By Jordan Kendall, Assistant Sports Editor
As a New York Giants fan, the last few years have been hard. The team has struggled in all three phases and can’t seem to do much right. This year, it seemed the future was bright when the front office committed to a rebuild and let some of their key pieces go.
Cornerback Landon Collins, defensive lineman Olivier Vernon, and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. were just some of the players who have departed. Now that it’s clearly rebuilding time, Giants fans need to show some patience. Here is my message to my fellow New York fans.
Offensively, They Can Be More Than Saquon
Running back Saquon Barkley is going to be the focus offensively for the foreseeable future. It doesn’t take much to realize how special he is. But this team can and will be more than just giving it to Barkley every play. Sterling Shepard isn’t a top ten wide receiver, but he’s a reliable receiver who makes plays when he gets the ball. Through his first 45 games, Shepard averages 12 yards per reception. When a receiver averages a first down every catch, it’s clear he can be a piece of the puzzle.
However, with Shepard is just one man, the rest of the receiving core is going to have to step up. Right now, Bennie Fowler are Cody Latimer are the next up on the depth chart. Neither player is a superstar in the making, but as temporary fill-ins, you can certainly find worse options. If we can draft some receivers and get some depth, rookie quarterback Daniel Jones will have enough targets to hopefully become effective. Evan Engram looks like an up-and-coming tight end. While he needs to stay healthy, Engram appears to be a great red-zone target for Jones for the next decade.
Jones made his first start on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and with it, came a spark we haven’t seen from Big Blue since the Tom Coughlin era. Jones threw for 336 yards and two touchdowns while running 28 yards and two touchdowns. This is the type of offensive threat a team like the Giants need. Unfortunately, Barkley was sidelined with an ankle injury early and will miss the next 4-8 weeks, meaning we have to wait before we get to see this new duo together.
Give The Defense Some Time
Part of a rebuild is showing patience, and if anyone needs to see that patience, it’s the defense. So far, they look horrible. But when seven of the 11 starters have played three or fewer years in the NFL, chances are they won’t be good. Some players need more time than others to develop.
Giants fans are trying to blame defensive coordinator James Bettcher for his 3-4 scheme. After three games, it makes no sense how you can fairly judge a team this young. Bettcher has had roughly four months to teach them a new scheme and get them to play as one. This is much easier said than done, and clearly it’s a work in progress. If they look like this in week eight, that’s another story. There has never been a defensive unit that was built in three games, and there never will be.
There Are Already Results
As a Giants fan, I get it. The past few seasons have been hard, and this year hasn’t been any better. But in a rebuild, you must show patience and believe this will turn around. The NFL is already seeing the results of that patience with the likes of Barkley and Jones. Give the defense time to develop and allow the front office to continue to build through the NFL Draft, and the New York Football Giants will be contenders before you know it. Please show some patience, it will be worth it in a few years.