Watching the Giants at OTAs this spring, they look different. Especially on offense. With speed to burn and weapons to utilize.
Yes, this is East Rutherford. It might as well be a whole new world.
Somewhere, offensive coordinator Mike Kafka is probably devising plays he never would have, or could have, called last season.
Now? He has options.
During the Giants’ OTAs that are open to the media, the passing game has provided the biggest highlights. And Wednesday was no exception.
(That’s by design, of course. There’s no live contact allowed at OTAs, but teams are allowed to run 7-on-7, 9-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills.)
For Daniel Jones, there is beauty in numbers.
There’s tight end Darren Waller, who changes everything in the passing game. There are speedsters, including Parris Campbell and Darius Slayton. (Presumably, rookie Jalin Hyatt will work his way in.) The dependable Isaiah Hodgins returns.
As Slayton sees it, “They don't know where it's coming from. You've got me or Jalin or Parris or any of our guys. Darren is huge but can fly. It's like you've got all these guys flying at you; you've got to guard somebody. I think for us, it puts us all in an advantage situation.”
There will be battles for roster spots among the wide receivers. That alone puts these Giants in a better position than a year ago.
“I think kind of selfishly as a speed guy, I lean toward other speed guys,” Slayton said. “I like watching people flying around fast. We’ve got a lot of them now. Parris was a 4.30 guy. Jeff Smith was a 4.2 guy, low 4.3 guy. And Hyatt obviously could fly. I could fly. You turn on the film, it’s a whole lot of flying. I mean, it's fun to watch, fun to play with guys like that.”
The matchup nightmare for Giants' opponents should be Waller.
“It's crazy,” cornerback Adoree’ Jackson said. “The speed he has [is] a different type of speed in a sense where he builds up his speed, just running strong. He’s trying to run through you, run around you, whatever. I think that's what I appreciate most about this offense. You've got a lot of different type of body strengths. You got a lot of different attributes in these guys. And having everybody helps us be better as a team.”
Asked if Jones is making more deep throws this spring than he did last season, coach Brian Daboll said: “I’d say we just make sure he tries to throw it to the right guy with the right reads. There’s not any emphasis. I think Daniel’s made steady improvements since we’ve been here. He’s throwing to some new players out here. I think that’s important to try to read their body language. Again, we’re trying different things and trying to get to know some of the new players we have, too, and I’d say so is Daniel.”
After last season Slayton said knew the Giants needed more explosive plays (defined as at least a 20-yard pass play.) The Giants finished last in the league in explosive plays in 2022.
“I think definitely this spring there’s been a conscious effort to push the ball down the field,” Slayton said Wednesday. “We have all these [fast] guys. It’s like having a bunch of Ferraris, keep them in the garage, take them out to the track. I think that’s kind of been the mindset and maybe why you see a little more of the ball going down the field.”
Or a lot more of the ball going down the field.
For the Giants, it’s a whole new world.