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Thursday, June 21, 2018

Giants Start Fresh With New Coach Etc.

The New York Giants have put the Ben McAdoo chapter behind them. With a new coach Pat Shurmur and new General Manager Dave Gettleman, and the traditional pre-season optimism about the draft, sprinkled in with some key free agent signings, the Giants look ripe to improve and even possibly make a huge turn around with Eli Manning at the helm for his last hurrah. There is never a sure thing in the draft but Saquon Barkley looks to be the complete package. A running back that catches well to go along with some excellent running ability is huge and the fact that he blocks adds even more to the package. Out of everything the Giants did I thought the signing of Nate Solder was the single best move by GM Dave Gettleman. Solder is 30 years old, which is not too old for an offensive lineman. In fact, many thought he was the best player on the field during this past Super Bowl. The addition of him, plus the drafting of Will Hernandez, the guard from UTEP, will pay major dividends almost immediately. Hernandez, who played on an 0-12 team never gave anything but his best, according to many scouts. Reminds me of something Bill Parcells once said when evaluating talent. He would dig for game films of prospects he liked and try and find games that the player was on the wrong side of a blow out. Parcells would evaluate the last quarter of that game just to see if the player had pride and kept his motor running all the way till the clock ran out. Will Hernandez is this type of player. 

On the defensive side of the ball, the Giants hired James Bettcher who had the same role with the Arizona Cardinals the last three years. In all of those years the Cardinals finished in the top ten in total defense. Bettcher has coached a 3-4 defensive front with Arizona, which relies more on linebackers than the defensive line. The Giants have had a base 4-3 defense, letting their defensive linemen run wild. Newly acquired linebacker Alec Ogletree will play a big role in Bettcher’s defense. BJ Goodson and draft pick Lorenzo Carter are penciled in as starters. If the Giants go with the 3-4 defense, the fourth linebacker position will be up for grabs.  I still like the defensive line but the secondary is still suspect. Which Eli Apple are we going to see this year? The Giants were 31st in the league in total defense. This year presents itself as a potentially exciting year but most of the positives will be from the offense. 

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Eli Will Have A turn Around Year

Eli Manning has been under the gun from many Giant fans for his play in 2017. A quick look back and we see that Eli threw for 3,468 yards with only 19 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. For some quarterbacks these stats would not seem bad, but for Eli Manning, a two time Super Bowl winning QB, it is not up to his standards. In 2018 I expect Eli to have a bounce back year and here’s why:

1) Manning led all quarterbacks in 2017 with the most dropped passes;
2) His offensive line was putrid in 2017;
3) The Giants running game ranked 26th, averaging a modest 3.9 yards per carry (Philadelphia and Dallas were both 4.5 yds/carry) and scoring only 6 TDs; 
4) Odell Beckham Jr. will be back and will play the way he is capable;
5) Tight end Evan Engram and wide receiver Sterling Shepard will also have a better year;
6) Running back Saquon Barkley will be the key to turning the running game around and will give opponents headaches when he lines up wide;
7) Offensive linemen Nate Solder, guards Patrick Omameh and rookie Will Hernandez will be outstanding additions;
8) Head Coach Pat Shurmur is a quarterback whisperer, with a history of turning quarterbacks' careers around (see Case Keenum);
9) Eli is 37 years old which may have seemed old 20 years ago but not today with quarterbacks playing ever longer, and;
10)The team is still built around Eli and the players respect him.

All these factors will help put Eli Manning and the Giants in a position to succeed. Of course, anything can happen, but after the miserable season that Giant fans had to struggle through in 2017, 2018 should put a lot of smiles on faces this season. 

