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Cover 3: State of Giants heading into Week 1


In this week's edition of Cover 3, the crew looks at the state of the team following the third and final preseason game.

John Schmeelk: We have come full circle. When the 2020 Giants season ended and the main areas of needed improvement were hashed out, much of the focus landed on the offense. It was understandable. The Giants ranked 31st in yards and points per game, and averaged only 17.5 points per contest. It is impossible to win games consistently with that offensive profile.

With the final preseason game in the books, we sit in much the same place. Saquon Barkley, Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney, three players that the team was depending on giving the team a boost have not played in a preseason game due to injury or health issues. Even Engram and Darius Slayton got hurt against the Patriots. It is possible that some or all play in the first regular season game against the Broncos on Sept. 12th, but no one knows for sure.

In the team's final preseason game, the first team offense scored only seven points in a half of work. The ball moved in the preseason finale against the Patriots, but the points didn't come.

The final area of focus this off-season was the offensive line, which the Giants decided to address by committing to the team's youth and develop from within. In the final preseason game, Daniel Jones was pressured on 43% of his dropbacks. The right tackle position still appears to be unsettled. Shane Lemieux was unable to start at left guard due to a lingering knee injury.

Of course, none of this really matters. It is preseason. In two weeks, we could be talking about how the team's offensive tackles held up against Von Miller and Bradley Chubb, which allowed Daniel Jones to play turnover-free football. But right now, we still don't know.

Dan Salomone: The Giants have two weeks to get ready for Denver, and they have yet to see where they are at full strength. They entered Sunday's preseason finale against the Patriots without the likes of Saquon Barkley, Adoree' Jackson, Kyle Rudolph, and Kenny Golladay. They exited the tune-up with more injuries to tight end Evan Engram (calf), wide receiver Darius Slayton (ankle/foot), and veteran offensive lineman Ted Larsen (knee). Meanwhile, as they await the prognoses, this is a time for roster movement as all NFL clubs must reduce their current 80-man rosters to 53 players by 4 p.m. on Tuesday. Additionally, the Giants acquired interior lineman Billy Price, a former first-round draft choice, from the Cincinnati Bengals in exchange for defensive lineman B.J. Hill and a 2022 conditional seventh round draft choice.

What the Giants look like now will not be what they look like on Sept. 12, which will not be what they look like on Oct. 12, Nov. 12, or Dec. 12. The question is just what direction they will be going.

"We've just got to get the guys who are available ready to play," Judge said. "In terms of that, one thing to focus on going into the season is you're never a finished product Week 1. You need to understand that, keep building, keep improving week to week from how you operate in September to keep improving as a team and build towards those long stretches of the season. Look, we're going to coach whoever is available, and it's our job to have the entire team ready and the entire team progressing, and that's what we're going to focus on."

View photos of new Giants offensive lineman Billy Price.

Lance Medow: Sunday night was our first opportunity to see the bulk of the starters in a game setting. While there were mixed results and not all the offensive weapons were on full display, the importance of Daniel Jones and Co. getting in some work before the start of the regular season can't be overlooked. You don't want to go into Week 1 with the only reps the first team received against an unfamiliar opponent coming in joint practices. Jones played five series, but the offense walked away with just seven points.

He helped orchestrate a nine-play, 58-yard drive in the final 2:30 of the first half, capped by a beautiful 23-yard touchdown pass to Kaden Smith. Jones completed seven of his eight attempts on that drive and his strike to Smith was perfectly placed where either his tight end would go up and get it or it would fall incomplete. Overall, Jones was efficient with the exception of his second-quarter interception in the end zone, where it appeared he threw behind Evan Engram. Turnovers and mishaps in the red zone were an issue last season as they scored touchdowns in that area of the field just 46% of the time (31st NFL).

Jones also had to deal with some consistent pressure as the young offensive line continues to develop and experience growing pains. Regardless of all the weapons on offense, play in the trenches will set the tone and help determine the production of the skill position players. There's only so much you can take away from one half of football but we're certainly going to learn a lot about that group right away with Denver and Washington's strong defensive fronts on the schedule in the first two weeks.

On the defensive side of the ball, while New England produced a few explosive plays, the Giants limited the Patriots to just a pair of field goals in the first half. Blake Martinez made an impressive interception by wrestling away the ball from receiver Jakobi Meyers.

View photos of the New York Giants' active 53-man roster as it currently stands.

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