With training camps right around the corner (hooray!) team previews and projections are all the rage. Yahoo's 'Shutdown Corner' is going team-by-team through the NFL and recently took a look at the Odell Beckham Jr. Show, otherwise known as the New York Giants. Let's take a look at some of the key points 'Shutdown' made regarding your favorite team.
About that Beckham guy
'Shutdown' calls the Giants "must-watch television" because of Beckham, whether they end up being any good or not.
As for on-field play, writer Frank Schwab points out that at the pace he caught passes a season ago Beckham would set full-season NFL records with 144 catches and 2,132 yards. Thus, he says "let's assume there's some regression coming."
Schwab is probably right about that, and that doesn't mean Beckham will experience a sophomore slump, have a bad year or anything like that. It means it's virtually impossible to continue to do what Beckham did a year ago. Plus, honestly, it isn't a good idea for the Giants to try. Your offense is out of whack when you target one guy 21 times in a game, like the Giants did with Beckham in Week 17 vs. the Philadelphia Eagles, or 63 times in four games, which is how many times Beckham was targeted in the season's final four games.
With Victor Cruz, Rueben Randle, Shane Vereen, Larry Donnell and Rashad Jennings to throw to -- and hopefully an improved running game -- the Giants should be able to spread the wealth more.
About the offseason
Schwab says the roster is "about the same" as it was last season in terms of talent. He appears to like the addition of Vereen, and lauds the second-round pick of safety Landon Collins as the best personnel move of the offseason.
Personally, I think the signing of Vereen can't be underestimated. He gives the Giants a valuable weapon they simply did not have a year ago. No argument that the move up to get Collins was a brilliant stroke by GM Jerry Reese, and one that pretty much had to happen.
I will disagree with the conclusion that the 'position in flux' is running back. I believe the Giants have three talented players there, perhaps none of whom is a "bell cow" back, but all of whom can add value to the offense. For me, the position in flux remains the offensive line in the absence of Will Beatty.
Schwab writes the following:
Best case: If the offensive gains with McAdoo hold in the coordinator's second season, Pierre-Paul quickly returns to form and the team finally gets some better luck with injuries, the Giants could at least compete for a playoff spot. That's especially true if Manning and Beckham pick up where they left off from last season.
Worst case: The Giants might not have a capable running game, and the defense might simply be bad, especially without Rolle and if Pierre-Paul isn't the same player (Pierre-Paul is clearly a total unknown and a huge wild card at this point). And if too much is put on Manning's shoulders, bad things can happen. The Giants were 3-9 at one point last year, and maybe they swim near those waters again.
Schwab goes on to predict that the Giants will fall short of the playoffs for the fourth straight season:
The law of averages says the Giants have to be healthier this season, and that will help. Manning and Beckham will do fine, as will the passing game as a whole. But there are just too many holes to project them to make the playoffs. Another losing season is more likely, and with that will come more questions about coach Tom Coughlin's job.
I honestly haven't made up my mind yet as to whether or not I believe the Giants will be a playoff team in 2015. I do believe they will be better than they have been the past two seasons, that there does not appear to be a murderous stretch on the schedule, and with even adequate play from their defense they should be a .500 or better team, which gives them a chance.
Your thoughts, Giants fans?