Good morning, New York Giants fans! Welcome to July, which means three weeks until Giants' players report to Quest Diagnostics Training Center for the beginning of training camp. Here are a few headlines for you to discuss this morning.
The debate over the best quarterback from the 2004 NFL Draft class will go on forever. Heading into 2014, Gil Brandt of NFL.com says he would take Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsbugh Steelers first, followed by Eli Manning of the Giants and then Philip Rivers of the San Diego Chargers. Here is what Brandt had to say about Manning:
I would by no means write Manning off just yet, however. He's still a very hard worker with excellent throwing mechanics and footwork, and he's still accurate, with a quick release. Plus, he should be healthier than he was last year after undergoing offseason ankle surgery. Ultimately, he's got so much pride that I'm sure he'll do everything possible -- like cutting down on bad throws -- to erase memories of last season. We should note that even with the issues that dogged Manning and the Giants in 2013, including a lesser supporting cast, the team still managed to pull out a 7-9 record after starting 0-6.
Ten years ago, Manning was the first quarterback off the board, heading to New York -- and famously swapping teams with Rivers -- in a draft-day trade between the Bolts and the Giants. Heading into the 2014 season, however, I'd slot him behind Roethlisberger, as Big Ben has a stronger arm and is a bit more athletic -- though it's ultimately a close call. I'm confident Manning will be a factor in 2014.
Speaking of Manning, former Giants' quarterback Phil Simms believes the current Giants' quarterback will excel in the team's new offense:
"Is it a drastic change and all that stuff? Yeah, maybe in the philosophy it could be,’’ Simms said. "I know Green Bay’s offense, I’ve watched it a lot over the last years and talk a lot about it. Of course Eli’s gonna adjust to it. Is it a big adjustment? In my eyes, no it’s not. He’s a pro, he’s won the Super Bowl twice, if you tell him to run on his feet, he does it, if you tell him OK, now we’re gonna start running on our hands, he goes, ‘OK, I can do that too.’ Will there be timing issues and grave mistakes because of it? There might be some mistakes … but I just can’t imagine it’s gonna be that hard.’’
Pro Football Focus says Victor Cruz is the best wide receiver in the league at running the comeback route. Unfortunately, PFF notes that the comeback is not usually a big part of the West Coast scheme:
Comebacks: Victor Cruz, New York Giants (84 yards) The comeback route is becoming less common in NFL passing attacks as the shorter, quicker stuff becomes more en vogue, but the Giants still heavily relied on it in their vertical passing game in 2013. Cruz's strong route-running ability made it work to the tune of six receptions for 84 yards, as the route was often a built-in option in the Giants' offense. Cruz benefited from quarterback Eli Manning throwing the route better than any other quarterback in 2013, so look for it to remain a part of the Giants' offense moving forward.
Philadelphia Eagles offensive tackle Lane Johnson is facing a four-game suspension for violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy.
The NFL is cracking down on non-standard facemasks, largely out of concern that they make helmets heavier and encourage players with them to use their helmets as weapons.
The word 'Redskin' is apparently about to be designated as offensive by Dictionary.com.
Giants' running back Andre Williams feels like he "definitely progressed" as a pass receiver during offseason practices.
[NOTE: Please don't forget to purchase your copy of The 2014 New York Giants Almanac from Big Blue View. It is only $4.99, and is packed with information you need to be ready for the upcoming season.]