So it begins.
The New York Giants reported to training camp at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center today, kicking off a 47-day buildup to the season opener on Sept. 12 against the Denver Broncos. Since the Giants last played a game, they bolstered the roster with an admittedly "aggressive" draft and free agency period. The newcomers joined a Giants team that finished 6-10 (5-3 in second half of the season) in the first year under head coach Joe Judge.
With plenty of storylines surrounding the Giants as they embark on the 2021 campaign, here are the players to watch this summer:
QB DANIEL JONES
All eyes will be on the red No. 8 jersey at practice. Jones enters a critical third year in the NFL and his second under Judge and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett. Eli Manning, Jones' predecessor, said recently that he thinks continuity will help the franchise quarterback, especially given the limitations of the 2020 off-season due to the pandemic.
"It's not just the quarterback getting comfortable; it's the offensive line, the receivers, everybody getting on that same page," Manning explained last week from the Manning Passing Academy in Louisiana. "I'm excited for him, I'm excited for the team, and I look forward to good things."
WR KENNY GOLLADAY
General manager Dave Gettleman was clear about the Giants' top priority in his season-ending press conference, saying they are "going to find the right guys to help Daniel get us over that hump." Signing Kenny Golladay, regarded as the top receiver on the free agent market this year, was the first step. The 6-foot-4, 214-pound former Detroit Lion led the NFL in touchdown catches and receptions of at least 25 yards in 2019, his second of consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. His 16.8 yards per catch rank sixth in the NFL since 2017 (minimum 80 receptions). In addition to Golladay, the Giants signed speedster John Ross and drafted dynamic playmaker Kadarius Toney in the first round.
View photos of the team reporting for the start of training camp at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.
CB ADOREE' JACKSON
The Giants boast one of the league's best secondaries, a group that includes a few newcomers to build off the defense's success from last year under assistant head coach and defensive coordinator Patrick Graham. Jackson has 47 starts under his belt, including six postseason contests with the Tennessee Titans. He will look to play opposite James Bradberry, who made his first Pro Bowl last season after coming over from Carolina.
"For Adoree', he's fast, he's athletic, he can tackle, and he could get his hands on the ball," Graham said. "So for me, again, you can't have enough good DBs because as you could see throughout the league, just take a look at the teams that would be the Super Bowl -- Tampa Bay, they were five or six deep at wide receiver. Plus, they had tight ends and they are going to have another tight end coming back. So, you have to be able to cover these guys. … So you can't go wrong with having a bunch of DBs, but we are happy to have Adoree', his skill set, you could watch the tape and figure that out. There's other guys, too, that we are excited about. Darnay Holmes, Aaron Robinson, these guys, they are all in the mix. I'm excited about our group."
OT ANDREW THOMAS
Last year's fourth overall draft pick started 15 games as a rookie at left tackle after veteran Nate Solder opted out due to COVID-19 concerns. Thomas leads a young generation of Giants offensive linemen, who are being assigned to build on their experience and chemistry. Thomas is also part of an intriguing 2020 draft class looking to take the next step. Look for names such as safety Xavier McKinney, offensive tackle Matt Peart, cornerback Darnay Holmes, guard Shane Lemieux, and linebackers Cam Brown, T.J. Brunson, Carter Coughlin, and Tae Crowder to step up.
2021 DRAFT CLASS
Gettleman made headlines with his draft-day trades, the result of which netted the Giants six new players (wide receiver Kadarius Toney, outside linebackers Azeez Ojulari and Elerson Smith, cornerbacks Aaron Robinson and Rodarius Williams, and running back Gary Brightwell) and future picks, including an additional first-round selection in 2022. While Toney begins camp on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, the rest of the class jumps into the deep end as the rookies compete for spots on the depth chart after getting their feet wet in spring practices.
The team announced that six players have been placed on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list: running back Saquon Barkley (knee), center Jonotthan Harrison (hamstring), tackle Matt Peart (back), tight end Kyle Rudolph (foot), linebacker Oshane Ximines (hamstring) and rookie cornerback Aaron Robinson (core muscle), the team's third-round draft choice.
Players on the Active/PUP list can be activated at any time during training camp. If they are still on the list at the final roster cutdown to 53, they must either be activated or moved to the Reserve/PUP list. Players on the Reserve/PUP list must be inactive for the first six weeks.
Two players are on the Reserve/Non-Football Injury (NFI) list: linebacker Ryan Anderson (back) and running back Sandro Platzgummer (hamstring). The NFI list is very similar to the PUP list, except the player must have sustained his injury away from the team. Such players can return to practice when they are medically cleared.