Teams coming off losing seasons will often poach players from more successful programs in an effort to infuse a winning mentality. It’s a fairly common tactic, and one the Giants relied on this offseason (although to be fair, they couldn’t exactly sign players off teams that were worse than they were since there only was one of them).
But besides adding guys from playoff teams a year ago, the Giants also managed to add guys who were on playoff teams a year ago but on losing teams the year before that. In other words, players who know what it takes to make the sharp 180-degree turn the Giants are attempting to maneuver.
Alec Ogletree and Connor Barwin were both with the Rams and Patrick Omameh was with the Jaguars. Both of those teams made worst-to-first transformations in 2017 under new coaches and new cultures. So as much as the experience of someone such as Nate Solder who has never in his career played a season that did not reach at least the conference title game with the Patriots will help, having the guys who experienced lows that transformed into highs should be more important.
Already they are starting to share their advice with the Giants.
“The key last year was accountability, playing together, and discipline,” Barwin said of the Rams’ jump from 4-12 in 2016 to 11-5 in 2017. “I wasn’t there [in L.A.] two years ago but 'Tree' was and he said that was the big difference and that’s what we have to do here. Guys have to come together, guys have to play as a team and you have to be accountable for your actions.”
Ogletree said the key is “to get everybody to believe in the same goal, believe what the coach is putting out there, and respond and take it upon yourself as players to make it work. The coaches are going to coach but the players have to play and go out there on the field and play together.”
Can the Giants do what the Rams and Jaguars did last year? They certainly have the talent to be a competitive team and turnarounds in the NFL are fairly commonplace.
Barwin certainly thinks the Giants can do it. He signed with the team just this week and had said during the offseason he only wanted to play for a team that had a chance at a Super Bowl. He missed that opportunity by one season when he left the Eagles after the 2016 season and came close with the Rams last year.
“I am very excited,” Barwin said. “I happy to be a Giant, happy to be back in the best division in football.”