Cruz, Beckham Jr., and Randle will be the NFL's most productive WR trio.**
SALOMONE: Fact.This offense has the potential to do something special in 2015 after climbing into the top 10 last year in Ben McAdoo's first run as offensive coordinator. Add in the return of Victor Cruz and the signing of Shane Vereen, and defenses are going to have to pick their poison when defending the Giants.
That will open things up greatly for the wide receivers, and the trio of Cruz, Odell Beckham Jr. and Rueben Randle, who was just 62 yards shy of 1,000 yards last season. Getting all three together could add up to a big year.
MEDOW: Fact:Assuming everyone stays healthy, the upside for this group is through the roof because there's a great deal of versatility. What separates the Giants from the rest of the pack is an experienced third option in the receiving corp. Rueben Randle is coming off an impressive 2014 campaign in which he set career highs in receptions and receiving yards and if he can build off that production, it's very difficult to find another team in the NFL that has that much depth within its top three receivers.
A number of teams have dynamic duos but are lacking a consistent third option and others have three notable receivers but that third option is still young and unproven. For example, the Packers have Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson but Davante Adams is entering just his second year in the league and the Colts showcase TY Hilton and Andre Johnson but, like Adams in Green Bay, Donte Moncrief is an emerging young player. The only team that comes close to matching the Giants firepower is the Redskins, who have Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson and veteran Andre Roberts.
Last season, Beckham and Randle combined for over 2,000 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns and that was mainly without Cruz on the field. With the latter back in the mix in 2015, you figure those impressive numbers will only increase.
A defense picks up a new scheme quicker than an offense.
SALOMONE: Fact. **Every team is different and neither is an easy task by any means, but the verbiage is just so robust on offense and can greatly alter from one coordinator to another. Starting with the quarterback, that puts a lot on the shoulders of the offense, whereas defense inherently relies more on instincts and athleticism because it is reactionary.
MEDOW: Fact: You don't have look too far for a perfect example because the Giants have experienced both changes within the last decade. In 2007, when Steve Spagnuolo took over as defensive coordinator, the defense struggled at the start, surrendering 80 points in the first two games combined against the Cowboys and Packers.
Things started to turn around in the third game of the season against the Redskins, which ignited a six-game winning streak in which New York's D allowed an average of just 16 points per game, a drastic improvement from the first two contests. Last season, in Ben McAdoo's first season as offensive coordinator, the Giants offense finished the season in the top ten in the rankings but there were a few ups and downs. The unit clearly progressed and production increased as the season went along, but it took until the last few weeks of the season when Eli Manning and company were fully comfortable and firing on all cylinders. While a new offense and a new defense both take time to be fully implemented, it takes slightly longer for the offense to get rolling.
Ereck Flowers will be the starting left tackle in Week 1.
SALOMONE: Fact. As Justin Pugh said yesterday, he's still a guard, and that's means Flowers is still the left tackle as training camp opens at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. **As it currently stands, I don't see that changing. Flowers was expected to start right away -- maybe not at left tackle initially -- and we'll see how he handles it when the pads come on. Meanwhile, Pugh, a former first-round pick who started right away as well, will be next to him as a bridge of communication.
"To come in and play as a rookie right away—I have some experience with that—is just really getting an understanding of the plays inside and out," Pugh said regarding Flowers. "I think that's going to be the biggest obstacle for him. It was for me. So we're just there for him to lean on us and I think we'll be alright."
MEDOW: Fact: Barring an injury, I don't see another player being inserted into the left tackle spot. Based on last season, continuity and consistency on the o-line is priority number one. The only way to accomplish that feat is if the same group of players line up next to one another for an extended period of time. I've been emphasizing this all off-season and I'm not going to starting singing a different tune now. Ereck Flowers has assumed the left tackle spot since Will Beatty was injured in May and I don't think the Giants will play a game of musical chairs moving forward.
Three different rookies will start at least one game in 2015.
SALOMONE: Fact.Based on lineups in the spring, Ereck Flowers and Landon Collins are locked in at left tackle and safety, respectively. Things happen over the course of a 16-game season, and I wouldn't be surprised if another makes a start at some point. Last year we saw four make at least six starts -- Odell Beckham Jr., Weston Richburg, Andre Williams, and Devon Kennard -- and they were effective.
MEDOW: Fact: It's safe to assume that Ereck Flowers and Landon Collins will make plenty of starts on the offensive line and at safety, so all you need is one other rookie to start at least one game throughout the season for this statement to come true. I would say there's a good chance that happens, and it will most likely be Owa Odighizuwa.
Given that Steve Spagnuolo has a track record of rotating defensive linemen, that Odighizuwa can play on the outside and the inside and that injuries are a part of the game, this increases his chances of making at least one start.