“Counterparts to be counted on” is a 32-part series where we the “Front Office” of www.couchpotatogm.com analyze one offensive player and one defensive player on each team that MUST have a particularly strong individual season in 2016 for their respective teams to have a successful 2016 campaign. The New York Giants made splash after splash during free agency but was it enough for them to overtake Washington in 2016?
New York Giants “Counterparts to be Counted On” 2016
The New York “Football” Giants had an off-season to remember. With the retiring of Tom Coughlin (I say that as sarcastically as I can) the promotion of offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo to head coach, the big time FA signings of Janoris Jenkins, Olivier Vernon, Damon “Snacks” Harrison, and Leon Hall, and the drafting of big name player like Eli Apple and Sterling Shephard. The temperature of the seat in which GM Jerry Reese sits on in Metlife Stadium is at an all-time high. And if you dont know what I am talking about, let me throw some figures at you. Reese opened the pocket book to the tune of $200 million for those prized free agents. The scuttlebutt is this may be Reese’s last year if the Giants don’t make a move into the post season or beyond; Reese will be in the unemployment line. To be honest I like the thought process, “If I’m going down I’m going down my way.” Don’t stand pat and think everything will just fix itself. I mean if you had carte blanche to save your job and spending that kind of money wouldn’t you? The Giants gave up 420 yards a game last year worst in the NFL, 4,783 total yards worst in the NFL, and 298.9 passing yards a game, again worst in the league.
Eli Manning – Eli’s best season statistically was in 2011 when he threw for 4,933 yards to the likes of Victor Cruz (82/1536), Mario Manningham (39/523), Hakeem Nicks (76/1192), and Jake Ballard (38/604). Five years later the weapons are back, Odell Beckham Jr., Will Tye, Sterling Shepard, and Victor Cruz. I know Shepard is a rookie but he was the most NFL ready WR coming out and has shown it since he has hit the field during the off-season. With two of the four teams (Dallas/Eagles) in the division having question marks on the defensive side of the ball I see Eli and those weapons dominating the competition. Also they have a favorable schedule outside of the divison playing the secondaries of the Lions, Browns, Steelers, and Saints.
I do have a couple of concerns, protecting Eli and running the ball to mitigate the blitz. I know the Giants want a combo one-two punch out the backfield. And if they find that it should improve help the o-line protect Manning.
Olivier Vernon – The $85 million man! Vernon has played for the Dolphins for the first four years of his career and has taken the QB down 29 times, 2013 being his biggest year where he hit the double digit mark with 11.5 sacks. With the money he signed for, I am looking for Vernon to ball and have a 16-to-18 sack season. Vernon is not unfamiliar with playing with talent such as Cameron Wake and Ndamukong Suh. With all the talent that was added this off-season (re-signing Jason Pierre-Paul and Snacks Harrison) there is no reason that front shouldn’t own the line of scrimmage. The Gaints have one of the deepest CB groups in tbe league with a mixture of youth and experience. I question the safety position (a lot of youth) but that may not matter because of the this down line. And with the linebacker core in flux the front 4 MUST pick up the pace. With an actual proven guy at the helm running the Giants defense in Steve Spagnuolo, unlike in Miami 2015, Olivier will be put in the best position to succeed. Vernon’s success will be pivotal in determining how successful the Giants will be in 2016.