Today is the Fourth of July. There will be fireworks all across the country. Shoot, here at our camp in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York there have — annoyingly — been fireworks every evening for days now. And will be for days to come.
Yes, when it comes to fireworks I’m the “get off my lawn” guy. I like a good fireworks show on the Fourth, and at other appropriate times. I hate it when people shoot them off whenever simply because they have them and they can.
Anyway, I’m here to talk about the New York Giants. Since it is the Fourth of July I thought I would do a little something fireworks-related. Let’s look at a few things that could cause fireworks for the Giants in 2018, and counter that with some things that could cause the season to be a dud.
There will be fireworks if Odell Beckham Jr. and Saquon Barkley are healthy all season and as productive as most analysts believe they should be, especially if they get some help from Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard.
The season could be a dud if Beckham’s contract becomes a problem, he doesn’t show up, or he shows up is unhappy and his play suffers. Or, if Beckham somehow isn’t the same explosive player he was before his fractured ankle.
There will be fireworks if the Giants are right about Eli Manning. If last season’s numbers were more about the lack of talent around him than slippage on his part, and he can still make all the necessary throws, he should have plenty of talent around him.
The season could be a dud if the Giants are wrong about Manning. If he can’t consistently deliver the ball on time, accurately and with enough zip to fit into small windows the Giants won’t be able to maximize their weapons. Things will be the same if Manning gets hurt and Davis Webb or Kyle Lauletta isn’t yet up to the challenge of playing winning football on a consistent basis.
There will be fireworks if the rebuilt offensive line is solid, giving the Giants a chance to run the ball and take advantage of the variety of weapons they possess in the passing game.
The season could be a dud if the line is different, but doesn’t prove to be any better than the one that came before it. You can’t maximize weapons if you can’t run block or give the quarterback time to do more than unload the ball before he gets crushed.
There will be fireworks if defensive coordinator James Bettcher is able to match the success he had the past three seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, top 10 in yards allowed each year.
The season could be a dud if Bettcher can’t conjure up a pass rush where there doesn’t appear to be one, or if the Giants’ lack of depth at cornerback comes back to haunt them.
There will be fireworks if Pat Shurmur is able to translate his success as an offensive coordinator into success as a head coach. The spring was a good start, but the games will be the real test.
The season could be a dud if Shurmur can’t improve upon the 9-23 mark he compiled in two seasons as head coach of the Cleveland Browns.
All kidding aside about fireworks, please be careful out there if you are setting them off or around people who are doing so. Let’s all have a happy, safe, Fourth of July!