ESPN Insider Shares Surprising Prediction for Giants Training Camp

Giants Defense

Getty The New York Giants want to field an aggressive defense in 2022.

Over the next month, NFL fans are going to learn a lot about the New York Giants. The team is about to open its first training camp under head coach Brian Daboll, with a roster assembled by first-year general manager Joe Schoen.

ESPN’s network of NFL insiders compiled training camp predictions for all 32 teams, and team beat writer Jordan Raanan delivered an interesting one for the Giants: The defense will “dominate” training camp.

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Here’s Raanan’s full prediction, via ESPN:

The Giants’ defense will look really good this summer. Yep, a unit with major questions at three of the five starting spots in the secondary (including nickel cornerback) is going to dominate training camp. Defensive coordinator Wink Martindale has some rushers in his aggressive scheme that will test a new-look offensive line and affect the quarterback. First-round pick Kayvon Thibodeaux will be back after missing the spring with a minor injury. His first step will be noticeable. With the Giants and quarterback Daniel Jones still working on timing in their new offense, it will be an advantage to the defense all summer long just as it was in 2014 when Eli Manning was throwing interceptions left and right (often multiple per day) learning Ben McAdoo’s offense before having a strong season.

Raanan specifically mentioned outside linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux as a player to watch at training camp, but he is far from the only potential standout in New York’s defensive front seven.

On the edge opposite Thibodeaux, the Giants have second-year pro Azeez Ojulari (8.0 sacks as a rookie in 2021). In between those two, the Giants have some very talented defensive linemen, including Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence. The linebacker unit is anchored by veteran Blake Martinez, who missed most of last season with a torn ACL.

Raanan accurately points out a few question marks in the defensive backfield. Adoree’ Jackson is the No. 1 cornerback, following the departure of James Bradberry. Second-year corner Aaron Robinson is expected to step up as the No. 2. Either Darnay Holmes or third-round rookie Cor’Dale Flott will man the slot. While safety Xavier McKinney has Pro Bowl potential, the Giants are counting on Julian Love (16 career starts) to step up and assume the starting role next to him at training camp.

Despite the uncertainty on the back end, Raanan is confidant enough to say this unit will “dominate” training camp.

Wink Martindale Wants to Field an Aggressive Defense

Training camp will provide Giants fans with a first impression of defensive coordinator Wink Martindale’s overall philosophy. We’ve already seen from a mic’d up feature that Martindale wants New York’s defense to be aggressive.

“We’re gonna attack people,” Martindale said. “I’m not gonna be one of those coordinators who just sits there and just says, ‘Four-man rush coverage.’ There will be times for that, of course. But we wanna handle things on our terms, not theirs.”

We also know from this same feature that Martindale has a five-point defensive vision for the Giants:

  • Fast and Physical
  • 1 Play at a Time Mentality
  • Stop the Run
  • Attack and Affect the QB
  • Maximize our Personnel

When the Giants strap on the pads later this summer, we’ll see how well the defense adopts Martindale’s vision.

What Role Does the Offense Play in This Prediction?

There’s an important distinction to be made here. Saying the Giants defense will “look good” doesn’t mean it will actually be good, and saying the unit will “dominate” doesn’t mean it will be dominant. There’s enough wiggle room in Raanan’s prediction to assume that the defense may be successful as the result of a struggling offense.

Raanan warned as much in the second half of his prediction, mentioning that quarterback Daniel Jones and the rest of the Giants offense are learning a new playbook. There could be some bumps in the road at training camp, and the defense will be looking to take advantage.

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Mitch Bookbinder
Mitch Bookbinder
18 days ago

The Defense needs to learn a completely new system just as much as the Offense.

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