Odell Beckham Jr. is questioning his teammates with the New York Giants. Well, fans of the team have questions, too. Which is what our Big Blue View mailbag is for. So, let’s open it up and see what questions spill out.
Do the Giants have the personnel to be a run first team? 2 tight, 2 back, 1 wide.— phil (@Philme01) October 5, 2018
Ed says: Well, sure. They have a fullback [Elijhaa Penny]. They have enough tight ends. But, you’re telling me you want them to take Sterling Shepard off the field on a regular basis and replace him with a tight end or fullback? That’s not a good use of your personnel. The Giants need to give the ball to Saquon Barkley as a running back more than 10 times per game, but lining up play after play with a fullback, two tight ends and only a single wide receiver isn’t going to happen. Nor should it.
Christopher Scott asks: Four games into the season and the revamped offensive line is still not allowing for big plays to develop. I understand there may not be a proven Pro Bowl lineman sitting at home waiting for a phone call. Are the Giants bringing anyone in during the week to try out, to at least kick the tires on some FA?
Ed says: Christopher, I haven’t heard of workouts the past couple of weeks. That said, the Giants have added two offensive tackles — Brian Mihalik and Jylan Ware — to their practice squad in recent weeks. I’m sure they are aware of who is available. If they thought, however, that someone on the street was better than the players they have they would have signed him already. There is a reason guys are available at midseason — the other teams have judged them not to be worthy of a roster spot.
Seth Weissman asks: Based entirely what you’ve seen from the Giants so far this season and assuming they finish with one of the 5 worst records in the league, if a top QB is available, would you draft him or an OT with the first pick in April’s draft?
Also, I love Barkley, but can we all admit that since the Giants had decided to hold onto Eli as starting QB, they should have traded down in the first round and nabbed a different RB or Bradley Chubb and another OL?
Ed says: Seth, I’m not going to commit to anything when it comes to the draft. There are 12 games yet to play. The college season is still in full swing. The draft is roughly seven months away. I haven’t, to be honest, studied a single college prospect. And I won’t for several months yet.
I have no clue what I would do. There isn’t enough information at this point to make a decision. I don’t know where the Giants will be drafting, who will be available, how the players on the current Giants roster will perform the next 12 games, what free agents they will sign or lose. There’s just no point in worrying about, or trying to figure that out, now.
As for the trade down scenario, I don’t think we should “all admit” that it’s what the Giants should have done. Saquon Barkley is a wonderful player. Trading down and adding picks is the scenario I would have preferred since the Giants weren’t selecting a quarterback, but they got four really good players at the top of their draft — Barkley, Will Hernandez, Lorenzo Carter, B.J. Hill. That haul is hard to complain about.
Gino Phillips asks: What is solution to [Curtis] Riley’s play at safety?
Ed says: On the current roster, I’m not sure there is one. The Giants let Darian Thompson and Andrew Adams go, and the only work either has been able to find is on practice squads. Which tells you the rest of the league wasn’t enamored of their abilities. Michael Thomas is not a free safety. Maybe the Giants give undrafted rookie Sean Chandler an opportunity eventually, but right now that’s about all they can do.
The real answer is that they are going to have to look for an upgrade in the offseason, whether that is via free agency or the draft.
I do understand why the Giants gave Riley the safety job. He is usually in center field, and the Giants wanted a player with range and cornerback skills. Riley has those. What he doesn’t have is the ability to tackle or take proper angles in pursuit of ballcarriers. Per Pro Football Focus, Riley already has six missed tackles in four games. He is missing one of every four tackles he attempts. For the guy who is the last line of defense — or for any NFL player, really — that isn’t going to cut it.
CTscan123 asks: We had exactly 2 good players on our offensive line last year. We let them go and spent the money to retain them on the highest paid “average“ tackle in the league, A guard with no history of success, and over the hill running back, and a $10 million middle linebacker Who can’t cover. Then we let our promising replacement center go because we couldn’t afford him. Looks to me like we lost three good players, gained one overpriced average one and not much else worthwhile. Seems to me that excluding the draft pick, which we could have made anyway, that there is less talent on the offensive line this year than last year. How is this focusing on the line? Shouldn’t we already be shouting for Gettleman’s head?
Ed says: No, fans shouldn’t be screaming for Gettleman’s head. Has every move he has made worked out perfectly? No. That’s the case for every GM of every sports team. The reality of it is the Giants have not been a good team for most of the past six or seven years. That doesn’t get fixed overnight.
You wanted Gettleman to spend close to $100 million on Justin Pugh and Weston Richburg — the best players on an offensive line that has been terrible for years? That’s basically advocating the status quo.
I happen to like both players, but the brutal truth is neither one plays the position where the Giants absolutely had to have help — left tackle — and neither one is worth the money they got paid. Pugh got five years and $45.025 million. Richburg got five years and $47.5 million.
Right now, Pugh is PFF’s 73rd-ranked guard and has given up 15 quarterback pressures. Only three guards have given up more. Gettleman would be getting destroyed if he had given Pugh that kind of money for that kind of bad play. For all the complaints about him, Patrick Omameh (three years, $15 million) has given up nine pressures. Will Hernandez, drafted to play Pugh’s left guard spot, is PFF’s third-ranked guard overall.
I’m not sure I like what the Giants did at center, but when you think you can adequately fill a position for $40+ million less than you would have had to pay Richburg, I can’t argue with that philosophy.
As for how is it focusing on the line, I don’t see any starters (other than Chad Wheeler) who were in the lineup last year. So, yeah, that’s different. They’ve done a lot. Is it perfect, or finished? No, but they have only had one offseason to try and fix something former GM Jerry Reese couldn’t get right for most of a decade.
Do you see Pat Shurmur and coach Shula simplifying the offense (like run some bubble screens or designated quick passes) to get OBJ and Saquon on space and avoid throwing checkdowns with the O-Line struggling? #BBVMailbag— César Espejel (@Csr3_) October 5, 2018
Ed says: Ummm ... I think that’s what they’ve been doing. Quick, underneath throws to try and get yards after catch. They’ve been bowing to the idea that teams are playing soft and forcing the underneath stuff. They need to create more chunk plays, and one way to do that is run the ball more, force the defense to put extra guys at the line of scrimmage and open up lanes down the field. Bubble screens and quick stuff is what we’ve been seeing.
JDatchko asks: With hindsight, worse move, signing Jonathan Stewart of trading Brett Jones?
Ed says: It seems like many fans want to fry Gettleman for these two moves. Truth is, I understand both of them.
I get why the Giants signed Jonathan Stewart. He’s a former first-round pick who has had a lot of success in the league. Gettleman knows him well, knows what kind of person he is, knows he was a good locker room presence in Carolina and knows that he can be a good influence on Saquon Barkley. By all accounts, he has been that for Barkley.
When you take over a 3-13 team that had a fractured locker room and a losing culture, finding the right kind of veteran locker room leaders is critical. It’s a big part of why Stewart was signed.
Now, did Gettleman overpay Stewart and misjudge how much ability he had left on the field? Yes to both questions. The Stewart contract is a bad one, and before he went on IR he hadn’t shown anything on the field. Again, though, I do understand why Gettleman wanted Stewart to be part of the 2018 Giants.
As for Jones, I have also said before that I understand why the Giants traded him. I was surprised by the decision to start Jon Halapio over Jones. Once it was made, though, trading Jones made sense. The Giants were desperate for cap space, Jones was one of their few tradeable assets, and we’re finding out that John Greco is just fine at center. I had less problem with trading the guy than I did with not giving him the starting job to begin with.
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