NBC Sports' Peter King sees big things for Evan Neal this year
NBC Sports' Peter King made his predictions for this year's postseason awards in his weekly "Football Morning in America" column. When it came to the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award, King had an interesting name listed among his three candidates - Giants right tackle Evan Neal.
Neal has only been in the NFL for a little over four months now, but the right tackle already feels like he has picked up on a few things to help improve his game leading up to the start of the regular season.
"The NFL is definitely a more technical," Neal said Monday on what he's learned about the NFL since being drafted. "I had to become more of a technician. I couldn't just rely so much on just my raw athleticism or talent. I had to become more of a technician as well, working on my pass sets, my set angles. I feel like I'm more comfortable in my sets. I'm using my hands more, and I feel like I'm more balanced as well, but obviously I have a lot of work that still needs to be done. I feel like my game is trending in the right direction."
King ended up picking New Orleans Saints WR Chris Olave as his OROY winner, with Houston Texans RB Dameon Pierce coming in second.
With the season set to kick off against the Titans this Sunday in Nashville, Neal has already made a great impression on his coaches and teammates, including his fellow starting offensive tackle.
"Evan is very mature for being a rookie the way he approaches every day – he's trying to get better," Andrew Thomas said last week. "He's taking care of his body, doing extra cardio or whatever he can to get better. I think he's doing a great job adjusting to that. Obviously, there's struggles when you first come into this league playing the tackle position, it's not easy, but he's doing a great job, and I think he has all the tools to be really good."
Since the award was created, no offensive lineman has ever been named Offensive Rookie of the Year. However, Kansas City Chiefs center Creed Humphrey and Los Angeles Chargers tackle Rashawn Slater both received votes for the award last year. Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase ended up winning the award.
Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (2014) and running back Saquon Barkley (2018) are the only Giants to receive the award in franchise history.
View the best photos of the Giants' 2022 rookie class from training camp and the preseason.
OC Mike Kafka to call plays in regular season
Coach Brian Daboll is officially relinquishing the duty he has held for nine seasons in his 25-year coaching career, including in each of the last five years.
The first-year head coach announced yesterday on a Zoom interview with reporters that offensive coordinator Mike Kafka will call the team's offensive plays when the season begins Sunday in Nashville against the Tennessee Titans.
Kafka called the plays in the Giants' three preseason games.
"I talked to Mike over the weekend," Daboll said. "We were working yesterday; talked to him today. I have a lot of confidence in Mike. We'll stay with how we did things in the preseason."
Kafka has never been a full-time play-caller. But he worked for Andy Reid, one of the NFL's most respected offensive coaches, the previous five seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, including the last four as quarterbacks coach (working with Patrick Mahomes). He was also the team's passing game coordinator the last two seasons.
Rookie wide receiver Wan'Dale Robinson enthusiastically endorsed Kafka.
"He knows how to get the guys matched up," Robinson said. "He's going to get us in a groove and get us going. Knows when to take the shots and things like that and get us in the best plays each and every play."
Q&A with Adoree' Jackson: Pivotal season for veteran CB
The Giants made some big changes on the defensive side of the ball this year, but one major piece returning to the unit in 2022 is cornerback Adoree' Jackson.
Now entering his sixth season in the NFL and his second with the Giants, Jackson is the veteran among the team's corners at just 26.
Jackson has leaned into his role as the most experienced player in the room throughout the off-season and summer. The Giants' No. 1 corner is now ready to carry that over into the regular season, starting this weekend with the Week 1 matchup against the Tennessee Titans.
Jackson recently sat down for an exclusive interview with Giants.com to discuss his new role as the veteran of the CB group, going up against opposing teams' No. 1 receivers, the new coaching staff and more.
Q: What excites you about going up against an opposing team's top receiver?
Jackson: I think what excites me the most is the competition level, especially when I'm able to go against (Kadarius Toney) KT, (Kenny Golladay) KG, (Darius Slayton) Slay, (David) Sills, Wan'Dale (Robinson). Man, it's just about the iron sharpens iron; and I remember when I was at USC, that's one of the things I was intrigued about. I used to tell the coaches, 'Let me go out there and compete' and just go against whoever they bring, whoever their best player was. So, it just speaks highly of you and then your staff, too. They believe in you. So, then you really got to believe in yourself. But when you have a coach or a system that believes in you and your abilities and lets you go out there and do your thing, I respect that a lot.
View photos of veteran cornerback Adoree' Jackson's time spent with the New York Giants.