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Fact or Fiction: Initial reactions from training camp

Daniel Jones' added strength will help him more as a runner than as a passer.

John Schmeelk: Fact - Additional upper body strength might help him with his velocity a little bit, but the biggest impact will be on ball protection. He should be stronger, allowing him to hold onto the football when he is finishing his runs. He fumbled three times last year trying to run for the down marker on third down last year. The additional strength should help when he is hit in the pocket by defenders. It is all about ball protection rather than improving his ability to throw the football.

Lance Medow: Fiction - I don't think Daniel Jones adding weight and strength during the off-season was to give him an edge as a runner. Jones is a mobile quarterback, but I don't necessarily view him as a running quarterback - those are two different things. He has the ability to extend plays and is more than capable of picking up yardage on the ground, although that's not his first option; plus, the last thing the Giants want to see is Jones running more and putting himself in harm's way. Let's also not forget arm strength doesn't just come from the upper body and shoulders, it also comes from the legs. So, Jones adding strength across his body still benefits his ability as a passer.

Interior pressure is more important than the edge rush in this defense.

John Schmeelk: Fact - I'll answer this a little differently. I don't think it has anything to do with the scheme, but rather the personnel. The Giants have multiple interior defensive linemen who have proven they can push the pocket into the quarterback's lap. Leonard Williams, though lacking sack numbers, has always been adept at applying pressure to the quarterback. Dexter Lawrence was drafted highly because his unique combination of size, strength and athleticism should make him a strong pass rusher. Dalvin Tomlinson had a career high 3.5 sacks last year, and BJ Hill had 5.5 sacks as a rookie.

It is difficult to consistently get to the quarterback up the middle because there are more bodies and less space for defensive linemen to operate in. It is the simple reason why the annual sack leaders come off the edge. The Giants will have to maximize their push up the middle since they will be relying on more of a pass rush-by-committee from the outside.

Lance Medow: Fact - You don't even need to say "in this defense." Interior pressure is always important because when you can collapse the pocket and limit the amount of space the quarterback has to step up you're opening up opportunities for the edge rushers to go to work. Some of the best pass rushing defenses in the NFL have nose tackles and defense tackles who generate pressure. Kansas City's Chris Jones, who just rewarded with a long-term contract, comes to mind as does Aaron Donald of the Rams. The Eagles boast Fletcher Cox and free-agent addition Javon Hargrave and Washington isn't too shabby with a rotation of Jonathan Allen, Da'Ron Payne and Matt Ioannidis. You also can't overlook the Niners, who had DeForest Buckner the last few seasons, before they traded him to the Colts this off-season, and just selected Javon Kinlaw, Buckner's replacement, in the first round of this year's draft. Interior pressure creates the edge rush and it's no different for the Giants.

Nick Gates will be one of the starting offensive tackles this season.

John Schmeelk: Fiction - This is a fantastic question. Given the fact that the Giants just gave him extension, they clearly have confidence in him. I feel confident he will be starting SOMEWHERE on the line this year, but it could be at center. He will be competing with Spencer Pulley and Shane Lemieux at center, and with Andrew Thomas, Cameron Fleming and Matt Peart at offensive tackle. The Giants will do what they can to get their five best offensive linemen on the field and Gates versatility will make it easier to do that. My gut instinct tells me that Gates starts at center and Cameron Fleming and Andrew Thomas are the starting tackles. But it would not surprise me in the least if Spencer Pulley starts at center and Cameron Fleming and Andrew Thomas are the two starting offensive tackles.

Lance Medow: Fiction - I think, as of right now, Andrew Thomas and Cam Fleming are in line to start at the left and right tackles, respectively. With Nate Solder opting out, I can't think of a better opportunity to slide in Thomas on the left side, the position he most recently assumed at Georgia. Fleming has played both tackle positions throughout his career and spent the last two seasons in Dallas with Jason Garrett and Marc Colombo – and you can't overlook the latter. Fleming has more experience and familiarity with Garrett's offense than any of the other offensive lineman and considering there are no preseason games and will be fewer padded practices teams than usual, Fleming has a distinct advantage over Gates. So, I think Gates will start off as the swing and/or jumbo package tackle and provide competition/depth at center and guard.

Markus Golden will lead the team in sacks for the second consecutive season.

John Schmeelk: Fiction - Of all the individuals on the roster, Golden probably has the best chance of being the team's sack leader. But, if the question is Golden versus the field, you have to take the field. It remains to be seen how much Patrick Graham is going to rotate his quartet of edge rushers. Snaps could get split evenly between Golden. Lorenzo Carter, Kyle Fackrell, and Oshane Zimines, which could limit their individual production. An interior rusher could theoretically lead the team in sacks. Jabrill Peppers could be in the mix, too, if Graham decides to use him as a blitzer.

Lance Medow: Fact - There are only two players on defense who have recorded double-digit sack seasons. LB Kyle Fackrell collected 10.5 in 2018 with the Packers when Patrick Graham served as his position coach and LB Markus Golden tallied a career-high 12.5 sacks with the Cardinals in 2016 and then ten with the Giants last season. You won't find a more consistent and proven pass rusher on the team right now than Golden and that's why this is an easy fact. Although there are other players on the roster who have upside and potential, no one has anywhere near the same resume as Golden.

View photos of the Giants' active roster as it currently stands.


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