There isn't a lot of uncertainty in the Giants' lineup, but there are still some lingering questions as they head into a pivotal year. They are coming off an 11-5 season and are expected to be a Super Bowl contender. But they are far from a powerhouse team without any flaws.
So you've undoubtedly got plenty of questions. I'll take my best chance at giving you some answers here in my pre-training camp reader mailbag, Part I:
How good is the Giants offensive line going to be? -- @kennyg825
The Giants seem to think it will be better than people expect, though I don't know what they're basing that on. Hope, maybe? I'll give them this much, though: The interior has some potential. Weston Richburg is a good center, Justin Pugh is soon going to be paid like an elite guard, and John Jerry is limited but certainly a serviceable starter.
Those tackles, though … The Giants sure are banking a lot on this idea that because left tackle Ereck Flowers and right tackle Bobby Hart decided to work out in New Jersey this offseason instead of Miami that it shows a renewed commitment that will pay off on the field. It better, otherwise this offensive line won't be very good at all.
I actually do think there will be improvement, though. Flowers is 23 and Hart will be 23 in August and it's still too early to write either of them off. I don't know how good they'll be in the end, but there's still plenty of time for them to grow. That's not likely to be a smooth process, though, which is why -- to answer your question -- I believe the Giants' offensive line will be OK. Not bad. Not good. Just a little more adequate than they were last season.
How much of an impact will Marshall have on Eli's #s? -- @DANRCHAMBERLAIN
You know, Eli Manning's numbers were pretty good last season. He completed a career-best 63 percent of his passes. He threw for 4,027 yards -- the fourth-best total of his career. His 26 touchdowns were average and his 16 interceptions were a little high, though not much based on his career numbers. All in all, it wasn't bad.
There will be more to any offensive improvement than just this, but Marshall is basically taking over for Victor Cruz, who is smaller and who struggled last season. Assuming Marshall can pick up where he left off when he was healthy in 2015, he's an improvement over Cruz and he gives Manning the big target he's been missing. So yes, his numbers should improve.
How much? Well, in the previous two seasons Manning averaged more than 4,400 passing yards and 32 ½ touchdowns, so it wouldn't be unreasonable to expect similar numbers. Some of that depends on the offensive line, some on how much (and how well) the Giants run, and a lot may depend on the health of key players. But another 400-500 passing yards, maybe another 7-10 touchdown passes wouldn't be crazy.
Overall, though, you should see the Giants score more points and their offense should be back up near the Top 10.
Is Jpp gonna be a force this year or will he loaf because it's the first yr of his new deal? He disappeared from 2012-14 -- @stevenljc
Wow, that seems like a harsh evaluation of Jason Pierre-Paul. If you remember, in 2012 he dealt with a painful back injury that required pregame and mid-week injections just so he was able to play. Then he underwent back surgery in June, 2013, which is a big reason he struggled that season. He also dealt with a painful shoulder injury that year.
And in 2014, which granted wasn't his finest season, he still finished with 12 ½ sacks. I know many of them came late against inferior opponents, but he hardly "disappeared" that season.
I guess it's always possible that a player can get complacent after signing a big contract, and JPP's four-year, $62 million contract was certainly big. But he seems to have a real good perspective on life since his fireworks accident two years ago, and he certainly has worked incredibly hard to get back to where he is. I'd say at this point the odds are pretty good that he'll work hard to keep from disappearing.
And considering he's still only 28 years old, the odds are pretty good he'll continue to be a force.