By John McMullen, NFL Editor
REPORT DATE: July 21
SITE: Quest Diagnostics Training Center, East Rutherford, NJ
CAMP CONFIDENTIAL: Two Super Bowl titles will get you a lot of things in the NFL and one of them is the benefit of the doubt.
Many just assume highly-regarded Giants head coach Tom Coughlin is on the precipice of turning things around with "Big Blue" but a more logical look at the team's talent level points to a far darker outcome.
The offensive line was truly offensive for the Giants in 2013 and the root of all evil in north Jersey as Eli Manning produced more turnovers than your local bakery. Meanwhile, New York's running game put up the franchise's worst numbers since 1945.
Underrated free agent guard Geoff Schwartz should help, but center Weston Richburg was a major reach in the second round of May's draft. So, Manning and whomever plays running back, whether it be free agent pickup Rashad Jennings, holdovers Peyton Hillis, Michael Cox and David Wilson or rookie Andre Williams, will be toiling behind one of pro football's worst blocking units again.
Defensively the Giants took a major hit when starting middle linebacker Jon Beason went down with a ligament tear and a small fracture in his right foot during OTAs.
Beason said a return by the team's Sept. 8 opener at Detroit is within the timeframe of his recovery period but that's being awfully optimistic.
"I expect to be back," said Beason, who was hurt defending a pass play. "If not, I'll be back as soon as I can."
KEY OFFENSIVE ACQUISITION: After losing veteran wide receiver Hakeem Nicks in free agency the Giants went for his replacement over offensive line help in the draft, selecting Odell Beckham, Jr. in the first round, perhaps the most versatile option among the draft's deepest position.
Beckham has the speed to be a terror outside the numbers and the route-running skills to be an impact from the slot. With Victor Cruz already dominating inside for the Giants, however, it's likely Beckham at least starts as an outside receiver.
KEY DEFENSIVE ACQUISITION: Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie arrives from Denver to give the Giants a pure cover guy with excellent ball skills. DRC isn't exactly Antoine Winfield in run support but he should team with Prince Amukamara and fellow free-agent pickup Walter Thurmond to give the Giants the best CB group in the defensively-challenged NFC East.
PRESEASON SCHEDULE (All Times Eastern):
Aug 3 - at Buffalo, 8:00 PM Aug 9 - vs. Pittsburgh, 7:30 PM Aug 16 - at Indianapolis, 7:00 PM Aug 22 - at NY Jets, 7:30 PM Aug 28 - vs. New England, 7:30 PM
07/17 11:41:35 ET