Joined: 17 Mar 2017
|Posted: Thu May 18, 2017 3:39 am Post subject: Giants’ only battles show training wheels are off
|Watching the Giants reassemble their defense this spring and summer will be a familiar and fascinating undertaking. There are always new players to mix in, but this time around, with this particular defense, almost all the gang is here again.
Unlike his task one year ago, coordinator Steve Spagnuolo will not have to make mass introductions and, in painstaking fashion, explain his playbook and philosophy. There is not a crop of newly minted, multi-millionaire, marquee free agents to Dennis Rodman Jersey incorporate into the locker room and onto the field. There is not a first-round pick to install as a starting cornerback, never an easy transition. There is not the warning that Spagnuolo issued one year ago, that this would all take time, plenty of time.
No, as the Giants continue with Phase 2 of their offseason program, Spagnuolo is talking about immediate excellence, not wait-and-see patience.
“A year ago, when we did this thing, there were a lot of new faces, so it was still new and now the biggest thing to me is the continuity of the coaching staff is huge,’’ Spagnuolo said recently during a Giants media availability. “There are a lot of guys that we have worked with before. So look, does that mean that you automatically go out there and play again? I don’t think so. We have a lot of work to do.’’
There always is work to do, but the work for Spagnuolo will be to add onto what was accomplished last season, when his defense finished 10th in the NFL in yards allowed, fourth in rushing defense and second in points allowed.
Almost the entire cast of characters is back. Spagnuolo has three of his four starting defensive linemen — Jason Pierre-Paul, Olivier Vernon and Damon “Snacks’’ Harrison — and his entire starting defensive backfield — cornerbacks Janoris http://www.official76erstore.com/Henry_Sims_Jersey Jenkins, Eli Apple and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and safeties Landon Collins and Andrew Adams. Of the linebackers getting the bulk of the snaps in 2016, Jonathan Casillas, Keenan Robinson and Devon Kennard all return, with only Kelvin Sheppard gone.
The Giants believe the options on the roster as potential replacements put the team in a position of strength. The only rookie they are counting on right away is Dalvin Tomlinson, who should slip into the defensive-tackle void left behind by Johnathan Hankins’ defection to the Colts. Young veterans Jay Bromley and Robert Thomas will challenge, but it will be an upset if Tomlinson does not emerge as the starter for the season opener against the Cowboys.
“Between now and the time that we play Dallas, we will figure it out,’’ Spagnuolo said. “But we are excited about Dalvin.’’
At middle linebacker, Robinson is in the running, though he probably is better-suited on the outside. The plan in 2016 was for B.J. Goodson to spend his rookie year on special teams then compete for the starting job this year. Goodson, a throwback Henry Sims Authentic Jersey thumper from Clemson, will be given every chance to man the middle, making for interesting training camp progress reports.
“Anytime you come in, and all of these guys will tell you, the second time through, all of the little things that you couldn’t remember the first year are just natural now,’’ Spagnuolo said. “He looks a lot more comfortable.’’
Last spring and especially last summer, the coaching staff could not contain its enthusiasm for Darian Thompson, a rookie safety from Boise State taken in the third round of the draft. Based on his poise, smarts and ball-skills, Thompson’s ascension to a starter role alongside Collins came quickly and easily but lasted just two games before he got hurt and eventually landed on injured reserve, needing http://www.officiallakersshoponline.com/Dennis_Rodman_Jersey surgery to repair a Lisfranc foot issue.
Thompson expects to be ready to roll in plenty of time for training camp and, if he can rekindle the form that created such optimism last summer, he will regain a starting job that was handled last season by Adams, an undrafted rookie from UConn who, to the surprise of many, held up on the back end of the defense.
There are spots to fill and decisions to make, but not nearly as many as this time a year ago.
“The challenge is to keep them hungry,’’ Spagnuolo said. “The goal here is to pick up where we left off.’’