooper Taylor and Nat Berhe -- so don't be shocked if they get a lion's share of the reps right away.