Happy Fourth of July Weekend everyone! Here is a Big Blue View mailbag to give you your fill of the New York Giants before you head off to spend the holiday with your family.
John Hester asks: How confident are u that we will win the nfc east? In do the giants have the most potent offense in the league?
Ed says: The Giants haven't made the playoffs in three years, and have missed them in five of the last six years. They have had back-to-back losing seasons. It is foolish to be confident that they "will" win the NFC East. They might, I don't believe the gap between the Giants, Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles isn't as big as some think. I am confident the Giants have a chance to bet better than they have the past two years, that is as far as I will go.
As for the offense, "best in the league" is also a huge leap to make. If everyone stays healthy and the offensive line proves capable the Giants have a chance to be among the best. I think that's the realistic way to look at it.
Craig Massey asks: A little while back BBV posed the question of who we thought was the most important Giant (after Eli). I think I may have been the only one to say Will Beatty. I think Eli is a completely different QB when he's worried about taking blindside pressure. His accuracy and decision making take tumbles. If Flowers, as a rookie, happens to be only a fraction as good as Beatty has been at pass protection or if he has a lot of early bumps and Eli just loses confidence in the protection from that side, I think the offense is going to suffer severely. I hope I'm wrong and Flowers does a good job from the start. Your thoughts?
Ed says: I think every quarterback is better when protected than they are when being pressured, blindside or elsewhere. The problem for Eli is that he isn't capable of making a lot of plays with his feet, and he makes some poor decisions when he starts running around. We saw in 2013 what can happen to a quarterback who gets hit way too often, as Manning was that year. They get jittery in the pocket, start looking for rushers who aren't there and start getting rid of the ball as quickly as they can, resulting in bad decisions and bad throws. That's a natural thing. It hurts to get crushed by guys who weight 50-100 pounds more than you who are running full speed. Call me a sissy, but I was a quarterback in elementary school and I wanted no part of getting hit by those big fellas once high school came around. I stuck to basketball.
Dryan Bavis asks: Beckham: did he have an attitude or was it the media? After creating an unending parade of adulation did they feel entitled to his post-practice interview? Or after an unending parade of adulation for 10 months did beckham feel that he was beyond reproach and didn't have an obligation to speak to them?
Ed says: Thanks for the question. Maybe there is "blame" on both sides, if you want to use that word. The media had a right to be upset with Beckham. He had committed to speaking the final day of minicamp, and the Giants' PR staff let everyone know that. Many of the writers there that day were only there because their editors sent them to attend the Beckham presser. So, he made it a wasted day for a lot of people. That's a recipe for getting lambasted on Twitter and in print.
That said, he is a very young man and I understand that he gets frustrated, doesn't want to keep talking about his hamstring or his comments about being sensitive to ribbing by his teammates, and can get upset when he reads speculation in the media about his attitude. I think everyone needs to understand that what has been thrust upon him is a lot for anyone to handle, especially a kid just out of college. He has to figure out how to deal with all of it and still keep his love for the game and his focus on football.
I completely get that he wants to be guarded and that with the celebrity that he has gained there are a lot of people with their hands out wanting something from him. Still, the media has a job to do. A little bit of access to him would probably go a long way toward putting out this brush fire. If I were advising him I would tell him that if he gives a little he will get that back in return simply because the media will actually have things to write about other than being stood up.
Jorge Passapera asks: What position will Justin Pugh finally play? Will he play Guard or RT?
Ed says: Pugh played left guard the entire spring. Offensive line coach Pat Flaherty left the door open for Pugh to return to the right tackle spot he manned the first two years of his career, but I wouldn't count on it. Pugh did not take any snaps that I saw at right tackle in OTAs or minicamp. Until I see evidence to the contrary, the answer to this one has to be guard.
Rich Zinamon asks: Ed, Is there anything Ereck Flowers can do before training camp to help him improve his skills on what Coach Flaherty taught him in the OTA's? Also, besides DRC & Prince at the corners, there's a lack of depth there. Do you see Bennett Jackson going back to corner or do the Giants look for a corner after the final cuts in training camp?
Ed says: Thanks, Rich. In terms of what Flowers can do, or any player can do at this point, all they can really do is get in the gym or work with their personal trainers on their fitness. Maybe some of that involves technique work. Guys could do some film work on their own or study their play books. That's about it. As for Jackson, I don't think the Giants move him back to corner. I think if they thought that was the place for him they would have kept him there. I do, however, think it is possible -- maybe even likely -- that they add a veteran corner after final cuts are made.
Andy Holtorf asks: If [Nat] Berhe returns to camp fully healthy do you think Cooper Taylor has just as good a shot to start (next to collins) and why do people tend to count him out against berhe? Collins definitely doesn't lack in effort and seems to have been the best safety through OTAs/minicamp. Thanks!
Ed says: Andy, I think that the safety spot next to Collins is wide open. Berhe would probably be the favorite, but maybe only because he was around all of last season. The Giants do like both players, with Taylor's biggest problem being an inability to stay on the field. As for why people count him out, maybe it's just because fans have never really seen him.
Darko Davis asks: With Weatherford's inconsistencies, recent comments and NYG paying more attention to ST, should they be strongly considering an upgrade at punter? Also ... I'm sure J Brown will be fine ... but with the XP being moved back, do ya think we'll see Ks drafted higher in the future?
Ed says: Thanks for the question, Darko. I am not sure at all that I would agree that Weatherford has been inconsistent. I think he was terrific his first three seasons with the Giants, getting better each year. I think you throw out anything that happened in 2014. The guy punted all season after suffering four torn ligaments in his left ankle, which is the foot he plants on to drive into punts. Most human beings would have gone on IR rather than continue to play, and looking back maybe that would have been the smart thing to do. I have no clue how you punt the ball 40-50 yards, much less get hang time or place it exactly where you are supposed to when your plant foot is basically mush. The ankle injury also led to a back a injury.
As for placekickers, I doubt the extra point will lead to them being drafted higher. If anything, you will see more two-point conversion attempts and less use of the placekicker. Moving the kickoff up already decreased their value.