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Getting To Know Draft Pick QB Kyle Lauletta
Giants fourth round draft pick Kyle Lauletta was born on November 27, 1995 in Exxon PA. Lauletta attended the East campus of Downingtown High School in Downingtown, Pennsylvania and was the starting quarterback for the football team his last two years. He came from a family of football players: his father and uncle played quarterback and punter, respectively, for Navy, and;  two of his brothers have also been quarterbacks for Downington East. In his first start, Kyle threw for 400 yards and ran for two touchdowns against the defending state champions. He also played lacrosse. Despite his accolades in high school, an off-season injury and bad luck largely prevented any premium colleges from recruiting Lauletta, and he eventually chose to attend Richmond. Lauletta played at Richmond from 2013 to 2017. He tore his ACL in 2016 on a quarterback scramble after leading Richmond to an 8-2 record at the time, but recovered and played all games in 2017, his best statistical season. During his career he threw for a school record 10,465 yards and 73 touchdowns. Lauletta was invited to play in the 2018 Senior Bowl, in which he threw for 198 yards and three touchdowns and was named the game's MVP.

Kyle Lauletta has a lot of big fans in the NFL media. Former NFL head coach Brian Billick believes that Lauretta might end up being the best quarterback pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. During an appearance on NFL Network's Path To The Draft, Billick praised the Giants' decision to draft Lauletta.

"This may be the best quarterback pick of the draft," Billick said on NFL Network. "This guy has some big potential. A lot of people really love what they saw out of this kid. He's going to an organization where he fits -- and yeah at the fourth round -- absolutely..."

From Matt Miller - Bleacher Report On Kyle Lauretta
—His natural athleticism jumps off the tape. He is able to move in the pocket while keeping his feet balanced and eyes downfield with great poise. 
—With his quick delivery and adequate throwing motion, Lauletta can make the short to intermediate throws and shows a soft touch up the seam. 
—Spins the ball with a tight spiral and velocity to all levels.
—While some small-school quarterbacks struggle with the pressure of the Senior Bowl, he proved he was up to the challenge. 
—Uber-productive in college, Lauletta will look to be a Day 3 developmental prospect with future starter potential.

—Will have to prove he was more than a system quarterback with gaudy numbers. 
—The Richmond spread offense doesn't make for an easy transition to the NFL. 
—Lauletta will have to work on the small things including footwork drops from under center, taking snaps from under center, improving arm strength and sensing pressure in the pocket. 
—He has the poise to stand tall and face the crowd, but he needs to use his quickness to escape and reset more frequently. 
—Tries to win with his legs too much for the type of athlete he is. 

Blue Tidbits
…..Even with the drafting of QB Kyle Lauletta, second year pro Davis Webb is intent on taking over Eli Manning’s job when he hangs them up. Word is “he is working his tail off.”…..Matt Lombardo of mentions that 5th round draft pick defensive lineman R.J. Macintosh who has yet to take a single rep in practice due to an undisclosed medical condition, “likely faces an uphill climb to make the 53-man roster.”…..Undrafted free agent safety Andrew Adams out of UConn played a reserve role in 2017. Keep an eye on this player who started just four games last season. The UDFA finished the year with 28 total tackles, two passes defended and one forced fumble…….Low-level UFA addition (and converted corner) Curtis Riley has a legitimate shot to start alongside Landon Collins…..The Giants are preparing to give Eli Apple another chance at cornerback opposite Janoris Jenkins …..Odell Beckham Jr. is reportedly giving the New York Giants every reason he can to invest in him long-term. Beckham has been impressing the team’s coaching staff with his conduct during the offseason, according to Albert Breer of the Monday Morning Quarterback. Beckham has texted regularly with new head coach Pat Shurmur and has been a steady hand with the team’s new talent….. The final day of minicamp Will Hernandez and Damon Harrison got into a scuffle where Harrison swung Hernandez’s helmet at him…..While Saquon Barkley and second-round pick Will Hernandez have moved into the Giants’ starting lineup, third-round pick defensive end B.J. Hill may be ready to join them. The rookie lined up alongside Damon Harrison and Dalvin Tomlinson in the Giants’ new 3-4 scheme at minicamp, according to Dan Duggan of The Athletic…..Giants rookie RB Saquon Barkley currently has the top-selling jersey in the NFL…..

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