The New York Giants lack a bonafide edge-rusher on their defense. DeAndre Baker’s arrest has once again led to question marks in their secondary. There’s also expected to be a three-way battle this training camp at center between an NFL journeyman and two other players, each of whom have zero experience at the position. Yet those positional concerns pale in consideration to Big Blue’s “biggest weakness” in 2020, quarterback. That is, if you take Sports Illustrated’s Connor Orr’s word for it.
When breaking down the biggest weakness for all 32 teams for the upcoming NFL season, Orr landed on Daniel Jones and his fellow Giants quarterbacks as New York’s biggest concern.
QUARTERBACK: I think a more imaginative approach to the offense, and a healthy Saquon Barkley, will alleviate a lot of Daniel Jones’s struggles in 2019, as terrible and dated as that sounds. The Giants also theoretically improved their offensive line drastically with the selection of Andrew Thomas at No. 4 in the draft. Still, we’re going off what we know at the moment, and last year the Giants were incredibly ineffective throwing the ball especially against zone defenses. The Giants were also among the worst teams in the NFL against the blitz and when facing pressure.
An Improved O-Line Should Mean an Improved Daniel Jones
Orr essentially makes the point as to why quarterback shouldn’t be listed as Big Blue’s “biggest weakness” in his explanation as to why it is.
Yes, the Giants struggled against pressure a season ago, but as he noted, an improved offensive line should dramatically improve the offense’s numbers against the blitz.
The team used the 4th-overall selection in April’s NFL Draft on potential franchise tackle, Andrew Thomas. They followed up that pick by nabbing Matt Peart and Shane Lemieux with two of their next four selections, both of whom should have a realistic chance of getting legitimate playing time in 2020, more so Lemieux. The team also added Cam Fleming in free agency. While not the sexiest of signees, he’s a proven swing tackle with spot-starting abilities.
In terms of the quarterback position itself, the Giants’ backup situation behind their starter is arguably as good as it’s been in a long time. The Giants are just one football season removed from Alex Tanney serving as their QB2. Now, with the addition of veteran Colt McCoy, a wily 10-year veteran, as well as “coach’s pet” Cooper Rush, not to mention promising UDFA Case Cookus, the team has a handful of reliable options behind Jones.
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Jones’ Safety Blankets
A healthy Saquon Barkley should do wonders for Jones in 2020, especially when under pressure. An injury-riddled 2019 season led to Barkley’s reception count dropping from 91 in his rookie campaign to just 52 a season ago.
Believe it or not, players such as Elijhaa Penny and Jon Hilliman just don’t offer the same type of safety net as Barkley in the flats. This is likely a big reason for Jones owning the seventh-lowest check-down rate amongst starting quarterbacks in 2019.
This coming season Jones will have not only Barkley but also receiving-back Dion Lewis at his disposal, which in return should lead to a more sound Jones under pressure.
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