The New York Giants finished 6-10 in 2015 but it easily could have been a lot better. If the Giants had figured out how to close out games they would have been in a prime position to win the NFC East.
Eight of their 10 losses were by six points or less, including two losses by a single point. The fact that the G-Men actually managed to keep games as close as they did is somewhat impressive.
They didn’t have Victor Cruz or Jason Pierre-Paul for the majority of the season, and they didn’t have much of a running game or defense.
The way they competed as a team speaks to how good of a head coach Tom Coughlin is. Now with Ben McAdoo as the new head coach, the team has the chance to be an offensive juggernaut with his west coast system.
STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES
Wide receiver, quarterback, special teams
The wide receiver category is really only made for one player, Odell Beckham Jr. Ruben Randle was a decent replacement for Victor Cruz but he along with the rest of the Giants receivers let Eli Manning a bunch. Odell Beckham had a ton of hype surrounding him going into his second year and he stepped up to the plate in a big way.
In his first full season he recorded close 1,450 yards and 13 touchdowns while getting plenty of attention from each team’s number one cornerback.
He let his emotions get the better of him during some parts of the season but he’ll learn to control that soon enough. Once Victor Cruz is fully healthy, Ben McAdoo and Eli Manning will have a field day on offense.
Eli Manning has had his ups and downs as the quarterback of the New York Giants but 2015 was a pretty good year for him. He threw for more than 4,000 yards and had 35 touchdowns to 14 interceptions.
While Manning was in the top 10 for most interceptions thrown, his touchdown to interception ratio was much better than usual.
Year two in Ben McAdoo’s west coast offense seemed to do some serious damage to NFL defenses. Manning will only get better in year three but unfortunately the passing attack is the only thing the Giants have.
Anytime the Giants needed a boost, they got some sort of big return form Dwayne Harris Jr. The former Dallas Cowboys return man has proven that if you give him any open space he is gone in a flash. That was a great move for the Giants and the fact that he helped at receiver was an added bonus.
Defense, running back
Steve Spagnuolo should be ashamed of the way his defense played this season. It’s clear that losing Antrel Rolle was too big of a hit for them to take and the Jason Pierre-Paul saga didn’t help the defense either.
However, the fact that not having those two players made such a big difference should be unacceptable to Giants fans.
The defense finished third to last in sacks and led the league in most passing yards allowed. Drew Brees threw for seven touchdowns and dropped 52 points on their defense which is shocking.
Prince Amukamara hasn’t lived up to the billing and Landon Collins can’t do it all by himself. The Giants have issues that they need to sort out quickly. They’ll need to have a good draft to get better.
This isn’t that big of a weakness for the Giants but their lack of a running game made them very predictable to opposing defenses.
What they really lack is a change of pace back, a speedster who can break away in open space. However, after David Wilson, they could be reluctant to go in that direction again.
Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams are similar when it comes to their running styles and they haven’t been overly impressive.
Orleans Darkwa had to step in and give the team an added lift with a little extra speed later on in the season. Shane Vereen is a great receiving option in the west coast offense but that backfield is already crowded. The Giants really have their hands tied, it’s gonna be tough to upgrade at that position.
PLAYERS TO RE-SIGN:
DT Cullen Jenkins
DT Barry Cofield
DE Jason Pierre-Paul
DE Robert Ayers
WR Rueben Randle
TE Larry Donnell
2016 FREE AGENT TARGETS ($42.8 MILLION PROJECTED CAP SPACE):
CB Leon Hall
CB Sean Smith
DE Jason Jones
DE Kendall Reyes
RB Matt Forte
2016 NFL DRAFT FIRST ROUND TARGETS (NO. 10 PICK):
DE Kevin Dodd (Clemson)
RB Derrick Henry (Alabama)
S Deon Bush (Miami)
Read Salute Magazine‘s other NFL exit interviews: