Giants Report: Some thoughts with a month to go before the season kicks off

August 13, 2023

With the 2023 regular season opener now basically a month away we thought it might be a good time to dust off the Giants Report which we haven’t posted on for a few weeks. And what we thought we would do is answer some of the questions we have been receiving in recent days from our Giants’ fans friends.  

First off, we have had several queries in the past few hours even wondering if we had any thoughts on the Giants pre-season loss in Detroit on Friday night. And the simple answer is not much. Fact is we don’ put much stock at all in what happens in the pre-season and don’t really even start our analysis until the real games get underway. What we would say is that despite the loss on the scoreboard, the good from Friday’s game far outweighed the bad. In particular, the Giants’ top two picks from the 2023 – CB Deonte Banks and C John Michael Schmitz both played very well in their pro debuts; so did Tae Hawkins, the ‘other’ CB taken in the 6th round who was playing off coverage a little more than one would like to see but was very aggressive and physical closing on the ball. At the same time, almost all the bad, such as they were, came from players who aren’t really all that close to making the 53. 

More to the point, we’ve also had a number of queries along the lines of ‘given that you guys were one of the few media outlets to correctly predict the Giants record last year, what are you expecting this season?’ Fact is we didn’t exactly predict the Giants record last year; what we were saying was that the Giants were probably a much better team than people than people were implying at this time when they were suggesting that the Giants would be lucky to win 5-6 games when the reality was that they had been playing at close to a .500 level with Daniel Jones at QB for close to a couple of years and that the 4-13 record in 2021 was largely a reflection of the fact that Jones missed the final 6 games in which the Giants did look awful. 

That said, we are really excited about the upcoming season, but – and it’s a big but – we are also nervous about the fact when teams make a big jump from one season to the next resulting in increased expectations they sometimes don’t come into the new season with the same intensity and tend to be a little inconsistent. Bottom line, though, is that whether they get there this year or next the Giants look they are getting close to being at least a perennial playoff contender with the potential for more over the next few years. 

The obvious follow-up to the question above is what do the Giants need to truly get to that next level. Needless to say, there is still some tweaking of the roster that needs to be done. The Giants still don’t have a prototype #1 WR with big-play ability, the offensive line is still something of a work in progress, and they are really hoping that someone steps up to nail down the ILB spot next to Bobby Okereke. However, the fact is that upgrading the OL or ILB, while it will help, isn’t going to change the Giants from a playoff contender to a championship team. Adding a true elite WR would probably make a somewhat bigger difference, but for the most part, this is the Giants’ team of the future and the big issue as we see it is just how good their core young players, in particular Daniel Jones, Kayvon Thibodeaux, Dex Lawrence and Az Ojulari, can be. The NFL is a passing league these days and the elite teams around the league do at least one of two things really well: they either throw the ball really well and/or they can rush the passer really well and disrupt the other team’s passing game. And Jones and the DL guys are the ones who are going to have to step up and provide those elements for the Giants.  

One other element that has us thinking optimistically about the Giants’ immediate future is just how competitive the fight for roster spots is at so many positions among good players that we expect they really would like to keep. That includes, in no particular order, DT, CB, safety, RB, and WR. And just for fun – and information purposes – we’ve taken a shot at projecting the Giants’ opening day 53-man roster as it stands right now. Right here. One thing we did want to note in that context is we sense there is often a difference in the way fans think about building the bottom of the roster  compared with what we believe teams are looking for. For fans, its often about keeping  young player or two with potential who could develop down the road. On the other hand, coaches ask the question ‘what can the player do for us on game days?’ and as a result are more often looking for players that can play multiple positions and or help on special teams.