What the New York Giants’ 2021 off-season priority should be

New York Giants, Daniel Jones
Oct 4, 2020; Inglewood, California, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) throws a pass during the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

With the New York Giants missing the postseason, the 2021 off-season has officially commenced. It didn’t take long for management to give general manager Dave Gettleman a fourth shot at success, but I imagine he will only have one more season to prove his worth after securing 15 victories in three years.

Many around the organization believe Gettleman is credited with hiring Joe Judge, who has overhauled the team’s culture and put forth a set of disciplinary rules that command respect from players and coaches. While the Giants had their fair share of changes throughout the 2020 season, it is believed that progress is being made, and Gettleman’s chemistry with Judge is adequate.

With synergy flowing between the general manager and head coach, the Giants can continue forward with high hopes and positive momentum. While six victories shouldn’t be anything to write home about, the Giants know where they need to allocate resources this upcoming off-season, if they can manage to retain Leonard Williams/Dalvin Tomlinson. They’ve already extended safety Logan Ryan on a three-year deal, which should provide some continuity and veteran leadership in the secondary.

The defense as a whole saw massive improvements compared to 2019 when they averaged 28.2 points per game allowed. Under Patrick Graham, they averaged just 22 points per game allowed, thanks to an improved scheme and relentless pursuit from the players. The free agents acquired, and draft selections were all incredibly productive, and we have to imagine they will only continue to develop and improve with more time in the system. However, the offense is the unit that desperately needs help.

To finish the year, the Giants’ offense averaged 17.5 points per game, good for second to last in the NFL, and 189.1 passing yards per game, good for 29th. The only saving grace for them was their running attack, where they averaged 110.5 yards on the ground, which landed them in the average category.

Ultimately, if the Giants were average across the board, they would likely be in the playoffs right now and considered a decent squad. That simply isn’t the reality, as coordinator Jason Garrett put together a simplistic passing attack that lacked flair and downfield threats.

Quarterback Daniel Jones threw 20+ yards downfield on less than 10% of his attempts, with only 10 quarterbacks throwing less than him over 39 players with a specific sample size. That proves to us one thing, Garrett did not utilize Jones’ strengths, as he is one of the most accurate deep-ball passers in the NFL.

To give you an idea, Jones earned a 92.3 overall grade per PFF, earning 196 yards and four scores when throwing beyond 20+ yards down the middle of the field.

If the Giants want to improve their offense in 2021, a few things need to happen. They need to find a play-caller that pushes verticals and one that sees Jones’ strengths and attacks them properly.

What should the New York Giants’ priority be in 2021?

The number one priority for a Big Blue this off-season should be to acquire a wide receiver one that Jones can utilize in the passing game and to pair with running back Saquon Barkley. When Barkley is on the field, he demands attention from linebackers and safeties who are playing the run. Having a stud receiver allows them to fit in behind the safeties who are trying to compensate for Barkley’s elite talents.

It is the perfect combination to get Jones out of trouble and give some separation to the receivers. Whether it be a draft pick or a free-agent signing like Allen Robinson, Gettleman needs to prioritize the acquisition of a WR before anything else. The defense is in good shape, and we can expect them to retain some of their big interior linemen. With the 11th overall pick, they should have a chance at securing a talent like Devonta Smith from Alabama or Jaylen Waddle, who has solid speed and elite route running.

It should be an interesting off-season, to say the least, but if Gettleman doesn’t acquire a WR1, he should already be on the hot seat.

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