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Fact or Fiction: Saquon's role in passing game; McKinney to the Pro Bowl?


The crew is presented with four statements and must decide whether they are Fact or Fiction.

The Giants' offense will be more creative than the defense

Lance Medow: Fiction - Both facets will be on equal footing with respect to play-calling. Brian Daboll, Mike Kafka and Wink Martindale will be moving around personnel and trying to tap into the versatility of the roster. You'll get a taste of that on both sides of the ball as several players on offense can be used out of the backfield as well as in the passing game while on defense, the aggressive nature of Martindale's scheme calls for the personnel alignment to keep the opponets offense guessing. Placing secondary players at linebacker and near the line of scrimmage certainly falls under the umbrella of creativity.

Dan Salomone: Fact – Since this isn't called "Fact and Fiction," it's unfortunate to have to pick a side here. The real answer is both will be aggressive and creative. We know all about Wink Martindale's philosophy. He will never drive home after a game and say to himself, "Gee, I wish I blitzed more." But on offense, you have Brian Daboll's philosophy mixed with Mike Kafka's flare from Andy Reid.

Matt Citak: Fact – Everyone knows Wink Martindale loves to blitz. The defensive coordinator has a lot of success in Baltimore with his creative blitzing schemes, and that isn't going to change now that he's with the Giants. But the offense now has two very smart offensive minds behind it between Brian Daboll and Mike Kafka. With those two creating the playbook, you can expect a ton of creativity within the Giants' offense this season. Just think of everything we've seen from the Bills and Chiefs offenses over the past few years.

Saquon Barkley will have more receiving yards than rushing attempts

Lance Medow: Fact - Despite dealing with several injuries, Saquon Barkley has had more receiving yards than rushing attempts in all four of his NFL seasons; so there's a very good chance the trend will continue. Then, take into consideration how much they'll likely move personnel around within the offense, that bodes well for Barkley to do even more damage as a receiver. You can't guarantee he'll duplicate his rookie totals of 91 catches for 721 yards but, assuming he stays healthy, he should surpass his 2019 and '21 numbers in both categories when he played in 13 games in each of those seasons.

Dan Salomone: Fact – One of the biggest takeaways from the spring has been how much Saquon Barkley figures to be used as a receiver. Granted, OTAs and minicamp are dominated by the passing game, but Daboll will play to Barkley's strengths, which includes his hands and making plays in space.

Matt Citak: Fact – Although injuries have derailed Barkley over the past few seasons, let's not forget he matched the franchise rookie record with 91 receptions. Barkley finished 2018 with an impressive 721 receiving yards and a league-high 2,028 total yards from scrimmage. On the flip side, his career-high in rushing attempts is 261 in 16 games in 2018. One figures that if Barkley can remain healthy, the talented back should easily be able to top that number with his yardage in the passing game.

View the best photos from mandatory minicamp at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

The biggest training camp competition will be at tight end

Lance Medow: Fiction - Could there be an undrafted player that emerges at tight end? Sure, but, as it stands right now, you can have a pretty good idea of which three players will assume roles at that position: Rick Seals-Jones, Jordan Akins and Daniel Bellinger. The first two are veterans added in free agency with connections to members of the coaching staff while Bellinger was one of the team's fourth-round picks. How those tight ends will be utilized and their snap counts from game to game remains a bit of a question mark, there's not as big of a mystery over the roster spots. Wide receiver has more competition than tight end, especially when it likely comes down to the final two slots on the 53-man roster.

Dan Salomone: Fact – Center Jon "Dirtbag" Feliciano had a great line when a reporter asked him about rookie tight end Daniel Bellinger's blocking prowess. "I mean, I think this is a passing camp, you know what I'm saying?" he said, smiling. Like linemen, you can't evaluate tight ends during non-contact spring practices. The Giants have new players up and down the rep chart at tight end, so it will make for an intriguing training camp story line when the pads come on.

Matt Citak: Fact – The Giants have several intriguing training camp competitions at different positions, including left guard, safety and cornerback. However, the battle for the starting tight end spot might just be the most up in the air. The Giants have two veteran options in Ricky Seals-Jones and Jordan Akins, along with fourth-round pick Daniel Bellinger. All three figure to make the 53-man roster, but the big question is about which one ends up in the starting lineup.

Xavier McKinney is the player most likely to make his first Pro Bowl this year

Lance Medow: Fact - Keep in mind, when you're assessing the chances of a player making the Pro Bowl, it's more about the competition at that position in the conference than anything else. That's why Xavier McKinney fits the bill. Last season, the four NFC safeties were Quandre Diggs of the Seahawks, the Buccaneers' Antoine Winfield Jr, Budda Baker of the Cardinals and the Vikings' Harrison Smith. Although Diggs, Baker and Smith have been common selections over the last few seasons, Winfield made the Pro Bowl for the first time in 2021. McKinney received plenty of attention last season and was in the mix for a spot, thanks to his opportunistic plays. It's not a stretch for him to break through in 2022.

Dan Salomone: Fact – Julian Love was going to dye his hair half-blond if McKinney made the Pro Bowl last year. It was looking like he would have to deliver on the promise as McKinney, with the trademark look, became the only defensive back in the NFL last season with at least 90 tackles, 10 passes defensed and five interceptions. While it wasn't enough to get him to the all-star game, he is certainly on the radar in 2022, which is half the battle.

Matt Citak: Fact – The Giants have several players who could make a push toward their first Pro Bowl selection this year, but McKinney is the most likely to do so. There is an argument to be made that McKinney should have made the Pro Bowl last year with his five interceptions and overall strong play. Nonetheless, if McKinney's performance continues on its most recent trajectory - he missed a large portion of his rookie season with a foot injury - then it would be shocking for the young safety to NOT make his first Pro Bowl this year.

View photos of the New York Giants' 2022 roster as it currently stands.


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