The New York Giants and Jets gear up for another season


Vincent Carchietta | USA Today Sports

Kyle McKee, Sports Editor

Both the New York Giants and New York Jets come into the 2021 NFL season with a lot of optimism for the first time in what seems like a while.

For the Giants, they’re trying to build upon last season’s late success when they finished the 2020 season winning five of their last eight games. Plus, stud running back Saquon Barkley is set to return from last year’s season-ending ACL injury he suffered in week two.

Second year head coach Joe Judge hopes Barkley will add a lot to the revamped Giants offense.

Speaking of that revamped offense, the Giants made a lot of moves this past off-season. Most notably, they signed former Detroit Lions No. 1 receiver Kenny Golladay to a four-year, $72 million deal with $40 million fully guaranteed, as reported by NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport.

Golladay gives the Giants a legitimate No. 1 receiving option for Daniel Jones. At 6’4”, 214lbs, the 27-year-old Golladay gives the Giants a big, do-it-all wide-out that can win one-on-one battles on the outside.

The Giants also signed tight end Kyle Rudolph to a two-year, up to $16 million deal, as reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Rudolph will fit right into the Giant’s system and could help former first round pick Evan Engram develop into the player most thought he would be coming out of college.

The Giants continued to add to their receiving corps in the draft, where they selected Kadarius Toney, a 6’0” speedster fresh out of the University of Florida.

With a new and improved group of skilled position players that includes Barkley, Golladay, Toney, Engram, Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton, Giants fans are hopeful for the upcoming season.

The Giants also made a big signing on the defensive side of the ball that may have gone under the radar for the casual fan. That is the acquisition of cornerback Adoree’ Jackson. When healthy, Jackson has been one of the best corners in the game. Now, alongside Pro-Bowler James Bradberry, the Giants have one fear-inducing defensive backfield.

With that being said, the only way the Giants will improve upon last year’s 6-10 record and get to where they want is if quarterback Daniel Jones improves.

Jones needs to stop turning the ball over. Whether it be from lackluster fumbles or poor decision- making that results in interceptions, Jones has been a turnover machine since he joined the NFL.

According to ESPN’s Bill Barnwell, in both 2019 and 2020, Jones led the league in fumbles despite playing in only 12 games in 2019 and 12 in 2020. That’s not even mentioning his 22 inceptions in 26 career starts.

Keeping control of the ball is a usual hiccup for most young quarterbacks. For Jones, though, it seems to be more than just a hiccup.

If Jones doesn’t take care of the football this season and make improvements as a quarterback, the Giants may have to look for a new quarterback next offseason. Let the Aaron Rodgers to New York rumors begin.

As for the Jets, well, it can’t get much worse than last year.

They finished the 2020 season with the second worst record in the league at 2-14, only ahead of the Jacksonville Jaguars. This meant that the Jets missed out on taking Trevor Lawrence with the first overall pick, a player many believe will play in the league for a long time. Instead, the Jets selected second and took Brigham Young University quarterback Zach Wilson.

Wilson is still an unknown, but he gave Jets fans plenty of hope with his brief preseason play. In fact, many NFL experts and analysts agree that out of the five rookie quarterbacks that were taken in the first round of the 2021 NFL draft — Lawrence, Wilson, Trey Lance, Justin Fields and Mac Jones — Wilson played the best in the preseason.

It remains to be seen if Wilson can translate this success to the regular season, but things are, at least, looking bright for the Jets, which hasn’t been said about the green and white for a long time.

New head coach Robert Salah and his staff’s main objective this season is to start to build a winning culture. That’s a lot easier said than done, but if Wilson shows flashes of excellence during the regular season, the Jets might be starting to build something.

That’s a big maybe, but at least it’s not a no.