The rebuilding of the Giants is basically over, and now they're almost ready to begin the preparation. They have a three-day, full-team mini-camp next week, and then five weeks of training camp starting in late July to find out if they really are better than 3-13.
Just with better health alone they should be. And with some of the key additions they've made, perhaps the playoffs aren't out of reach either. But they do have a bunch of questions they need to answer first.
And you had a few questions, too. So one last time before the camps begin, I'll try to answer them here:
Is there anyone in competition with Flowers for the RT job? -- @subwoffer04
It's a little too early to tell how much competition he's going to get over the summer, but as of right now, Ereck Flowers seems pretty entrenched as the starting right tackle.
In fact, while the Giants have done a lot of rotating at both guard spots and center, Flowers has taken every snap at right tackle that I've seen during the spring (though it's important to note that only one out of every three OTAs were open to the media).
The second-team right tackle has mostly been Chad Wheeler. And honestly they are not deep at tackle at all, and I don't know who else would even be considered a threat to Flowers. Tyler Howell, an undrafted free agent out of Missouri, doesn't seem ready for that yet. There aren't a lot of other options, really.
I wouldn't be shocked to see the Giants bring in a veteran at some point, either someone still stuck on the market or someone cut during or after training camp. But, until that happens, it's really just Flowers vs. Wheeler.
It's a competition the Giants expect Flowers to win.
Nervous about lack of cb depth. What happens if apple stinks and there isn't much talent behind him? -- @mwtfreeman
If you're looking for a Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie type behind Janoris Jenkins and Eli Apple, there probably isn't anyone there.
But the Giants actually seem OK with the depth they have at that position. Remember, they brought in veterans like William Gay, Teddy Williams, and B.W. Webb, plus some young players like Curtis Riley. They also have Donte Deayon, who impressed some in the organization last year.
That's a lot of players who could potentially play important roles. They also added some safety depth with veteran Michael Thomas, and can cover for cornerback issues by overloading with safeties too.
So no, they may not have the big three they showcased a couple years ago, but they have some players. They seem really confident that Apple will have a bounce-back season. But, if not, they believe they'll be OK.
How many tds does Eli end up with this year? -- @pbroc19
I'll give you a prediction, but I'm going to answer this more broadly: I think Eli Manning is set up to have a fantastic season, and has a chance to put up numbers as good as he's ever had in his career.
Maybe that's a lot to ask at 37 considering he has some gaudy numbers from the height of his career (His career highs are a 63.1 completion percentage, 4,933 yards and 35 touchdowns). But I'm with the Gettleman/Shurmur evaluation that Manning is still throwing the ball nearly as well as he ever did. There hasn't been an obvious physical decline yet.
No, his last two years weren't great. But I'm convinced that's because his offensive line was terrible and he was forced to rush his throws far too often. Then last year, of course, he lost Odell Beckham Jr. early, and Brandon Marshall never helped before he was hurt and things deteriorated from there.
Now, he seems to have the making of an NFL-caliber offensive line, at least. Beckham is back and he's flanked by Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram, and they have Saquon Barkley in the backfield who will give the Giants a running game as well as be a dangerous addition to the passing game.
Those are a lot of weapons, and with good health and a little protection, Manning still has the tools and smarts to make this offense go.
So how many touchdowns? He has generally hovered between 24 and 30 in his career. He's only topped 30 three times, but it's happened twice in the last four seasons -- in the two years McAdoo was Tom Coughlin's offensive coordinator. With all those weapons and a new system, not to mention an experienced coach, I think he has a chance to push 30 again.
But I'll temper my enthusiasm a little bit and set the over/under at 26.