Training camp is almost here for the New York Giants! There are always all sorts of storylines, position battles, pleasant surprises and major disappointments. Here are some of the things I am interested in watching when practice begins on Friday.
Eli Manning is entering his 14th season with the Giants, his 13th as the Day 1 starter. This might be the first time in those 14 years that Manning won’t be the most interesting quarterback in Giants’ training camp.
The competition between veterans Geno Smith and Josh Johnson will have its share of intrigue. Will the Giants trust Smith, a talented guy who didn’t show a lot of maturity or play very well in four years with the New York Jets? Will they give the job to Johnson, a guy who hasn’t played a snap that meant anything in the NFL since 2011?
The real intrigue, though, will be the development of rookie quarterback Davis Webb. How comfortable will he look running an NFL offense? Will he look like a guy who might one day be at least a capable NFL starter? Or, is he just another Ryan Nassib?
We have heard for months about the solid offseason work done by Ereck Flowers and Bobby Hart. Everyone from head coach Ben McAdoo to defensive tackle Damon Harrison has admitted, though, that none of that matters until both young tackles get pads on, get on the field, and show whether or not all of that work has made them better players.
If you follow social media, you likely know about the hard work veteran free-agent signee D.J. Fluker has been putting in. Will it pay off? Can Fluker earn a starting job? If he can, will it be Hart or John Jerry heading to the bench?
Tight End Competition
Could Will Tye really go from the starter in 2016 to a guy who can’t even make the team in 2017? Can Matt LaCosse actually make it to the regular season healthy? Is Rhett Ellison healthy after missing most of the spring with a calf injury? If so, how will the Giants use him? How much has 2016 sixth-round pick Jerell Adams improved? What impact will first-round pick Evan Engram have on the offense, and the tight end rotation?
Will the third-year defensive end be at camp following an offseason that saw him miss OTAs and hint about a need to step away from football? If he shows up, will he be in shape and committed to football? What’s the story with the young man, and is he OK?
Backup Cornerback Competition
Who will back up Janoris Jenkins, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Eli Apple? Can Valentino Blake be trusted as one of those guys? Can Michael Hunter and Donte Deayon continue impressive springs? Can Mykkele Thompson successfully transition to a full-time corner, stay healthy, and make himself a factor in this competition?
Who Joins Landon Collins?
A couple of seasons ago the Giants couldn’t manage to find any safeties who could actually play. Now, they quite obviously have more of them on the 90-man roster than they can possibly keep.
Will Darian Thompson be healthy enough to reclaim the starting job? Will Andrew Adams follow his unexpected rookie success with a solid sophomore season? Can Nat Berhe hang on to a roster spot? What about Duke Ihenacho, Eric Pinkins and Jadar Johnson?
This will be fun to watch.
Which Long-Shot Surprises?
There is always at least one young, relatively unknown player who captures the imagination of the fan base and makes a push for a roster spot. Who will it be this year? Defensive end Evan Schwan? Linebacker Calvin Munson? Wide receivers Travis Rudolph or Kevin Snead? Offensive — yes, offensive — lineman Jarron Jones? Safety Jadar Johnson?
Finding out who it is going to be is always one of the fascinating, and fun, parts of training camp.