By Marquita Quinones //@Latinlove729
It’s not the will to win that matters – everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.” Paul “Bear” Bryant
Most people would agree that a great start is necessary for any success. When it comes to football, you really need a great start. Then, you need to continue to be great all the way through until you finish with a successful season.
The New York Giants are looking to do just that. This Thursday they will be facing the Cleveland Browns. Both teams had a rocky start last season as the Browns finished 0-16 and the New York Giants weren’t much better with a 3-13 record. With the addition former Minnesota Vikings Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur as head coach, and a new defensive coordinator in James Bettcher; the Giants are looking to turn things around.
The Giants put all offseason rumors to sleep with the return of veteran quarterback Eli Manning at the helm. Backup QBs Davis Webb and Kyle Lauletta should be able to take over in the event Manning has another lackluster performance like last season.
However, not all the blame falls on Manning. The offensive line was definitely not present during any of the games, making them one of the most heavily criticized units in the NFL, ranking #4 for most sacks allowed. Hopefully, with the additions of Nate Solder at left tackle, rookie Will Hernandez at left guard, Patrick Omameh at right guard, Ereck Flowers at right tackle and either Brett Jones or Jon Halapio at center, the offensive line can right the ship.
On the receiving end, wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. will once again be the go-to man alongside WR Cody Latimer, who was picked up from the Denver Broncos. Tight end Evan Engram will most likely see a lot of throws from Manning and serve as a potential blocker for the run game.
WR Sterling Shephard still has something to prove as he comes in at the 3rd position. Plagued with injuries last season, he had 59 receptions and 731 yards (58 more yards than the previous year) so he should make an impact as another potential weapon in Giants offense.
But the real excitement is coming from the addition of this year’s first-round pick, running back Saquon Barkley, former Penn State star. The New York Giants were once known for being a smash-mouth running team back in the day, but they have not shown signs of that in recent years. In fact the Giants have not had much of a running game since the Earth, Wind, and Fire days; which consisted of RBs Brandon Jacobs (Earth), Derrick Ward (Wind), and Ahmad Bradshaw (Fire)!
Barkley has the potential to bring the running game back to New York along with his ability to be a receiver as well. The Giants are banking on Barkley to be that three-down back with elite scoring opportunities.
Rounding all this out will be the Big Blue defense. Unfortunately, Giants fans have not seen much of the defense lately as they were ranked a 31st overall last season. Expect new DC Bettcher to hammer hard on the defense as he has his work cut out for him this season. The trade for linebacker Alec Ogletree and defensive end Kareem Martin should bring some depth to the linebackers. To round that out, the return of cornerbacks Eli Apple and Janoris Jenkins should make for a decent defense this year.
The Giants don’t need a good start, they need an explosive one!
Follow Marquita on Twitter at @Latinlove729