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New York Giants really among most improved teams?

ESPN's John Clayton says they are.

The New York Giants are one of the NFL's most improved teams, according to John Clayton of ESPN. Clayton ranked them the second-most improved team this offseason behind the Jacksonville Jaguars.

When your owner lets you spend more than $200 million on defense in free agency, you better be improved. The pressure is on general manager Jerry Reese, who made the call on the signings, and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who now has to show improvement on the field. The Giants gave up 27.6 points per game last season and had very little pass rush.

New signing Olivier Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul, who's back for a full season, will provide the pass rush. Janoris Jenkins, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and first-round pick Eli Apple offer about as talented a three-cornerback coverage group as you can find in the league. Damon Harrison will be the run-stuffer. Keenan Robinson and Kelvin Sheppard add more depth at linebacker.

Figuring new coach Ben McAdoo should get 25 to 26 points per game out of the Eli Manning-led offense, all the Giants need to do is cut three or four points per game off the defense to have a winning record.

I have said a number of times, including during the most recent "Big Blue Chat" podcast, that I believe the Giants have improved the roster. Something else we have said many times is that winning the offseason does not necessarily translate into winning games. We have seen that over and over through the years, and heading into 2016 that word of caution applies to the Giants.

They went on a $200 million free-agent spending binge that, on paper, added talent to a defense badly in need of it. You only spend big money like that, however, to cover previous mistakes and aim for a quick fix. It doesn't always work. The Giants appear to have had a good draft. Let last year be a cautionary tale, though. Ereck Flowers and Landon Collins both started from Day 1, and both struggled. Players don't step right in as finished products, and even though the 2016 draft class is promising each player will suffer growing pains as he learns the NFL game.

There are lots of reasons to be optimistic. The Giants, though, still have plenty of question marks. The right side of the offensive line, defensive line depth, linebacker, who is the second safety and cornerback depth are a few of them.

There is a rookie head coach and several new position coaches. Right now, there is a fresh feeling and lots of optimism. We don't yet know, however, whether McAdoo and his staff will truly be up to the task. We won't know until the games start.

The Giants have thus far had a good offseason. Feel good about what they have done. Let's just wait and see if it translates into more victories.