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‘Things I think’ as the Giants’ preseason comes to a close

National narratives and other things on my mind today

NFL: AUG 25 New England Patriots New York Giants Joint Training Camp Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Let’s take some time today to go through a few ‘Things I Think’ as your New York Giants gets set to close their preseason with a Sunday evening game at MetLife Stadium against the New England Patriots.

No sale!

I think I’m not buying what Jason LaCanfora of CBS Sports is selling. In case you missed mention of it in Saturday’s morning link post, LaCanfora is peddling the idea that the Giants are one of six teams headed for “ugly” 2021 seasons. He has the Giants lumped in with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Houston Texans, Cincinnati Bengals, New York Jets and Detroit Lions.

LaCanfora writes:

New York’s other team has had an even more eventful summer. For all the wrong reasons. A flurry of sudden retirements, some among veterans being counted on. Kenny Golladay missing time. Kadarius Toney missing time (at least he finally has two cleats that fit him), Daniel Jones ending up at the bottom of pile-ups during fights among his teammates. No one quite sure when Saquon Barkley will be back, and whenever he is back, there will still be big-time concerns about this porous offensive line. “They built that offense backwards, which goes against everything Dave believes in,” one executive said of GM Dave Gettleman, noting the outlays to receivers and dependent positions but not up front. Head coach Joe Judge had a rocky first season and drama seems to follow this bunch around on a weekly basis. Plenty of evaluators are skeptical that Jones will thrive in this environment.

I get it. The Giants and Dave Gettleman are an easy punching bag. They have had a largely miserable decade. The have gone 15-33 in three seasons of Gettleman’s stewardship. The Giants are a pinata with a squishy middle — they are easy and kinda fun to poke at.

There are plenty of questions. Daniel Jones. The offensive line. The health of many key players. Whether the defense actually overachieved in 2020 and will take a step back. Whether Joe Judge will ultimately be a winning head coach.

I am never going to be a homer. I simply can’t be that negative right now. Entering the year I see the Giants as a middle of the road team that should, reasonably, be expected to win eight or nine games. To me, they are standing at that fork in the road. Will circumstances lead them south, to a five- or six-win season? Will circumstances lead them north, to 10 or maybe 11 wins and a playoff berth?

The injuries to key players have made it more difficult to be optimistic, sure. Maybe it will be an ugly year. As I sit here at the end of August, though, I think chances are LaCanfora will end up being wrong.

Riddick’s rant

I think this must be ‘Ed Takes on National Narratives Day.’

You may have also seen Louis Riddick’s rant about the Giants’ offensive line in our Saturday link post, or elsewhere.

I absolutely understand criticizing the Giants’ decisions along the offensive line. The Giants have chosen a path not many would have taken. They pushed all of their chips to the center of the table on an unproven group, believing their initial evaluations were correct and that experience combined with better, more stable coaching than the group got a year ago will lead to better performance.

It’s easy to criticize the Andrew Thomas choice after one season. It’s easy to go back and criticize the money spent on Nate Solder. It’s easy to wonder why the Giants did not add an offensive lineman in the draft, which is something they probably should have done.

I think “mismanaged in epic proportions” is over the top, though. I think the Giants have taken a big gamble here, which I’m sure they are doing with their eyes wide open. We will see over the next 17 games if it pays off. I think Gettleman knows if it blows up he will be a retired GM sipping his favorite beverage at the beach in Cape Cod a year from now.

I don’t know Riddick. I do know that he understands more about football than I ever will. I just wonder if he is objective when it comes to the Giants after being bypassed in favor of Gettleman for the GM job.

Remember, it’s the ‘initial’ 53

The 53-man roster the Giants announce Tuesday afternoon is going to leave you scratching your head. That is guaranteed. You are going to wonder why Player A or Player B made the roster. You are going to be ticked off because one of your favs did not. You are going to be confused by why the Giants kept a gazillion players at one position and didn’t seem to keep enough at another. You are still going to be annoyed that Tom Quinn is part of the coaching staff.

Well, relax. Chill. Don’t lose any sleep. Or think Joe Judge has lost his mind. I didn’t say Dave Gettleman because I know many of you think he has already lost his.

Remember, like the subhead says, this is the ‘initial’ 53. It is NOT the 53-man roster the Giants will have when they face the Denver Broncos in the season opener on Sept. 12.

There are waiver claims and free-agent signings coming. Maybe a trade or two. If the Giants go light at, say, tight end maybe it’s because they know they are looking to add a player there. If they go heavy at another position maybe it is to give themselves maneuverability both roster-wise and financially when they get a look at which players other teams make available.

I think it’s what I think

Yours truly was one of — I believe — nine New York/New Jersey based media members who made the trip to Foxborough, Mass. for Giants joint practices with the New England Patriots. It has been pointed out to me over and over that my report on Thursday’s practice was different from the others. Far less critical of the Giants’ offensive line, Matt Peart in particular, than some of the other practice reports you may have read.

I’m not here to rehash that. From 200 yards away through a pair of binoculars if you remembered to bring them to the field it’s darn near impossible to pinpoint exactly what happened on any given play with 22 bodies moving around a football field at a high rate of speed.

My point is I will always tell you what I think. What I see and what I believe regarding what is going on. Not what someone else, or a group of someone else’s, thinks.

If I don’t see exactly what someone else sees, oh well. Whether I end up right or wrong, you will get what I think. Not what anyone else tells me I should think. I hope that’s part of the reason you come here.

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