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5 Reasons to be optimistic about the New York Giants heading into the season

Jason Leach

We’re less than three weeks away from the New York Giants’ regular-season opener against the Tennessee Titans on September 11th in Nashville.

After five consecutive double-digit loss seasons, the Giants’ brass has turned their faith to general manager Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll to bring back credibility to the franchise.

New York has made some nice additions to the roster and coaching staff this offseason, which have had a positive impact in the team’s facility. There’s also been a share of setbacks such as losing receiver Collin Johnson for the season on Wednesday due to a torn Achilles.

But there are reasons to be optimistic that the 2022 season will be significantly better than the previous five, and that Big Blue is heading in the right direction.

Related: New York Giants schedule and game-by-game predictions

A healthy Saquon Barkley

new york giants running back saquon barkley
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

At long last, Saquon Barkley seems to be fully healthy. Not only is he healthy, but the 25-year-old running back is highly motivated to prove his doubters wrong and earn a lucrative contract.

Barkley is playing behind the best line he’s ever played with, and he has been running hard and making crisp cuts throughout training camp. Now, the question is can he stay healthy? It is something he hasn’t done since his rookie season. If he can avoid the injury bug, he’ll have over 300 touches and a chance of reaching 2,000 all-purpose yards.

When healthy, there are few players in this league as explosive as Barkley, and he is on a mission to prove that he is still an elite running back.

Related: New York Giants’ Saquon Barkley’s fantasy outlook

The edge is solidified on the offensive line and defensive front

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time in over a decade, the Giants seem to not only solidified their offensive tackles with Andrew Thomas and Evan Neal, but they also appear to have two elite pass rushers in Azeez Ojulari and Kayvon Thibodeaux.

Thomas is entering his third year and improved dramatically last season from his rookie campaign in 2020. Last year, Ojulari set the franchise rookie record for sacks in a season with eight.

Although Neal and Thibodeaux have yet to play in a regular season game, they have a high ceiling as they established themselves as two of the best players in this year’s draft class. A sprained MCL might keep Thibodeaux from playing in the season opener, but as soon as he’s healed expect him to be a disruptive force coming off the edge.

The best part of this quartet of players is that they’re all under the age of 24 (Thomas 23, Ojulari 22, Thibodeaux & Neal 21) and will only get better as their careers progress.

For a team to have sustained success, it must establish a core group of young players that will be huge factors within the team for years to come. The Giants appear to have found four core players that they hope will be with the franchise for the remainder of the decade.

Related: 5 New York Giants that have stood out the most in the preseason

Finally, an innovative New York Giants offense

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at New York Giants
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New York’s offense will finally be out of the dark ages this season thanks to the innovative minds of Daboll and offensive coordinator Mike Kafka. This year, you’ll see pre-snap motion by the offense that will defenses on their heels.

You will also see Daboll and Kafka put players in favorable matchups which will include having Barkley line up in the slot or spread wide. You’ll also see rookie wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson line up in the backfield, and rookie tight end Daniel Bellinger lined up in various positions.

Rest assured that you will see some excitement from New York’s offense in 2022.

Related: New York Giants’ standing in our updated NFL power rankings

On paper, a favorable schedule

We know that games aren’t played on paper and teams’ personnel changes each year, but you can’t help but notice there are some winnable games for a team that went 4-13 a season ago.

The Giants 2022 opponents had a combined record of 106-131-1 last year. This includes a stretch from Weeks 7 thru 11 where New York plays at Jacksonville and at Seattle before returning home to play the Texans and Lion after the bye. It would be alarming if the team doesn’t have a better record this season.

Schoen and Daboll have turned a franchise around before

NFL: New York Giants Training Camp
Jessica Alcheh-USA TODAY Sports

Reclamation projects are nothing new to Schoen and Daboll as they played key roles in turning the Bills’ franchise around. Schoen was hired as Bills assistant general manager in 2017, and Daboll would join the franchise a year later as the offensive coordinator.

In their first year together, the Bills would go 6-10 but established a culture and attitude that would help the team for years to come. In 2019, Buffalo went 10-6 and lost in the wild card round. Then in 2020, they won the AFC East with a 13-3 record and made it all the way to the AFC Championship game. Last year, they once again won the AFC East with an 11-6 record before suffering a heartbreaking 42-36 loss to the Chiefs in the Divisional Round.

Now Giants fans are hopeful lighting will strike twice with Daboll and Schoen, especially since both are in more prominent roles with the Giants.