By Jeff Moeller, The New York Extra/thenyextra.com
Jason Garrett is in his element.
The Giants hope Patrick Graham is.
Garrett shines bright as an offensive coordinator, less bright as a head coach. He may be the most significant offseason acquisition. Garrett has the tools in Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley, and Evan Engram among some others. He also has a successful resume in this role.
We’ll get a glimpse of what the Giants’ offense will be like when they host Pittsburgh Monday night at the Meadowlands. There is a growing trend that the Giants have the offensive personnel to be a Wild Card team.
On paper, they are.
However, like every other team, they haven’t had a dress rehearsal and this will be an impromptu curtain call against the Steelers.
Garrett will look to run the ball heavily with Barkley against an aggressive Pittsburgh defense, but has the Giants’ line jelled despite their struggles at center.
It will be about a short passing game and ball control with Barkley and Dion Lewis and how to utilize Engram in a short passing game.
Hence, Graham enter the piece.
The former Miami defensive signal caller took on the seemingly arduous task of reshaping the Giants’ defense.
The Giants loaded up on linebackers to try enhance Graham’s 3-4 front, one that will implore Graham’s blitzing schemes. Graham has retooled the secondary all summer with the loss of De’Andre Baker and Sam Beal, bringing in Logan Ryan and Issac Yiadom in the final phase.
Graham’s unit desperately needed a trial run, notably due to giving up an average of just over 28 points per game for a 25th ranking of 32 teams.
Yet, Graham’s Miami defense in 2019 was ranked 30th, giving up an average of 402 yards and nearly 31 points per game.
To his credit, Graham’s defense matured as the season went on, highlighted by a season-ending 27-24 win over New England. He was considered a major influence on Miami’s midseason rebirth last year.
They’ll have the task of corralling aging quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who is anxious to get back after being sidelined after the second game of last season.
It will be the long-awaited debut for both coordinators and a strong indicator of what will ahead over the next three months. The 4.5-point favorite Steelers will be a good litmus test.
Still, the bottom line here is patience. Giants’ fans are anxious for a winner, and their expectations have been raised by their headliners and their hard-nosed, young, and unassuming head coach.
Regardless, Garrett and Graham hold the keys to the team’s success. Monday night could be the beginning of a whole new era or a continued era of frustration.