Pro Football Focus ranks Giants as one of the NFL's most improved offensive lines
The Giants made several moves this offseason to address the depth of the offensive line. First in free agency, the Giants signed two-time Super Bowl champion Cameron Fleming, who provides veteran experience.
The Giants made several additions to the line in last month's draft as well, as three of the team's first five picks were spent on protection up front. Georgia's two-time All-American tackle Andrew Thomas was taken with the fourth overall selection, while UConn's First-Team All-AAC was selected in the third round (99th overall). Oregon guard Shane Lemieux, a two-time Second-Team All-Pac-12 was selection, was the Giants' fifth-round pick, rounding out the team's strong draft class of linemen.
Pro Football Focus ranked the league's top five most improved offensive lines this offseason. Sure enough, the Giants landed on the list.
As PFF wrote, "(Thomas) came into the SEC as a freshman in 2017 and put up a 76.7 pass-blocking grade. To perform like that as a starting tackle in a conference where he was going up against quality talent on the edge week in and week out is impressive. All Thomas did from that point was improve, earning an 80.6 overall grade in 2018 and a 92.7 grade last season for Georgia. Nearly all offensive linemen struggle in their first season in the NFL, but Thomas has as good a chance as anyone in this class to handle the transition well and provide solid play out of the gate for the Giants. That alone is enough to land them on this list.
"The additions of Matt Peart and Shane Lemieux are likely depth moves for 2020, but both selections have some positives. Peart needs to add some strength, but his frame (namely his 36-plus inch arms) and light feet form an ideal combination for pass protection. If Lemieux wants to make an immediate impact, it will have to come at center — a position he never played at Oregon. Kevin Zeitler and Will Hernandez have the guard spots locked down for now, though, so it's unlikely that will be where he breaks through unless injuries crop up. Lemieux's strength comes as a run blocker (consecutive 75.0-plus run-blocking grades in 2018 and 2019).
"Both Peart and Lemieux are players who could develop into quality starters, but Thomas should be a quality NFL starter. That should be music to Giants' fans ears..."
Dalvin Tomlinson happy to be reunited with DC Patrick Graham
Entering his fourth NFL season, defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson currently holds the Giants' longest active starting streak. Tomlinson has started all 48 games since being drafted in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft and has been a consistent force year in and year out.
The 26-year-old was in his rookie season when Patrick Graham was serving his second year as the team's defensive line coach. Tomlinson put together a strong rookie campaign, finishing with 50 tackles (30 solo), 1.0 sack, one tackle for loss, one QB hit and one pass defended and earning a spot on the Pro Football Writers All-Rookie Team.
Graham is back with the Giants, now in the role of defensive coordinator/assistant head coach, and Tomlinson could not be happier about it.
"He's a great coach, super high energy," Tomlinson said of Graham. "He coaches you to the fullest because he wants the full potential brought out of you. Back then, the way he coached the D-line, you could just tell he was going to be a D-coordinator soon."
Tomlinson added, "There are similarities in pretty much every defense that we run. It's a change compared to different defenses we have run in the past. I feel like it's a great defense. I love the coach and I love the schematics we have put in so far."
Graham is not the only tie Tomlinson has to the new coaching staff. Of course, the defensive tackle played his college ball at Alabama under Nick Saban. But prior to arriving at Tuscaloosa, Tomlinson was recruited there by none other than Joe Judge, who was in his final year as an assistant under Saban.
"It's just crazy how small the world is," Tomlinson said in reference to now playing under Judge. "He's a great guy and so is the whole coaching staff. … Just make sure you are ready to work every day. Bring your A game and make sure everyone around you is ready to work. That's all you can do, come to work and do your best."
Daniel Jones focused on limiting turnovers in 2020
Daniel Jones had an encouraging first season in the NFL. In 13 games (12 starts), Jones threw for 3,027 yards and 24 touchdowns while gaining 279 yards and an additional two touchdowns on the ground. However, his rookie seasons did not come without some bumps along the way.
Jones threw 12 interceptions and lost 11 of his 18 fumbles in 2019. With the calendar now several months into 2020, the soon-to-be 23-year-old knows that reducing turnovers is his biggest priority entering Year 2.
"I think the biggest thing is ball security, and particularly in the pocket, protecting the ball," Jones said. "That's a fundamental skill that for the quarterback position, that's something that's crucial but also to me a fairly simple fix in that it's a mindfulness, being intentional with securing the ball, having two hands on it. When you're moving, when you're having to adjust in the pocket, you're maintaining that security. I'm trying to emphasize that, doing different drills and making sure that I'm always cognizant of that and being very intentional in that."
With the entire NFL quarantining at their respective homes, Jones is unable to work on this with teammates and Giants coaches. But the young quarterback, who is sheltering with his parents and three siblings in Charlotte, North Carolina, has a personal coach helping him prepare for the season during these unprecedented times.
"I've been working with a quarterback coach here," Jones said. "He's someone who has helped me with that and we've talked about it a lot. He'll make sure I'm staying on top of that while swatting at the ball and trying to simulate things that will happen in the game."