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Questions about NFL Draft, tanking, Kyle Lauletta, more in BBV Mailbag

Let’s open it up and see what we’ve got

At 1-7 this season and 4-21 in their last 25 games the New York Giants haven’t given their fans much to feel good about. Except maybe that, since they aren’t playing this weekend, they can’t lose again. Or maybe they can. Somehow.

Anyway, let’s open up the Big Blue View mailbag and see what questions we can answer this week.

Ed says: Well, I think all you have to do is look at the roster, identify the young players the Giants have who they can build around, and go from there. Saquon Barkley, Will Hernandez, B.J. Hill, Lorenzo Carter to start with. I don’t know where you stand on Eli Manning, but you could have a new quarterback next year. I am also optimistic that GM Dave Gettleman, despite a couple of misses this time around, will eventually get the offensive line right. I have a lot more faith in him to get that done than I ever did in Jerry Reese.

Ed says: The quarterback from Oregon is Justin Herbert. To be honest, I don’t know enough about him to know for sure that he is the best option in the first place. The Giants’ best option in the draft might be taking a defensive lineman like Nick Bosa or Ed Oliver, or an offensive tackle. Right now, I don’t know.

What’s the best option at quarterback for 2019? It’s probably someone from one of these two lists [College QBs | Trade/FA candidates]. It could be Kyle Lauletta. It might even — gasp! — be Eli Manning staying as a short-term placeholder.

Ed says: No, no, no! A thousand, make that a million, times no! I absolutely do not believe in “tanking,” I don’t believe in rooting for your team to lose and all of that stuff. The No. 1 draft pick doesn’t guarantee you a thing in the draft — except the first of 32 chances to make a first-round mistake. In no way, shape or form does it ever guarantee you the best player.

There are benefits to winning games, especially for the young players on the current roster who could and should be cornerstones to the future of the team. Do you want them to get used to losing? To accept it? To think it’s normal, or OK? No, you don’t. You want them to progress, to learn what it takes to win. You want them to experience some success, to begin to learn how to win games at the NFL level. You want to see their hard work pay off before they begin to question why they are putting in so much time and effort. You should want to see this team get better. You should want them to show signs of progress.

There will be more than one really good player available in the draft. What if you tank, go all in on getting Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert and he doesn’t declare for the draft? Or, you tank, go all in on Herbert, and he turns into Sam Bradford or Blake Bortles? What have you gained? Nothing. The idea is to pick the right one when your turn comes up, no matter where that is. That’s what the consistently good teams do.

The Giants have, since 2015, had the 10th pick, the ninth pick and the second pick in the draft. How many of those have they gotten right? Get the pick right and it doesn’t matter whether it’s first or 32nd.

Ed says: We don’t know the punishment for Lauletta. He reportedly has a court date coming up next week. After that, we will see what the Giants do. Yes, the Giants need to have a plan in place. I have thought all along that the first step in that plan would be seeing, for at least a couple of games, what Lauletta can do. That may still be the plan, but all of the fallout from his arrest has to be dealt with first.

Ed says: Disagree. And, honestly, I couldn’t disagree more strongly with this opinion. Were you living under a rock, without TV, cable, Internet or even radio this week? Did you not notice that Lauletta got himself arrested on Tuesday?

How on earth can you “reward” a guy who has never played a snap in the NFL by giving him his first NFL start in the game following his arrest for driving like a maniac because he was late for practice, then apparently acting like a belligerent child when he got stopped?

You absolutely can’t. Not unless you want to completely lose the ability to control and discipline the locker room. Start Lauletta in Week 10 and you are telling every player on the team that their behavior and the way they represent the organization doesn’t mean a damn thing.

Here is another point. Nick Mullens was terrific in his NFL debut. Remember, though, he is not a rookie. He was on the San Francisco 49ers practice squad for the entire 2017 season and was with them all of this season, as well. So, he has had time to learn.

As far as Lauletta, let’s let the legal and NFL disciplinary process play out. There can also be doubt he’s damaged his standing with the organization. Before they put him on the field to see if he can perhaps be their quarterback in 2019 he has work to do to regain their trust. That can’t happen by Week 10 vs. the 49ers.

Ed says: Brian, I really don’t know at this point what the plan is for quarterback going forward. Let’s talk about Derek Carr and Teddy Bridgewater, though.

The Raiders just got a first-round pick for a wide receiver, Amari Cooper. They got two first-round picks and other considerations for Khalil Mack. What do you think the price tag will be for Carr, if they move him. He’s a quarterback, and a pretty good one, so that price tag is probably in the neighborhood of what Oakland got for Mack. Can the Giants, who need a lot more than a quarterback, mortgage that much to get one? I don’t think so.

As for Teddy Bridgewater, I keep answering this question the same way. I know he was in Minnesota with current Giants coach Pat Shurmur. What, though, makes anyone think Teddy Bridgewater can be a top-flight quarterback? Maybe he can, but he hasn’t completed a pass or played a meaningful NFL snap since 2015. As long as Drew Brees stays healthy in new Orleans, that will continue to be the case.

By 2019, he won’t have played a snap that mattered for three full seasons. There’s no way to know what the guy is at this point. I could see a short-term (one- or two-year) deal for Bridgewater that the Giants could escape from after a year, but I don’t think anyone really knows how good a quarterback Bridgewater can be right now.

Ed says: Yes, it’s possible Manning could be the quarterback next season. He has a contract for next year. So, until he retires or gets traded/released, it’s possible. What if the line plays a little better over the final eight games, the Giants start converting a decent number of red zone opportunities into touchdowns, they score more points and win a few games? If that happens they could absolutely justify Manning returning — and that’s not to say I think it’s right or wrong — because they could point to progress and say they are going in the right direction.

Even if they draft another quarterback, they could decide Manning is the best short-term placeholder to teach that young quarterback.

If it happens I know there will be many who won’t like it. But, it could.

Bruce Frazer asks: What are your feelings on how the new coaching staff is doing this year? Given that Hal Hunter as an O- line coach and Shurmur as a head coach have never been overly successful, do you think they have been handicapped by a lack of talent when given their previous opportunities or they just will never be winners at the NFL level?

Ed says: Bruce, I think it’s too soon to give up on the idea Pat Shurmur can be a winning head coach. Shurmur did a lot of good things leading up to the season, and I think he’s done a good job holding the Giants together. He just hasn’t won games yet. Can he? I think he needs more time before we can answer that. He stepped into a really bad situation with a bad roster, and it is quite obviously not fixed yet. I wrote about this topic a few days ago, and I would refer you to that rather than repeating all of that here.

We obviously aren’t in meetings or at practices to judge what players are being told/taught, but considering what we see from the offensive line I think it’s fair to wonder about Hal Hunter. He has coached with the Chargers, Colts and Browns at the NFL level. We will get our answer this offseason when we see if the Giants made any adjustments to the assistant coaches. I wish I could be more definitive. Other than the results we all see on game days, though, we just don’t have a whole lot else to go on.