The Giants’ reworked defense may be missing a key cog, but the offense is as stocked and loaded as it’s been in quite some time.
And with the recent addition of veteran wideout James Jones, Big Blue’s offensive attack could be as lethal as any in the league.
Jones, who has a couple of practices under his belt since signing a free-agent deal late last week, is already well-versed in offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s offense, so it’s just a matter of time until he becomes a quasi-coach in the wideouts’ meeting room and on the sidelines.
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“I want to be here to help this team win and be a leader of the team. We’ve got a great room with those young guys who have lots of talent,” said Jones, who added the transition this year is easier than the one he had in Oakland during his one-year pit-stop. “When I first got here, I had a chance to meet with Coach McAdoo and go over all the play calls, and it all was second nature to me. It’s one main reason why I chose here, so I could just come into a training camp and not have to worry about learning a whole new playbook with new terminology … I’ve come here hitting the ground running. It’s exciting to run plays and do the same things I did in Green Bay.”
General manager Jerry Reese is also excited to have Jones in the mix, as he noted that Jones was on “the short list” of available free-agent wideouts.
“He’s been in that system before and knows it very well,” Reese said during his introductory press conference. “James will hit the ground running. And with that, it’ll create some competition. There’s three, four, five spots at the receiver position, so someone will have to take advantage of opportunities.”
Reese acknowledged that with the advent of the offense-friendly rules, teams are forced to score at least 28 points in order to have a chance of winning each week. The Giants averaged 23.8 points per game last season, so that goal isn’t so far fetched.
Jones has a history of playing in offenses that lit up the scoreboard, so he has an idea of what it takes. He reasoned that the Giants’ passing game can certainly attain status as a premiere unit.
“We have a bunch of guys in that receiver room who are tough to stop. I’ve been a part of offenses like that where defenses have big problems stopping a lot of weapons— especially if you are rotating guys that have been successful in this league,” said Jones. “When I look in our room, I’m excited. There are a lot of talented guys in there, and it’s going to be a tough offense to stop.”
Rueben Randle was one of those guys who was tough to stop last season. Filling in for the injured Victor Cruz, Randle put together a solid string of games when he was thrust into the starting spot opposite Odell Beckham Jr.
But with Cruz claiming he’s close to 100-percent, and the addition of Jones, playing time at the wideout position will be a hot-topic discussion all camp.
“There are a lot of good receivers here. We know it’s a business, and that’s part of the game, but I think we’re a pretty close-knit unit,” reasoned Randle. “We’re just going to come out here and give our best each and every day. It’s pretty fun for us to be around each other.”
If the wideouts truly play to their capabilities, and the offense gels as planned, Big Blue could become every bit as prolific as Jones’s former Packers teams – and be the team’s catalyst for something special.
Big Blue notes:
- The Giants announced that Reese has in fact spoken to injured star defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.
- Coughlin sounded encouraged that the two spoke: “As long as he’s talking to Jerry or somebody in the building, it looks like there’s a chance that the communication thing will open up. And when that does I’ll end up on the phone with him, I’m sure.”
- Jones is coming off a season in Oakland where he notched a career-high 73 receptions.
- First round pick Ereck Flowers suffered a hip flexor injury and is listed as day-to-day.
- Justin Pugh moved to left tackle in Flowers’s absence, while Adam Gettis was plugged in at left guard. Veteran Geoff Schwartz went to right guard, but also saw some reps at right tackle.
- Pugh was in the mix a lot at Monday’s practice, particularly during a mid-practice scuffle with defensive end Damontre Moore. The two were seen throwing punches. Pugh, who worked in mixed-martial arts sessions during the offseason, boasted that Big Blue’s offensive line needed to be “tougher” this season. Point taken.
- Kerry Wynn and Moore had chances to run with the first team at defensive ends, while Markus Kuhn and Jay Bromley did likewise at defensive tackle.