For the first time in three years, the New York Giants welcomed fans back to training camp. On a hot Wednesday morning in East Rutherford, practice was in full force. Going into the season, it’s hard to know the expectations of this Giants team. I tried to capture my expectations here with my Giants schedule prediction.
Giants head coach Brian Daboll made his vision clear when asked about the identity of his new team and organization:
"We're looking for smart, tough, dependable people in our organization"
Brian Daboll on his vision for the identity of the Giants: pic.twitter.com/H5Uj8MmZv7
— Giants Videos (@SNYGiants) July 27, 2022
Here are a few reflections I had from Giants training camp:
1. Sizable crowd, but not overly crowded:
The bleachers started to fill out as practice went on, but the the attendance was not something to brag about. The fans in New York love their Giants, but they also want to earn respect from the team. Since the Giants last made the playoffs in 2016, they have accumulated a 22-59 record. Like most things in sports, winning will take care of everything. If the Giants can put together a decent season with a direction, it will only help build fan excitement. Losing takes a toll on a fanbase, and that reflection showed today in attendance.
2. Faces of the franchise:
It’s no secret that quarterback Daniel Jones, and running back Saquon Barkley will both be closely watched this season. Jones coming off a season in which he only played 11 games, and Barkley coming off a disappointing year, have to prove capable and durable. Jones and Barkley were by far the two biggest supported Giants in terms of jerseys in the crowd. The 25 year olds have each shown flashes in their young careers, but need to get their acts together and become the dynamic playmakers the Giants hoped for.
The Giants coaching staff also looks to be experimenting more with Barkley as a receiver in the redzone. In 2021, Barkley was only targeted in the red zone three times, making one catch for one touchdown. With impressive catches like this, Saquon should be seeing more passes inside the 20.
Saquon Barkley doing Saquon Barkley things.pic.twitter.com/GaaGOW9sVF
— Pro Football Network (@PFN365) July 27, 2022
Furthermore, Daniel Jones looked good as well. With his contract situation uncertain, he knows that good play will take care of everything:
Daniel Jones on his contract situation:
"My focus is to prepare as well as I can and win games. If I do that, the rest of it will take care of itself." pic.twitter.com/Ku1aDORM7v
— Giants Videos (@SNYGiants) July 27, 2022
Jones looked up and down in the 11 on 11 drills, but thats not uncommon as the Giants try to integrate a new offensive system under coach Daboll. A big part of the offensive success will be how well Jones and second year wide receiver Kadarius Toney click.
Toney has the ability and explosiveness to make things happen, and that was put on display this morning with a catch like this:
Kadarius Toney showing out 👀👀
— NFL on CBS 🏈 (@NFLonCBS) July 27, 2022
The Giants will also look to take advantage of Daniel Jones legs this season, seen here with a QB draw in the red zone drill:
That’s a Daniel Jones red zone TD run. pic.twitter.com/hmke0RigXL
— Paul Schwartz (@NYPost_Schwartz) July 27, 2022
Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley, and Kadarius Toney will be the driving forces to improve a Giants offense that ranked second to last with 15.2 points per game last season.
3. Active Head Coach:
Normally the first day of training camp has a light hearted unserious vibe to it, this felt different. Coach Brian Daboll was very active talking to his team and looked all business. It is evident Daboll is putting an emphasis on red zone offense, as the Giants practiced that for a long time. As the offensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills last season, Dabolls offense finished first in the NFL in red zone scoring percentage for touchdowns. The new coach talked a lot to his quarterback in between snaps, encouraging him after good and bad plays. It will be a work in progress, but everything starts with day one. Giants fans are hopeful the new head coach can utilize the strength and power of Daniel Jones like he successfully was able to do with Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen.
Daboll will have to work diligently and carefully with Daniel Jones to clean up throws and mistakes in critical areas like this:
Darnay Holmes makes a nice RZ interception off Daniel Jones pic.twitter.com/5NSlFqChkK
— Talkin’ Giants (@TalkinGiants) July 27, 2022
Brian Daboll was also hyping up his red zone defense, loudly yelling “Finish finish” as he tried to motivate them through the hot practice session.
The Giants have a lot of work to do with the season approaching, but this was a good start. Emphasis on red zone offense, shows a confidence that Daboll thinks his team will have a lot of opportunities in that area. It’s not always pretty with Daniel Jones, I think Giants fans have come to accept this, but he has the potential to be the franchise quarterback and get a second contract.
The jerseys available in the fan tent were: Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, Kenny Golladay, and Xavier McKinney. Most notably Kadarius Toney did not have his jersey on display for purchase. Back in April, it was reported that the Giants could be looking to move on from Toney. The Giants drafting Kentucky wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson with the 43rd pick, only strengthened the rumors. Fast forward three months later and a trade never happened. Toney is in full force this training camp and expectations are he will be the lead option out of the receiving room.
Today was a good start, more work ahead.
For more of my work:
Click here to read my New York Giants schedule prediction.
Click here to read my other pieces
Thanks for reading!