On Tuesday, July 22, 2014, the New York Giants opened NFL training camp. QB Eli Manning will be under the microscope after having missed the playoffs last season. There have been many changes made on both sides of the ball. On the offensive line, longtime starting Right guard Chris Snee has retired. Snee is the son-in-law of Head coach Tom Coughlin, and played his entire 10 year NFL career with the Giants. He was a part of both the 2007 and 2011 Super Bowl teams, and was also QB Eli Manning's roomate early on. Dynamic WR Hakeem Nicks is also gone (signed with Indianapolis in offseason). The team has brought in RB Rashad Jennings to revitalize a largely nonexistent running game. On defense, DL Justin Tuck signed with Oakland in the offseason. Having lost Osi Umenyiora to Atlanta before last season, the Giants front seven will now a completely different look. DE Jason Pierre-Paul spent a lot of last season dealing with a back injury, but will now be counted on to lead the charge up front. In the 2011 Super Bowl season, Pierre-Paul alone had 16.5 sacks, on a team which had 34 sacks total. Last season, the Giants as a team, only had 18 sacks, of which 'JPP' only had 2. JPP has the physical ability, but with all the changes, will now be counted on for leadership as well.
Shouldering much of the load which comes along with the expectations in New York, Eli Manning had this take on the upcoming season, which will be his first under new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo. Deposed offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride had been with Eli Manning, since Manning came into the league. The Giants will now be running a "West coast" style offense, which will require a bit more rhythm and timing, and will be played at a quicker pace.
During an ESPN interview, said Manning, On the need to improve upon last season's poor 2-6 start - "We've got to get back to having great preparation, starting strong, being physical, setting that tempo early in the season. I think this year, having that extra preseason game (Hall of Fame game, Aug 3, 2014), starting camp a little earlier, is going to be helpful for us, and everybody getting on the same page, and having a little extra game-plan mentality for these extra preseason games so we're excited about it. It's going to be a fun year and we've got to get better, we've got some improvements, we're not where we need to be right now, but I'm excited about that challenge to see how much better we can get in these next few weeks." Eli Manning was sacked 39 times last season.
Giants Super Bowl XLVI hero WR Mario Manningham is back with the team, after a couple of non-productive years in San Francisco, but will have to earn his spot in the lineup. WR Victor Cruz was one of the few bright spots last season, and will lead this group of smaller, quicker receivers in this new offensive system.
The newest the running back, 6'1" 230 Lb Rashad Jennings averaged 4.5 yards per carry last season with the Oakland Raiders. Before joining the Raiders, Jennings spent his first three NFL seasons with Jacksonville, and has a career avg of 4.3 YPC.
On defense, LB Jameel McClain brings his Super Bowl pedigree to 'Big Blue', after having spent six seasons in Baltimore. The defensive backfield has been revamped as well. Veteran Antrel Rolle returns for a fifth season with the team, and he will be joined by safety Stevie Brown (returning from injury), and newcomers Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and Walter Thurmond. Thurmond was a member of the 2013 Seattle Seahawks championship team.
Special teams are often overlooked, but are an integral part of the game. To that end, KR Trindon Holliday has joined the team. Holliday is a speedster, and could very well be a difference maker when it comes to the all-important issue of field position over the course of a game, and the bigger impact on the season as a whole.
The Giants indeed have plenty of question marks. There have been many changes, and only time will tell if the new-look Giants can get back to playing championship football.