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Sure, why not? It’s not as though they’re all starting from scratch. There is something to be said about the accumulated experience as a foundation on which the coaches will look to build up. As for Belton being underrated, I think he will be a significant contributor as a rookie if he stays healthy.
(From Sean K.) Just going off your gut, who do you think is in line for a breakout year? Also, who has been your favorite person to interview since you started covering The Giants?
What’s up, Sean? I’d like to see Dexter Lawrence II have a breakout year as a pass rusher. All too many times in the past, he got close but just didn’t finish his pass rushes. I’m hoping in Coach Wink’s scheme, that changes.
I’d also like to see Daniel Jones finally have a breakout year. I look at some of the other quarterbacks for whom there were high hopes and how a lack of an offensive line and stability ruined their promise, and I’m hoping Brian Daboll can help Jones avoid falling into this pattern.
I think Saquon Barkley will also thrive in this offense. I know he had a big year as a rookie and might not qualify for “breakout” status, but between injuries and how he was deployed after that, he’s been just a guy. Again, based on what we saw so far in the practices, I think Barkley can have a monster year if he stays healthy.
As for who my favorite player to cover is, I don’t have one guy I can say is my all-time favorite. I’ve covered some outstanding athletes and have built some nice friendships with those guys even after they retired.
I could probably count on one hand the number of guys throughout the years I didn’t like to cover (and no, please don’t ask me because I’m not naming names out of respect) versus those I enjoyed getting to know.
(From Andrew G.) We heard Joe Judge say similar things that Daboll says about the players about fitting the scheme to the players. Judge and his staff didn’t take their own advice. So why should we trust or believe Daboll that he will fit his scheme to the players?
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What’s up, Andrew? All I can tell you is that in the handful of practices we have been allowed to see, there are a lot of new formations and things that when the fans see them, they’re going to know this isn’t the Giants of old.
We would see a few different looks here and there in the past, but not to the degree of what we’ve seen in the spring. Daboll has said this is a time to experiment to see what works and what doesn’t. I don’t have a scorecard to tell you what’s worked and what hasn’t, but from what I hear, they’re very pleased with what has taken root so far on offense.
And here’s the other thing. I don’t think Judge was as heavily involved in the offense as Daboll has been. Judge pretty much left the offense up to Garrett and the defense to Patrick Graham, and while he stayed engaged to a degree, I always got the impression he mainly was checking in on things.
I also think the marriage of Daboll’s and offensive coordinator Mike Kafka’s philosophies will produce a beautifully crafted offensive scheme that’s not 100 percent Buffalo or Kansas City but lies somewhere in between. And I don’t know about you, but I’d take that in a heartbeat.
(From Mike K.) Hi Pat. How often do you think Brian Daboll will play his starters in the first preseason game?
What’s good, Mike? I hope that with this being a new offense and defense, with them having a lot of new players, and with them trying to figure out who will call plays during the season that Daboll plays the starters in the first preseason game for about a quarter, maybe a quarter and a half.
Remember, the preseason has been reduced to three games, so those snaps are valuable to gauge where a team is. I would hope that Daboll doesn’t waste them.
(From Henry F.) Are there any undrafted free agents you’re watching who you think might contribute this year?
Hi Henry. Yes, there are two guys I’m curious about, both of whom I think might make the 53-man roster. The first is running back Jashuan Corbin. He’s a shifty runner with decent hands and special teams ability, and I could see him pushing for Gary Brightwell’s roster spot. I don’t know how much he’d contribute as a rookie if he makes the roster, but this is a player who intrigues me.
The other is safety Yusuf Corker out of Kentuky. The Giants are paper-thin at the safety spot. If you consider that Julian Love is in the final year of his rookie deal and is not assured of being brought back after this year, I think Corker enters camp with a good chance of landing on the roster behind projected starters Love and Xavier McKinney, and rookie draft pick Dane Belton.