With the calendar flipped to July, Giants.com asks 21 important questions heading into the team's 2021 training camp at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.
For 21 days, a member of the Giants.com crew will answer one question about the roster, coaching staff, schedule, and much more.
No. 18: What is the biggest strength of the Giants right now?
Lance Medow: The Giants finished last season 17th against the pass, but that group showed improvement in the second half of the year and added more talent this off-season. The acquisitions of Adoree' Jackson and rookie Aaron Robinson will only strengthen a unit that already has James Bradberry (coming off his first Pro Bowl season) to go with veteran safeties Logan Ryan and Jabrill Peppers. Bradberry, Jackson, Ryan and Peppers each have played at least four NFL seasons and provide positional versatility.
The Giants have a young nucleus of players, including Julian Love, Darnay Holmes, Xavier McKinney and Robinson, who also provide flexibility when it comes to player alignment. Let's also not forget McKinney missed the majority of the 2020 season due to a broken foot and only appeared in six games, so he's still scratching the surface of his potential on the professional level. This group puts New York in a good position to showcase depth and protect itself from injuries. The talented unit also will allow the team to play more man-to-man. Last season, Patrick Graham rotated the corner opposite Bradberry but, this year, with Jackson aboard, he'll likely be able to be more creative with who he utilizes in the slot and on the back end at safety.
Dan Salomone: They were better in Week 17 than they were in Week 1, which bodes well for the development of the team under Joe Judge. After the 1-7 start, the Giants went 5-3 in the second half of the season, including four consecutive wins (three of which were on the road at Washington, Cincinnati, and Seattle). The momentum was propelled by the defense, which allowed just below 20 points per contest over the final eight games. With the exception of co-captain Dalvin Tomlinson, who signed with the Vikings in free agency, the core not only stayed intact, but it also grew with additions like cornerback Adoree' Jackson and edge rusher Azeez Ojulari. The Giants also added a host of weapons on the other side of the ball to complement what the team built on defense.
"What [Judge] was able to do last year as a brand-new head coach in this league at his age and not having any offseason program or any on-field activity, no preseason games, you just jump right into Week 1, we only won six games, but I just sense a different feeling from the players," team president and chief executive officer John Mara said this off-season about why he thinks Judge is the right man for the job. "They believe in his message and in his program. You can see that in team meetings, you can see that on the practice field, you could see that in their effort, so now is the time to just start winning more games. I think he showed us a lot last year, so now it's time to take the next step."
John Schmeelk: After three or four weeks of training camp, it begins to get very repetitive practicing against the same people every day. The offense and defense start recognizing the schemes and tendencies of the players they are competing against. It's a good time to get new faces on the field to give a different flavor of schemes and players on both sides of the ball.
Joint practices also give a measure of comparison to give organizations an idea of how their talent matches up against other groups around the NFL. Let's say the Giants are practicing against the Browns, they will get to see how their young offensive tackles block Myles Garrett and Jadaveon Clowney. Those are invaluable opportunities that would not otherwise be available.
Getting more competitive reps during the week also makes it less necessary for teams to play their starters more snaps in full-contact preseason games. It can help veterans avoid injuries and give younger players more opportunities to prove themselves.
Check out the best photos from the Giants' 2021 Media Day as the team gets ready to open training camp.