James Bradberry lands on PFF's top 50 players
The Giants defense was much improved in 2020, and it was clear that newcomer James Bradberry played a crucial role in that.
Bradberry finished the season with three interceptions, matching his career-high, while setting new career-best marks in passes defended, forced fumbles and fumble recoveries.
The 27-year-old corner has been garnering a ton of praise from media outlets this offseason, and it continued this week as Pro Football Focus ranked Bradberry No. 47 on its list of the NFL's top 50 players.
"All Bradberry needed to realize his full potential was a chance of scenery," PFF's Sam Monson writes. "The former Carolina Panther earned career-best overall and coverage grades in his first season in the NFC East, recording a massive 14 pass breakups — one off the league lead –and allowing a passer rating of just 70.1 on throws into his coverage. Bradberry still faced some pretty imposing wide receivers; he just showed that he is a match for them as a member of the Giants secondary."
The defense overall played well last season, finishing 9th in points and 12th in yards allowed per game. The 22 passing touchdowns the unit surrendered ranked as the 5th-fewest in the league, while they also finished 2nd in red zone defense, allowing a touchdown on just 30 of 59 trips inside the red zone (50.8 percent).
Bradberry was a consistent force in the Giants secondary, playing in 15 games and staying on the field for at least 96 percent of the defensive snaps in each of those contests.
The Pro Bowl corner has been receiving a ton of attention from the media recently. PFF ranked Bradberry as the No. 5 CB in the league, while the Giants secondary was later ranked No. 7 by the analytics site. Super Bowl champion and NFL Network analyst Shaun O'Hara then called Bradberry the NFL's most underappreciated corner, before three-time Pro Bowl defensive back and NFL Network analyst DeAngelo Hall ranked him as the league's third-best CB.
View photos of Pro Bowl cornerback James Bradberry during his time with the Giants.
Eli Manning excited to 'team back up' with Giants
During his 16 years in a Giants uniform, Eli Manning made thousands of decisions about play selection, pass protections and where to throw the football. Now that he's moved to the organization's front office, the choices keep coming. And Manning has already answered his first big question: backpack or briefcase?
"I think I've got to go backpack," Manning said. "I did it for so long. It's going to be weird; I used to get here so early, before six o'clock. I never thought about, like, brushing my hair before showing up to work or doing anything. Just got to get up, get here, your breakfast is here. So, it's going to be a little different. I'm going to have to show up not wearing gym shorts and a T-shirt every single day. But I'll fit into that role and be excited to be here."
Manning was a two-time Super Bowl winner and MVP and a four-time Pro Bowler. He owns most of the Giants' single-game, single-season and career passing records and is arguably the most popular player in the franchise's 96-year history. Manning retired following the 2019 season and after a year spent mostly with his wife, Abby, and their four children, he has returned to the Giants, with an office that has a view of MetLife Stadium and duties encompassing business development, marketing, and community and corporate relations.
"I wanted to take a year off anyway," Manning said. "That was the game plan to analyze what you want to do, analyze how busy you want to be, how involved you want to be, just to give the players a break, let the coaches have a fresh start and let Daniel Jones have his fresh start. But I was hoping there would be a spot back with the organization to do the things because of what it's meant to me. The Giants organization is what I know. Since I've been out of college, this is all I've done and all I've ever wanted to do was do well for the Giants and win games and represent the organization in a positive way, and hopefully I can continue to do that."
Because of COVID-19 restrictions during the 2020 season, Manning was unable to visit the Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Though he conferred with Jones, his successor at quarterback, Manning did not have an opportunity to discuss a new role with ownership until after the season.
"I was finally allowed in and I came in and saw a lot of the people," he said. "I sat down with John Mara and kind of said, 'Hey, I'd like to get back involved if you think there's a spot for me or a way that I can help out.' From there, we did some brainstorming and figured out a way for me to get back involved.
"I'm excited that I get to hold true that 'Once a Giant, only a Giant' (the phrase Manning coined at his retirement news conference). I wanted to be back here with the organization. I had a little break; I think both sides needed a little parting. But I'm excited to team back up with the Giants and help out in any way they feel they need it. Most of it will be on the business side and be with the sponsors and marketing and corporate stuff and the community service, which has been so important to me."
Highlights: Best of Giants Minicamp
Check out the video below to watch all the best moments and top plays from Giants Minicamp at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.