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NFL training camp: 5 questions for the New York Giants

Wide receiver Victor Cruz #80 of the Giants

Wide receiver Victor Cruz #80 of the Giants looks on before a game against the Arizona Cardinals at MetLife Stadium on Sept. 14, 2014 in East Rutherford, N.J. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Alex Trautwig

Five questions facing the Giants as they open training camp:

1. When will JPP show up?

The Giants have no idea when -- and in what condition -- their best defensive lineman will report to the team. After a fireworks mishap on the Fourth of July that reportedly cost Jason Pierre-Paul his right index finger, a broken thumb and other hand injuries, lines of communication between the player and team have been virtually nonexistent. JPP has insisted to team management in vague texts that he will return at 100-percent capabilities, but the Giants remain in the dark when it comes to most of the answers Pierre-Paul could provide.

2. How will the O-line shape up?

You could easily come up with five -- nay, 20 -- questions regarding just this one unit, which it seems won't have a returning starter playing the same position as a year ago. The big one, though, focuses on rookie Ereck Flowers, who will have to play the all-important left tackle spot after Will Beatty tore his pectoral. Flowers was projected to start his career at right tackle, but now there is a vacancy there as well. Who fills it? Marshall Newhouse? Geoff Schwartz? Does Justin Pugh move back there after being switched to a guard in the spring?

3. Will Victor Cruz still be Victor Cruz?

All signs point to the veteran wide receiver making a complete recovery from the torn patellar tendon that cost him most of the 2014 season. But until he gets on the field and starts salsa dancing in the end zone again, there's no way to know for sure whether he still has the cutting ability, quickness and speed that made him a Pro Bowler and a fan favorite.

4. Who will play safety?

Landon Collins most likely will be one of them, and having a rookie start there comes with its own set of questions and problems. The other starter has yet to be determined, but the pool of candidates is not deep on experience. Nat Berhe and Cooper Taylor are expected to compete at the start, although neither has ever started an NFL game. Converted cornerback Bennett Jackson could get a shot. Rookie Mykkele Thompson was impressive in the spring but is probably still too unpolished to emerge. An unimpressive list of veteran free- agent acquisitions that includes Josh Gordy and Jeremy Miles is also in the mix.

5. Could this be Eli Manning's best statistical season ever?

The sides are close to finalizing a deal that will make Manning the Giants' quarterback for the rest of his career. As he enters Year Two of the Ben McAdoo-shaped offense, there is every reason to believe that the two-time Super Bowl MVP can put up big numbers. He'll have the weapons in Odell Beckham Jr., Shane Vereen, Rueben Randle, and most likely Cruz. If the line can give him some time, and those targets remain healthy, he should be able to top his career highs in most passing categories.


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