AND AT QUARTERBACK . . .
At some point this season the Giants are likely to be faced with a question they have not had to give serious consideration to for most of the past 15 years: Who is our starting quarterback? They’ll start the season with Eli Manning in that familiar role, but if he or the team falters it may be time to replace him with rookie Daniel Jones.
Tiki Barber gained 2,390 all-purpose yards in 2005, a franchise record that has stood for 13 years… and may fall before this season is over. Saquon Barkley racked up 2,028 total yards rushing and receiving as a rookie last season, and if he can average an extra 23 or so yards per game more in 2019 he’ll break Barber’s standard.
WILL WE MISS OBJ?
The Giants’ offense won’t be as exciting without Odell Beckham Jr. It won’t be as explosive or dynamic. But can it be better? Maybe. The Giants will need big efforts from a lot of directions – Barkley, Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram and others – to make up for Beckham’s production. But if they get it, they might find they have improved despite trading away one of the most talented players in the NFL.
THE RUSH IS ON
A strong pass rush has been the backbone of just about every winning Giants team in the Super Bowl era. For this year’s squad to be successful, they’ll need to find some players to provide it. Veteran Markus Golden, second-year player Lorenzo Carter, and rookie Oshane Ximines have to fulfil expectations on a team that finished next-to-last in sacks a year ago.
FOLLOW THE LINE
An offensive line is the engine of a team, and over the past few years of woeful football the Giants have had some clunkers. Now the unit is completely refurbished with five new starters from the time Dave Gettleman and Pat Shurmur arrived following the wreckage of the 2017 season. It has been improved in theory. Now it just has to prove that it is street-ready and able to carry the team where it wants to go.
Beat writer's prediction
8-8, third place in the NFC East, miss the playoffs
Daniel Jones will be the starting quarterback for the Giants the next time they appear in the playoffs . . . and that won’t be this year. The team should be better than a year ago when they won five games, but still not good enough to crack the postseason in what will almost certainly be Eli Manning’s final year in blue.
This is Tom Rock's 12th season covering the Giants for Newsday.