- HOW WILL NAT BERHE AFFECT THE SAFETY COMPETITION?**
When asked early in the offseason about the safety situation and the Giants not returning any starters at the position, Berhe said he wouldn't be here if he couldn't play. Unfortunately, a calf injury put that thought on hold this spring as Cooper Taylor and rookie second-round pick Landon Collins lined up as the top safety tandem during organized team activities (OTAs) and minicamp. Now we'll wait to see if Berhe can make up for lost time.
"That hurts tremendously because all the reps that Cooper and Landon and Mykkele [Thompson] and some of the other guys have taken, Nat would have been right in there with all the other guys," safeties coach David Merritt said. "By him standing on the sideline and taking mental reps – I understand you are taking mental reps, but it is different. It is not the same as putting your body through the motions and making your body react to different movements that the receivers are stemming at you. It is going to definitely hurt him and set him back a little bit, but hopefully he can come back at training camp and be ready to fight for a starting job."
2. WHAT IS THE STATUS OF JASON PIERRE-PAUL?
The Giants designated Pierre-Paul as their franchise player in March, but the sixth-year defensive end has not signed his one-year tender after not participating in spring workouts with the team. Meanwhile, Pierre-Paul reportedly suffered serious hand injuries during a fireworks accident over the July 4 weekend. It is sure to be one of the first things coach Tom Coughlin is asked about when the Giants open training camp.
3. HOW DO THE GIANTS PICK UP STEVE SPAGNUOLO'S DEFENSE?
During non-contact spring practices, defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo got a feel of how his players were picking up the new scheme "from chin to hairline."
But as the intensity of a new season picks up and the pads come on for the first time, the architect of the defense from Super Bowl XLII will truly start to know what he has in his current unit, both mentally and now physically.
"There will come a point as we get closer to that first game when we are going to have to make a decision and say, 'This is it,'" Spagnuolo said during last month's training camp. "If we do too much, we become less as a unit. You are always weighing that out on either side of the ball in anything you do in this league, is the too much. 'Don't let their mind clutter up their feet' is one of the sayings. I will always go back on that. I did even the other places I went to. We will be careful of that. I think our guys are handling it right now. There is a ways to go. We are going to make those kinds of decisions as we go along the way here."
4. WHERE DO FREE AGENTS FIT IN?
In addition to signing running back Shane Vereen, wide receiver Dwayne Harris and tackle Marshall Newhouse on offense, the Giants also bolstered their defense in free agency by picking up defensive end George Selvie, linebackers J.T. Thomas III and Jonathan Casillas, defensive tackle Kenrick Ellis and, most recently, veteran safety Jeromy Miles.
There is a unique blend of young players, veterans and first-year Giants, and we'll see how the pieces fit together starting in training camp.
5. WHO WILL EMERGE AS THE LEADER ON THE FIELD?
For consecutive years, the Giants have parted ways with their defensive co-captains. After the 2013 season, longtime Giant and defensive end Justin Tuck signed with Oakland, and this past offseason it was safety Antrel Rolle who went to Chicago as a free agent.
The Giants will turn to middle linebacker Jon Beason, who became an instant leader on the team when he arrived in a trade from Carolina midway through the 2013 season. After him, the defense can also take the lead of players like cornerback Prince Amukamara, who is one of the few remaining Giants from Super Bowl XLVI.