With training camp just weeks away, the Giants.com crew discusses storylines that haven't gotten enough attention this offseason
Dan Salomone: Maybe fans don't know this, but the Giants are going to run the ball, too. Due to the nature of non-contact spring practices and Brian Daboll's track record through the air, the running game has not been a major topic of discussion. Even with Saquon Barkley, the talk all spring was largely about how the running back will be used as a receiver. But let's not forget Barkley has the second-best average rushing yards per game in Giants history behind Tiki Barber (minimum 40 games). The issue has just been health with Barkley, but he keeps putting more distance between himself and the knee injury. Another thing to keep in mind is that only seven teams ran the ball more times than the Bills during Daboll's four seasons as their offensive coordinator. Similarly, they were ranked eighth in that time span with 224 runs of at least 10 yards, 85 of which came from quarterback Josh Allen. Daniel Jones is no stranger to using his legs either.
Lance Medow: How about we turn to the most overlooked facet of a football team - special teams. Behind all the chatter surrounding Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley entering the final seasons of their rookie deals, the offensive line, young secondary and new coaching staff, lies the Giants' new punter: Jamie Gillan. After Riley Dixon assumed that position for the last four years, New York is now turning to the "Scottish Hammer" to take his place. A great nickname doesn't hurt.
Gillan spent his first three seasons in the NFL with the Browns before briefly spending time on the Bills' practice squad at the tail end of last year after he was waived by Cleveland in December. He's not lacking NFL experience but let's not forget the punter also serves as the holder on field goals and extra points and his chemistry with long snapper Casey Kreiter and kicker Graham Gano will be crucial. Kickers are no different than any other players as they're creatures of habit, so when you change one of the pieces in the setup, you have to account for time to get everyone on the same page. In addition to that process, Gillan's role as a punter will be critical in field position and the last thing you want to do for opponents is provide them with gifts, especially when you have a young defense under the guidance of a new coordinator. Punters are like offensive linemen. The less you discuss that position and bring up specific personnel, the better.
Matt Citak: The Giants dealt with injuries throughout the entire roster during the 2021 season. But one of the position groups that seemingly got hit the hardest was wide receiver. Each receiver missed at least three games due to injury (Kenny Golladay paced the group with 14 appearances).
It seems that last year's injuries have led to the group not getting the attention and buzz that they deserve. It wasn't that long ago that Golladay led the NFL with 11 touchdown receptions on his way to making the Pro Bowl. Meanwhile, Kadarius Toney flashed his potential last season with the two-game stretch in which he caught 16 passes for 267 yards against the Saints and Cowboys. Sterling Shepard has been the most consistent receiver on the Giants since being drafted back in 2016. Wan'Dale Robinson ranked second in the SEC in both receptions (104) and receiving yards (1,334) last year, while Darius Slayton led the WR room with two touchdown receptions in 2021. Then you have guys like C.J. Board, Richie James and Robert Foster, all of whom could contribute this season.
Brian Daboll and Mike Kafka will put everyone in the receiver room in the best position to succeed, and with the variety of offensive weapons in the offense, the group has a ton of potential this season.
Take a look at rare photos of New York Giants training camps through the years.
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