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Mailbag: LeGarrette Blount, offensive line, more questions

Let’s see what’s in the mail this week

NFL: New York Jets at New England Patriots
LeGarrette Blount
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The stages of the NFL offseason are winding slowly by — free agency, the draft, rookie mini-camp have been completed. Up next for the New York Giants are OTAs, which begin Monday. Before they start, let’s check the Big Blue View mailbag and see what’s on your mind.

Ed says: “Scoop” implies that Giants GM Jerry Reese did something wrong here, and I’m not going to buy into that line of thinking. The Eagles signed a good player who should help them. The Giants, by all reports, were interested in LeGarrette Blount and made him an offer they were comfortable with, which ESPN reported was for the minimum salary. It wasn’t enough, and it tells you the Giants interest in BLount wasn’t nearly as serious as had been previously reported. This is the same thing that happened with Johnathan Hankins. The Giants decided how much they were willing to pay the player, and he got more elsewhere. That’s how it goes.

Casey Grae asks: What do you think Shane Vereen's role will be next year? I personally can get very excited with having Odell, Marshall, Shep, Engram, and Vereen all on the field at the same time.

Ed says: The same as it’s been the last two years when he has been healthy. Vereen will play mostly on third down and in likely passing situations. He will get some carries in the regular offense, but his primary role will be to make plays in the passing game to create first downs and keep drives going.

Chris Scanlon asks two questions:

1 – There are now an awful lot of mouths to feed on the offense. How do you think Marshall and more importantly, Beckham are going to adjust to this reality? Even Shepard cannot be pleased as this will likely slow down his ascension to stardom.

Ed says: First and foremost, I think this is a nice “problem” to have. If it’s a problem at all. I’m not really sure it is. Let’s look at some numbers. The Giants were 29th in the NFL in time of possession last year, 16th in offensive plays run per game, 26th in points per game and 21st in yards per play. None of those are great, but the one that really jumps out is time of possession. The Giants should be better offensively in 2017, which means longer time of possession, more plays run and, consequently, more opportunities to go around.

That said, of course not every receiver can catch 100 passes. There should, however, be opportunities for everyone if they do their jobs, and the offensive line holds up. I don’t see the number of options Eli Manning has at his disposal as a problem. What was a problem over the last couple of years was the Giants’ inability to get anything done on offense much of the time unless the ball was going to Beckham.

As for Sterling Shepard and his “ascension to stardom” I think that’s kind of presumptuous. He’s not Beckham, Mike Evans or Julio Jones. He’s a good young player and, hopefully, he will get open more consistently this year than he did in 2016. If he’s unhappy about the Giants having a better offense that is a problem.

2 – So we swapped Fluker for Newhouse. We know about Fluker's pedigree and that the Giants coveted him, but based on the tape, is this likely and an improvement or just a wash?

Ed says: That remains to be seen. Training camp and the preseason will tell us if D.J. Fluker is going to start or be a backup. The Giants did like his skill set coming out of college and want to see if they can get more out of him than the Chargers did. We’ll see. The interesting thing, by the way, about Marshall Newhouse being gone is that the best role for him is as a swing tackle coming off the bench. The Giants don’t have one of those right now.

Ed says: Sure, there’s a chance all of those things could happen. We live in the “never say never” world of Ben McAdoo. The Giants have been clear that Fluker will begin at guard, which means he would be in competition with Jerry. That said, I don’t think the Giants gave Jerry a three-year, $10 million contract ($3.325 million guaranteed) to sit on the bench. It’s more likely, I think, that in the end Fluker winds up competing with Bobby Hart for the right tackle job. As for Adam Bisnowaty, I would think him earning a starting job in 2017 is a long shot but I’m certainly not going to say there is no chance it could happen.

Ed says: Most likely, yes. McAdoo has said he wants the offense to be more multiple in 2017. Now, does that mean “11 personnel,” three receivers, one tight end, one running back, will no longer be their “go to” offensive set? Probably not. It’s McAdoo’s favorite set and that probably isn’t changing. We should see more mixing and matching with two tight ends, maybe four wide receivers, whatever, more often. McAdoo has more flexibility now with the additions of Evan Engram, Brandon Marshall and Rhett Ellison. Let’s see how he uses them.

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