Four Downs: Giants Training Camp Preview

With training camp drawing near, the Giants Beat takes a look ahead at four major storylines surrounding Big Blue. Find out what to watch for when practices and scrimmages get underway at the Timex Performance Center in late July

First Down:

Manning the Big Blue Ship

With top receiving targets Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz at his disposal, quarterback Eli Manning is primed for a breakout year in the Big Apple. The Giants still have a bitter taste in their mouths after finishing on the outside of the NFC playoff picture looking in. With Robert Griffin III, Tony Romo and Michael Vick standing between Manning and a divisional crown, New York's aerial attack will have to be in full force in 2013. Look for Manning to establish a more consistent level of play and avoid costly mistakes which derailed the Giants postseasons chances just a season ago.

Second Down:

Cruz in Control

Multiple media reports indicate that wideout Victor Cruz is close to finalizing a long-term deal to remain a Giant. Fresh off signing his restricted free agent tender, Cruz put the contract dispute behind him and reported to minicamp last month. With training camp set to open in late July, Cruz headlines a star-studded group of pass-catchers on New York's depth chart. Cruz is as dynamic as they come and could join the league's elite with another stellar season.

Third Down:

Let the good times Rolle

The Giants' secondary was their Achilles heel last season as opponents victimized New York in the passing game. Veteran safety Antrel Rolle is looking to reverse that trend by leading a young, but talented group of defensive backs. As Big Blue looks to recover from the horrors of last season, quarterbacking the secondary falls squarely on the shoulders of their defensive playmaker in Rolle.

Fourth Down:

Pierre-Paul off the wall

Sidelined following offseason back surgery, defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul is the centerpiece of the Giants' vaunted pass rush. New York was unable to consistently pressure the passer in 2012, but with free agents Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson now in the fold, the Giants are hoping to revitalize a stagnant defensive line. With Pierre Paul and veteran Justin Tuck leading the charge, Big Blue has a chance to once again wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks as it did during its two championship seasons in 2007 and 2011.

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