Cliff in New York: What will be the keys for translating the more talented roster into a winning record? Did the Giants improve the roster more than their division rivals did?
John Schmeelk: It is hard to argue that the Giants didn't improve their roster more than the other teams in the NFC East. They added high-level starters in Kenny Golladay and Adoree Jackson along with other free agents plus the rookies in their draft class. Washington could create a debate with their additions of Curtis Samuel, William Jackson and Ryan Fitzpatrick, but let's still give the Giants an edge.
Statistically, the Giants have to score more points. The Giants finished next to last in points per game (17.5) and yards per game (299.6) last year. The return of Saquon Barkley and addition of Golladay should help. The schedule could also be a bit easier for the Giants' offense, while being a bit tougher on their defense leading to some natural correction from last year.
Nevertheless, Daniel Jones needs to continue to improve protecting the football while throwing more TD passes. According to Pro Football Focus, Jones cut his turnover-worthy plays from 31 to 17 in his second season. Jones only had three turnovers over his final six games in 2020. Being in the same offense for the second straight year should help in this regard. He also needs to help the offense achieve more explosive plays. The Giants (45) ranked 30th in the league in plays of 20+ yards last year and only one team had fewer than their 36 pass plays of 20+ yards. Golladay, Barkley and Kadarius Toney should help immensely in this area.
Finally, the Giants' pass protection must improve. Only the Jets allowed a higher percentage of pressures on their dropbacks than the Giants' 40.5% in 2020. The Giants showed great improvement in this area over the final six games of last season, allowing pressure on only 31% of their dropbacks (13th-best in the NFL).
Marty in New Jersey: With a few tight ends being brought in, who might end up being the odd man out if all of them are healthy?
John Schmeelk: Even Engram, Kyle Rudolph, Kaden Smith, Levine Toilolo, Rysen John, Kelvin Benjamin, Cole Hikutini, and Nakia Griffin-Stewart are on the current roster. The two shoe-ins from this group are Rudolph and Engram, who should rank first and second in tight end snaps when the season is over. Last season, both Kaden Smith and Levine Toilolo were very strong blockers in the run game when using a multi-TE set. Can another tight end block better they those two? As of right now, you'd be likely to see Engram, Smith, Toilolo, and Rudolph.