From Brian Daboll and Joe Schoen to Wink Martindale and Mike Kafka, the season ahead marks the beginning of new era for the Giants. With significant change comes speculation, but as the Giants kick off the early stages of training camp, the team offers a glimpse into how the pieces of the puzzle fit together. Accordingly, NFL Network's Brian Baldinger joined the Giants Huddle podcast to discuss the implications of recent organization-wide changes as well as his predictions for the road ahead.
When asked about the Giants' revamped offensive line, Baldinger said, "I think they've got a five that you can count on right now." He added that the starting five's productivity is contingent upon "timing, coaching points [and] learning the offense."
The Giants' free agency acquisitions, right guard Mark Glowinski and center Jon Feliciano, add an additional element to the equation. These two grizzled veterans may be instrumental in helping the starting five to find their footing.
"I feel like if you've been around and you've played with different people like Glow and Feliciano have, I think it's a little bit easier because at some point, you're talking the same language," said Baldinger, who played 143 NFL games in his career. " You might have called it something different in Indianapolis or in Buffalo, but here you can figure out what it is." He continued, "There's always game day situations, like how do we get to the mike linebacker? You've got to fix it game day. How do we handle this pressure that were getting? This isn't what we walked through or talked about all week. We have got to fix it now. That's next level stuff you can do with experienced guys."
Shane Lemieux, who has been playing left guard, is in a unique situation following an injury to his left knee's patella tendon in Week 1. Baldinger commended Lemieux, describing him as "tougher than nails." His value to the offensive line rests on his ability to prepare "week in and week out" and understand his opponents.
On rookie right tackle Evan Neal, Baldinger said starting 41 games in a row at the University of Alabama is a testament to his success, but his future in the league will require that he get used to the speed of the game. He also explained that Kafka's offense will need to work together. The offensive line is under a tremendous amount of pressure to perform against the backdrop of a big spread offense.
Meanwhile, starting quarterback Daniel Jones will need to perfect his timing as well as his ability to hold up in the pocket.
"The quarterback has got to be at depth because if they send an extra guy the way Wink will or overload one side and bring an extra guy than you can block, you got to have a game plan," Baldinger said.
Baldinger was also optimistic about Jones' motion and mobility, observing progress throughout camp: "I saw that today. I saw that today. They ran a lot in the third down and offense today. Red zone offense. There was a quick, a tempo to it."
On the defensive side of the ball, Martindale's blitz-happy mindset is just the tip of the iceberg. Baldinger said of the new defensive strategy: "Wink's philosophy is never going to change. You've got to hit the quarterback. You have to affect the quarterback. There's a lot of different ways to do it."
Baldinger projected rookie Kayvon Thibodeaux to be crucial in executing Martindale's aggressive strategy.
Baldinger also noted that perhaps safeties Xavier McKinney and Julian Love will find themselves in unexpected roles. "You're going to see safeties on blitzes out of disguise looks," he said. "Where the speed to the quarterback is as important as having a guy like [Azeez] Ojulari or Kayvon that can beat and win one-on-ones. [Martindale's] ability to scheme pre-hitters to the quarterback is as good as there is in this league."
View photos of the New York Giants' 2022 roster as it currently stands.