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Big Blue View Mailbag: Defense, tight ends, receivers addressed

Answers to questions about the Giants defense, tight ends and wide receivers in this edition of the Big Blue View Mailbag.

Osi Umenyiora has a new number with the Atlanta Falcons
Osi Umenyiora has a new number with the Atlanta Falcons

I promised our Facebook and Twitter followers a Big Blue View Mailbag on Tuesday. Then the Jason Pierre-Paul back surgery story happened and I figured I would let the Mailbag sit for a day. So, here are answers to your questions.

'Giantsstep' asks:

Do you think Reese did enough to address the pass rush issue in the offseason? Do you believe Osi will be missed sorely in that department?

Valentine's View: This question came in before the Pierre-Paul surgery was announced, and the answer is skewed by that event. Fact is, the Giants did everything they could to improve the defensive line as a whole. Cullen Jenkins, an excellent pass-rushing defensive tackle, should be a huge help. They also added veteran Mike Patterson. They drafted promising defensive end Damontre Moore. They have, as far as we can tell, moved Mathias Kiwanuka back to defensive end. Fact is, though, for the pass rush to be truly dominant Pierre-Paul has to return quickly and play like he did in 2011 and Justin Tuck needs to return to some semblance of his Pro Bowl form. Only time will tell.

As for Osi Umenyiora, it was simply time for him and the Giants to go their separate ways. I think they were tired of each other. On paper his pass-rush skills will be missed if JPP misses significant regular-season time. I think, though, we have to see how Kiwanuka and some of the young players do before we get a real answer to that question.

The rest of our questions come via the Big Blue View Facebook page.

Brian O'Neill asks:

"The current Vegas over/under line for Giants wins this year is nine. If you had to make a bet right now, where would you put your money?"

Valentine's View: This is the Giants and nine seems to be their number, as annoying as that is. The line is perfect, and it's entirely possible the Giants hit that mark for the third year in a row. If I had to plunk down $20, though, I'd take the over. Simply because I can't fathom this team going under that mark.

Roberto Felix asks:

"What's up with crybaby Cruz and Nicks?"

Valentine's View: Well, first of all 'crybaby' isn't an appropriate term for either player. When it comes to Cruz, he's in a contract negotiation and he has every right in the world to try to get every possible penny he can get. Football careers are short and injuries can kill careers in a heartbeat -- just ask former Giants Steve Smith and Clint Sintim. Fans don't have to like what's going on and it seems like the negotiations are taking forever, but the season is still several months away. It will get taken care of. Cruz has no choice but to play for the Giants in 2013. If he chooses to move on after that, so be it. The Giants will survive. As for Nicks, he hasn't been attending OTAs and -- again -- he is absolutely, perfectly, 100 percent within his rights to do that. Considering the injuries he suffered a year ago and the fact that he underwent offseason knee surgery he is probably right not to push it. There's a weird disconnect over whether or not the Giants actually knew he would be skipping OTAs and none of us really understand it or know the whole story. As for his contract, we'll just wait and see. That is unlikely to be resolved until after the upcoming season.

James Cooper asks:

"I know the Giant's signed Brent Myers from the Raiders but I haven't heard much about the TE we drafted outta Cincy last year in the 4th round Adrien Robinson. He was said to be the JPP of TE's by Jerry Reese. Can you shed any light on his progress and also will they try to employ some of that 2 TE set that NE uses at times during the season?"

Valentine's View: Robinson will be an interesting player to watch. His rookie season was set back by the fact that he missed 2012 OTAs and mini-camps because of the schedule at Cincinnati and the fact that his class still had not graduated. Reports are that he seems much more comfortable and with Bear Pascoe spending most of his time at fullback filling in for Henry Hynoski right now he is getting a ton of reps and has a huge opportunity. I would expect to see him get a healthy number of snaps this season if he shows anything during training camp.

As for two-tight end sets let's realize that the Giants are not the Patriots. Myers and Pascoe/Robinson are not Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez -- not even close. So, let's not go expecting the Giants to use them that way. There are always some two-tight end sets in the Giants' offense, but as they always have they will look mainly for their wide receivers to be their big play-makers on the outside.

Ribbed Xd asks:

"Will all the offseason acquisitions across the defensive line make our defense better then what we saw last season?"

Valentine's View: Well, we talked about this some above in specifically addressing the pass rush. The Giants have done everything they possibly can during the offseason to improve their run defense. The addition of Jenkins and Patterson, especially Jenkins, is huge. I would also expect Kiwanuka to defend the run much better than Umenyiora ever did at defensive end. Every linebacker they have brought in (Dan Connor, Aaron Curry, Kyle Bosworth) has the reputation of being a run-first linebacker.

Of course, it's all moot if Pierre-Paul isn't playing or is a shell of the dominant player the Giants need him to be. No matter what other improvements they have made if he isn't clearly their best defender they have serious issues.