New York Giants Offseason Recap
The New York Giants made much needed changes to their team this off-season; including bidding farewell to their head coach.
The 2015 NFL season proved how far removed the Giants are from a Super Bowl contending team. It also questioned if they are even a competitive team, as they finished dead last in total defense.
Since then, they’ve been busy. They lost some players, but on such an abysmal team, that might not be a negative. Losing bad players makes room for unproven players to seize opportunity. But most notable were the acquisitions made by the front office. And after giving big money to young players, the question is will there be immediate improvements?
With players due to report to training camp on Thursday, now is a good time to get to know the bigger offseason signings. Here they are.
Oliver Vernon, Defensive End
25-year-old Vernon signed a 5-year, $85 million contract. He is entering his 5th NFL season, and played his previous 4 for the Miami Dolphins. He finished 2015 with 61 tackles, which put him in a 9-way tie for 144th most in the league. That total is, however, Vernon’s career high. He also finished the year with 7.5 sacks.
The talk swirling around Vernon is that, due to his youth, he has potential to mold into the Giants system and grow as a staple member of its defense. The keyword is potential. He no longer has to compete with a player like Ndamukong Suh for recognition, which should help him stand out in New York.
Damon Harrison, Defensive Tackle
The colossal man nicknamed “Snacks” is swapping Jets Green for some Big Blue. The 27 year old signed a 5-year deal worth over $46 million. At 6-4, 350 lbs., he is the type of player that could thrive on the Giants defensive line, especially with defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s proven ability to use a big man to clog the middle.
Between the departure of Linval Joseph two years ago, and the inconsistency in Johnathan Hankins’s health since, there has been a noticeable gap in the middle of the defensive line. “Snacks” should help fill that hole. Together with Vernon, and a healthy Jason Pierre-Paul and Hankins, perhaps this defensive line stands a change again the likes of the Dallas Cowboys’ offensive line.
Janoris Jenkins, Defensive Back
Of all the deals made this offseason, this may prove to be the most significant. Jenkins, 27, also scored a 5-year contract — his worth over $62 million. He’s coming off a solid season with the Los Angeles (then-St. Louis) Rams: 64 tackles, 16 pass deflections, 3 interceptions, and 1 forced fumble.
It’s no secret that the Giants secondary last season was the Achilles heel of an already weak defense. The absence of Antrel Rolle was felt both on and off the field, and now veteran Prince Amukamara is gone. Rookie Landon Collins had a strong season with 112 tackles (!), 9 pass deflections, 1 forced fumble, and an interception.
That being said, he also showed he has much to improve on to become a top safety in the league. If he pans out to be the player he showed flashes of in his first NFL season and Jenkins can continue playing solid football to become a team leader, the Giants may have this problem solved.
Keenan Robinson, Linebacker
The Giants play the Washington Redskins twice every year and in none of Robinson’s four seasons has he been the notable player in any of those games. Still, the 27 year old signed a 1-year deal for $2.6 million. Last season, he played in 12 games, racked up 63 tackles, and recorded an interception. He has 1.5 sacks in his career, but it’s not as though the Giants have any better options.
The Giants’ linebacker core in 2015 was pathetic. Not one Giants linebacker, with the exception of special teams player Mark Herzlich, played in all 16 games. Robinson also has a history of injuries — he tore his left pectoral muscle on the first day of training camp in 2013, which resulted in him missing that whole season — and he has not played in all 16 regular season games in any other season. This will only be his 5th season, and if he can stay healthy, he is certainly in a place where he can prove his worth.
This year the Giants have made it to training camp without any of their players blowing off any limbs, so they seem to be off to a better start than 2015. It remains to be seen if these signings will continue this trajectory.
(New York Giants Offseason Recap)(New York Giants Offseason Recap)