Giants: Top three camp goals

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles is hit after the throw by New York Giants defensive end Olivier Vernon in a Dec. 2017 game.Photo: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

By Patti Traina, The Sports Xchange
Looking at Giants' priorities

Here is a breakdown of the key three goals the Giants must address in training camp:

  • Establish the pass rush. The Giants traded away defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who over the last two seasons has accounted for 15.0 of the team's 62.0 sacks. Although the move makes sense in that Pierre-Paul isn't best suited for the new 3-4 defensive scheme defensive coordinator James Bettcher plans to run, it still leaves a bit of a gaping hole in a pass rush that last year finished with 27.0 sacks, tied for 29th in the league. Olivier Vernon, Pierre-Paul's former bookend, is currently the only established pass rusher on the defense. However, Bettcher, who actually plans to run a multiple defense, has hinted that he anticipates the pass rush will come from multiple people besides Vernon.

  • Identify the depth at cornerback. The Giants swapped out slot cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie for another veteran, William Gay, but behind Gay and projected starters Janoris Jenkins and Eli Apple, the depth chart is concerning. There is a lot of promise in rookies Sam Beal, the team's third-round pick in the supplemental draft, and Grant Haley, an undrafted free agent out of Penn State, but if either of them had to be pressed into action right away, their lack of experience could be a big detriment to a defense that is looking to rebound from last year's 25th-ranked pass defense.

  • Settle the offensive line. The 2018 opening day offensive line is going to feature five new faces at each position, the first time the team has made such a radical change since 2014. While on paper the projected starters of left tackle Nate Solder, left guard Will Hernandez, center Brett Jones or Jon Halapio, right guard Patrick Omameh and right tackle Ereck Flowers appears to be an upgrade over last year's opening day lineup of Flowers, Justin Pugh, Weston Richburg, John Jerry and Bobby Hart, if last year taught us anything it's to wait and see before investing in any promises. That's because last year both Jerry Reese and Ben McAdoo, now the former general manager and head coach respectively, would tell anyone who listened that a year of experience from the previous season made the line better. The lesson learned was to keep expectations low and hope for the best. With all that said, having all the Pro Bowl caliber skill players won't mean a thing if the offensive line struggles again despite its promise.


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