The Giant Insider Online

Meet the New Faces Who Will Bring the Giants Back to Prominence

After last season’s 3-13 debacle that sunk the New York Giants to historic lows in both the standings and in the public’s eye, it was only logical that a purge was in order.

The ownership group, after miscalculating on head coach Ben McAdoo and allowing Jerry Reese to linger too long as the general manager, has appeared to take the corrective measures to turn the Giants back into NFC contenders.

The first step was the hiring of Dave Gettleman as general manager. Gettleman swooped in and took immediate action by setting a new tone for the organization, one that would stress fundamentals and structure. Here are some of the new faces that will help spearhead that initiative:

Pat Shurmur, head coach

Shurmur has brought professionalism and class back into 1925 Giants Drive. He has experience and knowledge and could be the best head coach hire by any team this offseason. He wisely acknowledged that Eli Manning was far from done and implemented an offensive plan that better suits the 37-year-old two-time Super Bowl MVP.

He has been crafty in handling any and all off-field distractions thus far and has won the locker room over with his low-key, high-energy demeanor. His business-like approach has been embraced by everyone in the building.

James Bettcher, defensive coordinator

There’s only one way to play effective defense in this league, and Bettcher’s aggressive system is the prototypical model. The Giants had gotten away from a linebacker-led style of play in favor of piling up linemen and defensive backs.

Bettcher will stress proactive play from his linebackers in his 3-4 base alignment behind bigger bodies up from on the defensive line. The players are buying in and the Giants’ defense looked to be poised for a rebound in 2018.

Nate Solder, left tackle

It was no secret that Ereck Flowers isn’t the future at left tackle for the Giants. They needed to upgrade and who better to slide in there than the guy who kept Tom Brady clean the past seven seasons?

Solder not only adds stability to the blindside but also serves as a mentor to the younger lineman. His size and ability combination feeds right into Gettleman’s mantra of big bodies in the trenches and his presence puts Manning’s mind more at ease, something it wasn’t the past few seasons.

Will Hernandez, left guard

The Giants were missing toughness and grit up front and adding this young man will go a long way in helping them re-establish themselves in those trenches.

Hernandez brings an attacking style to the Giants offensive line and his aggressiveness is becoming infectious. Placing him next to Solder gives Big Blue a solid 1-2 punch on the left side for the first time in many years.

Manning will be pestered a lot less, allowing him to operate unfettered for a change. He’ll be able to hold onto the football a little longer, extending plays and moving the chains.

Saquon Barkley, running back

Undoubtedly the most talented player in the draft this season, Barkley will help the Giants open their offense back up. Defenses will have to gameplan for him which will leave less resources to deal with the talented receiving corps.

Barkley, who is practically uncoverable by linebackers, has the big play ability teams both crave and fear. It is unclear how the Giants plan on using him. His skills set is so vast the team hasn’t quite been able to tap into how Barkley can help them. The bottom line is, he is an explosive player and you can’t have enough of those.

Alec Ogletree, linebacker

The trade for Ogletree was put down by some pundits, perhaps because their favorite team didn’t make it. This guy is the real deal. The Rams overpaid him and had to ditch him to solve some other cap issues. The Giants adroitly made the move and fans are going to realize the benefits of that this season.

The man can play. The Giants have been in dire need of a defensive leader and Ogletree is more than capable of filling the bill. He’ll call the defensive plays and make a ton of tackles along with B.J. Goodson, the team’s other inside linebacker.

B.J. Hill, defensive line

Any scout who went to eyeball Bradley Chubb at N.C. State also got a healthy serving of defensive tackle B.J. Hill. For those who thought Hill’s success was a product of Chubb’s greatness may have gotten it backward.

Perhaps Chubb benefitted from Hill’s prowess. The Giants are from the latter school of thought. Now that they have Hill in camp, they are beginning to believe they were right. Hill is pushing hard for a starting role on Bettcher’s defense and at the very least will see a lot of action as a rookie.

Lorenzo Carter, outside linebacker

Carter did not fulfill his potential at Georgia which is why he fell to the third round of the draft. That doesn’t detract from the reality that he is still a stud in waiting.

He showed some flashes as a senior again and that’s what the Giants believe they could be getting. The knock on Carter is that at 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, he’s too “long and lanky” to play defensive end and not aggressive enough to be an effective linebacker.

The Giants are betting that he can develop into both. They like his pass-rushing ability and believe Carter will fit nicely into Bettcher’s new scheme.

Riley Dixon, punter

The Giants needed an upgrade over Brad Wing, who had a dismal season in 2018. They traded for Riley, who was made expendable after the Broncos signed Marquette King. It’s not certain where and how Dixon will be better but he can’t be worse.

He is an upgrade, however, and that’s what matters here. Only 31 percent of his punts were placed inside the 20-yard-line but compared to Wing’s league-low 20 percent it’s an increase the Giants can live with.

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