With OTAs in full swing let's open up the Big Blue View mailbag and see what New York Giants questions are on your mind.
Ed says: I appreciate the effort to play GM, but c'mon now! If the Giants thought they wanted Pugh at one of the tackle spots, don't you think he would be there regardless of who else is on the roster? They made the decision BEFORE the injury to Will Beatty that they felt the best position for Pugh would be guard. They have committed to that road, Pugh added some weight and trained in the offseason to prepare to be a guard. Putting Pugh at left tackle is not a move they want to make, or one I think would be smart at all, to be honest. Pugh isn't an NFL left tackle. He's a pretty good right tackle and a guy who might turn out to be an outstanding guard. Let the guy do what he does best. As for Justin Blalock I still think the guy can play, but if you are committed playing Pugh at guard and you have Geoff Schwartz, John Jerry, Brandon Mosley, Eric Herman, Brett Jones, Dallas Reynolds and Bobby Hart competing for inside spots then where is the room for another inside player?
Ed says: Maybe an act of Congress! Seriously, I think at this point Giants fans just need to come to terms with the fact that Quinn is almost certainly going to be the special teams coach as long as Tom Coughlin is the head coach. Do I completely understand that? No. Do I support that? I don't think Quinn should get the blame for everything that goes wrong with special teams, but I don't think he should keep his job indefinitely, either.I thought the Giants should have made a change in this spot on the coaching staff years ago. Now? I'm over it. I don't necessarily agree with it, but at some point fussing about it is just wasted energy.
Ed says: Thanks, Rich! A very good question. I could just rattle off a few names of potential breakout players, but the thing that makes this question thought-provoking is the use of the word "unexpected." So, let's dig for some guys who, as we sit here at the end of May, would not appear to be guys in line to be major contributors.
The first name that comes to mind is Mike Harris. Trumaine McBride is considered first in line at the nickel cornerback spot, but I have a gut feeling Harris plays that spot more than any other Giant this season.
Jay Bromley is the second. Look at the defensive tackle rotation, and you pretty much know exactly what to expect from every player in that group -- except Bromley. The second-year man from Syracuse is the wild-card. He could become a Fred Robbins-type pocket pusher on the inside. Or, he could become a wasted early-round pick like Marvin Austin. We just don't know yet.
The final name I will put into the hat here is Kerry Wynn. While we're waiting for Damontre Moore to blossom and frothing at the mouth over rookie Owamagbe Odighizuwa, don't be surprised if the young defensive end who forces his way onto the field regularly is Wynn. He was very impressive at the end of last season, and if he continues to play that way he could end up as the best of the most productive of the young defensive ends in 2015.
Question: Over the past six years the Giants have lost 45% more man days to injury than the NFL average. This is too lengthy a period and too large a disparity to be attributed to happenstance or bad luck. Apparently the Giants are doing something wrong and they seem unable to figure out what it is. Is there some flaw in the strength and conditioning program? Are the players being pushed too hard (what are we to conclude from a player suffering a torn pectoral muscle while lifting weights)? Are injured players resuming play before they are fully healed? Are the Giants more apt to select players with an injury history than other teams? I submit that this is the most serious problem that the Giants have and it is particularly disturbing when these injuries occur before the season has even begun. -- Nat Karol (via e-mail)
Ed says: Ahh, the 'who is to blame for the injuries' question. I actually received this in a few different ways, so I figured I had to address it. Everybody wants someone to 'blame' for this frustrating, costly issue. They want an answer, a reason, they want it fixed. Truth is, so do the Giants. Problem is, there is no easy answer, no single entity deserving of blame.
It is incredibly easy to say the injuries are the fault of the strength and conditioning program, and that strength and conditioning coach Jerry Palmieri should take the fall. It is far from that simple. The Giants have suffered a wide variety of injuries over the past few years -- torn pectorals and biceps, shredded knees, ankle and toe injuries, broken bones, concussions. You name it, the Giants have suffered it. And yes, it stinks.
There is no single way to prevent any of those injuries. The Giants have done tons of studies into the science of injuries. They use lots of ultra-modern monitoring equipment and have modified their practices and incorporated more 'recovery stretch' periods to lessen the number of soft-tissue injuries.
Head coach Tom Coughlin is as cautious as can be during practices, forever yelling at players to stay on their feet and trying to make sure they take care of each other on the field.
What about the Will Beatty injury, which occurred during a supervised team weight-lifting session? Blame Coughlin if you want. He has been pushing players to get stronger -- to prevent injuries and to help the Giants along the lines of scrimmage, where they were dominated last year.So, if you want to fault Coughlin for Beatty's choice to push the envelope and lift a little more weight, fine. Isn't a coach, however, supposed to push players to get better? If you want to blame Palmieri, fine. We don't know how much weight Beatty was lifting or how much of an increase it was. We don't have all the facts.
Players train on their own much of the year. The teams have no control over what they do away from the facility -- whether they overtrain, undertrain or improperly train. There are also a good number of players on their own specialized programs even when they are in the facility under the watchful eye of the Giants strength staff.
The Giants are very conservative when it comes to holding players out of practice, and you know it grates on Coughlin. Those decisions aren't his, though. They belong to the medical and training staffs.
To my knowledge, the way these strength programs are run is fairly uniform around the league. The Giants don't have different equipment or do things much differently from any other team in the league.
This has been a long-winded way not necessarily to try to defend the Giants, though to some I am certain it sounds that way, but rather to say there simply is no easy answer or simple explanation. It has been a problem, and the numbers are stark. The problem, though, doesn't necessarily have a solution.