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BBV Mailbag: Landon Collins’ usage, offensive line options, more

Let’s check the mail

New York Giants v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Good morning, New York Giants fans! It is time to open the BBV Mailbag and see what’s on your minds. So, let’s go!

Ed says: Thanks for the question, Steve! I honestly don’t think Collins is being misused at all. Especially recently, I think defensive coordinator James Bettcher is using him exactly the right way. Collins is much better close to the line of scrimmage as a run defender and as a guy used to cover smaller areas of the field against the pass. He’s not a deep safety or a coverage guy in the wide open parts of the field. The Giants, especially in the past couple of weeks, have used him almost exclusively that way.

There is one disclaimer. I think there is an obvious flaw in Collins’ game and it’s 1-on-1 in pass coverage against guys who are more athletic than he is. His spider chart from prior to the 2015 NFL Draft shows that he has only adequate speed and that his change of direction skills — needed in coverage — might not be great.

Bettcher said this week that he really likes the matchup of Collins 1-on-1 against good tight ends in pass coverage. I’m not sure I agree, and I know I might be contradicting myself by saying that, but if the Giants are going to use more three-safety sets with Collins as a pseudo-linebacker we’re going to find out if Bettcher is right. I will reserve judgment for now, even though I didn’t think the matchup with San Francisco’s George Kittle worked out well for the Giants. I do, however, absolutely believe that Bettcher is correct is getting Collins close to the line of scrimmage as often as possible.

These next two questions deal primarily with the same topic, so I will take them together.

Ed says: Adam, Rez, thanks for the questions. This gives me a chance to discuss something that many fans are overlooking.

The first offensive line free agent the Giants have to address is Jamon Brown. He is in the final year of his rookie deal and can bolt to the free agent market once the season is done, should he wish to. If Brown continues to play as well or better than he did Monday night against the San Francisco 49ers, the Giants will undoubtedly want to keep him. Will they be able to? That is going to be the first question they will need to answer.

As for players they could bring in from the outside, here is a list of potential 2019 free agent offensive linemen. In my view, there aren’t a whole lot of players worth pounding the table for. Perhaps Daryl Williams, currently injured Carolina Panthers right tackle. We discussed Williams the other day.

Which position is more important in terms of free agency? I believe it’s right tackle. Why? Because I think it’s more likely that Spencer Pulley could (not will, but could) be a solution at center than it is that Chad Wheeler or Brian Mihalik will be the answer at right tackle.

Ed says: Thanks for the question, but I think we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves here. We have to see how the Giants finish the season, where they draft, and figure out the scenarios from there. If you’re going to take a quarterback in the top five or top 10 you’re taking that kid to play. Why spend big money on someone like Teddy Bridgewater? Also, I keep saying this — it’s been three seasons now since Bridgewater played a snap that meant anything. No one has any idea what kind of player he is.

Ed says: Mark, thanks for the question. One I’m sure lots of Giants fans wonder about. No, I don’t think the Giants “quit” on Devon Kennard too soon.

I think that in many respects Devon Kennard and Kareem Martin, who replaced him with the Giants, are the same player. Roughly the same age (Kennard 27, Martin 26) and have pretty much the same EDGE skill set. I think that what happened is that a new regime came in (GM Dave Gettleman, coach Pat Shurmur, defensive coordinator James Bettcher. They didn’t have room for both guys and they chose Martin, a player who had been with Bettcher for four years with the Arizona Cardinals. That is the kind of thing that happens with regime change. Not surprising or unexpected at all.

Now, do I think Kennard would have been a good player for the Giants in this defense? I certainly do. He can set the edge vs. the run. He can put his hand in the ground and rush the passer. Statistically, Kennard (five sacks, 31 tackles, 534 snaps played) is having a better year than Martin (0.5 sacks, 18 tackles, 362 snaps played).

Again, I don’t think the Giants “quit” on Kennard. He was a free agent. They made a choice to bring in a player Bettcher knew and respected and who already knew the defensive coordinator’s system, rather than a player Bettcher wasn’t familiar with.

Kurt Kampp asks: What is the status of Sam Beal’s injury? Does his shoulder keep dislocating or has that been resolved? His first operation did not correct the problem.

Ed says: Kurt, all we really know is that Beal had surgery in the summer and is on season-ending IR. He is around the team, sometimes in the locker room when media is around. The team doesn’t formally discuss players on IR, but to our knowledge the Giants are expecting him to be a key player in 2019. The Giants knew about his shoulder issues when they drafted him and there has to be some concern since this is a second surgery, but we really don’t have new information.