Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. (Photo: Getty Images)
Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. (Photo: Getty Images)

Time to focus simply on football and for the New York Giants, that means making a run again at the playoffs. Don’t snicker.

 

Odell Beckham Jr. won’t be a holdout, nor will Landon Collins, the drama of “will they show up?” over a day before training camp officially opens on Wednesday. Coming off a terrible year, a season where the Giants had the most losses in franchise history, it is time to put all the chatter and talk purely to the side.

 

 

Time for the Giants, in other words, to get back to being the Giants. A fresh start, a direction with purpose.

 

This is a team that isn’t far away from being good and competitive again. This offseason, the Giants did a reasonably good job of rebuilding the team in the short term. They added three starters to an offensive line that was the worst in football the past two years. They cut some much-needed dead weight and got younger in a few positions on defense. And they drafted a game changer in Saquon Barkley, someone who can transform the organization over the next decade.

 

While questions persist along the defensive line and at safety, this team is better and more balanced than in years past. This thing is headed in the right direction.

 

The Giants still need to sign Beckham (NFL Network reporter Kim Jones reported on Tuesday that Beckham isn’t holding out) and Collins to contract extensions, keeping these two stars with the team long-term. And they need to begin seriously looking at the viability of quarterback Eli Manning beyond the next two years. But this team isn’t the team that went 3-13 a year ago.

 

Are they playoff contenders? Perhaps, but that isn’t a sure thing. What is a sure thing is that they won’t be winning anything close to three games this year.

 

There seems to be a direction for this team under new general manager Dave Gettleman and head coach Pat Shurmur. A year ago, the talk of this week would have been potential holdouts by Beckham and Collins. Now, those issues are settled and the Giants can really hone in on getting better.

 

It is a culture change here in New York. There was a direction and purpose to the offseason, a contrast compared to the past couple of seasons where the Giants stuck their head in the sand, ignoring major deficiencies and holes on this team. It isn’t a perfect rebuild and couldn’t have been given the salary cap constraints but the Giants will be an improved and an improving side in 2018.

 

Gettleman and Shurmur have done wonders on a shoe-string budget. Don’t be surprised if the Giants make fools of the prognostications and predictions that they will again have a high pick in next year’s NFL Draft.

 

This is a team that will surprise many and be pushing for a playoff spot late in the year.

 

 

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