Giants.com asked 22 important questions leading up to the start of the 2022 training camp at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.
For 22 days, a member of the Giants.com crew answered one question about the roster, coaching staff, schedule, and much more.
No. 22: What are your expectations for the 2022 Giants?
John Schmeelk: This is a transition year to a new front office and coaching staff. In order to make the salary cap right, players were let go last offseason. The new management team will have to decide what players they want a part of this franchise long term. To put it very simply, I expect the Giants to make big decisions this year on what this roster-building process is going to look like. These decisions will ultimately determine the fate of the franchise for years to come.
Dan Salomone: The Buffalo Bills became a major player in the AFC after the organization missed the playoffs for 17 seasons. How did they do it? "I think they have the right combination of a head coach and a general manager," team president John Mara said in late January after hiring of Brian Daboll and Joe Schoen, who came over from Buffalo.
Now the Giants expect they have the right tandem, too.
Schoen and Daboll were the result of ownership hitting the "reset button" this offseason. They brought over a fresh perspective that energized the building, with all parties knowing it would not be an overnight process. But that's not to say there won't be gains in Year 1. They had a ton of draft capital and installed offensive and defensive schemes known for their creativity and aggression. Putting expectations on win totals is never wise in the topsy-turvy NFC East, but fans can certainly expect to see a fresh brand of football in 2022 and beyond.
Lance Medow: In each of the last two seasons, the Giants averaged fewer than 20 points (15.2 to be exact in 2021). While I certainly expect that unit to improve statistically, you'd be hard pressed to find many examples in league history where a team averaged a touchdown or better in the span of two seasons. Injuries to several key players contributed to 2021 struggles, but even if they avoid the injury bug to that extreme, those expectations would be historical. To put things in perspective, the lowest scoring average for a NFC playoff team last season was 26.1 points per game (Eagles). That was nearly 11 more points than the Giants.
The biggest priority is to have Daniel Jones stay on the field, not just for the sake of his own future but for the sake of building chemistry with fresh faces and, once again, getting acclimated to a new scheme. The former has to happen in order for the other two factors to fall into play. On defense, Wink Martindale's aggressive approach should create some opportunities to get after the quarterback, but most important, the Giants need to be able to stop the run. In 2020, they finished 10th in the NFL against the ground attack. Last season, they fell to 25th in the league. If you don't handle your business in that department, it makes no difference how creative you get with the pass rush because there won't be opportunities to dictate the tone of the contest in that regard due to game flow. Bottom line, there are several questions on each side of the ball, and in order for this team to take a step forward, their key players with injury history need to stay healthy and the youth movement has to produce more than just flashes.
Matt Citak: Sustained success cannot be created overnight. Instead, it is a process that takes time and a lot of hard work. The 2022 season is where we should see some early results in this process.
Joe Schoen had little cap space to work with this offseason, thus limiting the moves he was able to make in free agency. But he did have 11 draft picks to spend, including two in the first seven selections. This resulted in a rookie class that should contribute on both sides of the ball as early as this season. More importantly, it was clear to see that these rookies were drafted based on their skill sets fitting in with what the Giants want to do on offense and defense. These are the types of details that help organizations build long-term success.
Considering all of this, my expectations for the 2022 Giants are more about what I hope to see out of the team's core of young players. The team has some very talented and intriguing players on the roster, ones who are only going to get better and better as they get more NFL experience under their belts. Seeing these players, such as Xavier McKinney, Andrew Thomas, Kadarius Toney and Azeez Ojulari, just to name a few, take the next step in their development is the most important thing for this year's Giants.
As of right now, the Giants are among the league leaders in cap space next offseason, meaning Schoen and Brian Daboll will have an amazing opportunity to fill out the roster around their young core. But that will only make a true difference if these youngsters continue to improve this season. While everyone wants to see the team start to win more games, this season has got to be about laying the foundation for the football program for years to come, not just the 2022 campaign. Again, successful programs take time. Starting the Schoen and Daboll era of Giants football off on the right note and seeing these young players grow will be more important this season than any specific win total.
Once again, the New York Giants are bringing back their classic blue uniforms from the '80s and '90s this Sunday as part of two Legacy Games presented by Quest.