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BBV Mailbag: Quarterback question is a big one this week

Let’s open up the mail!

Maryland Island Community Could Lose Post Office As USPS Considers Shuttering Offices Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

There was no BBV Mailbag last week as only a couple of questions came in. This week, though, we have a number of quality New York Giants-related questions. So, let’s open up the mailbag and get down to business.

Jason Lyn asks: How would you fix the QB situation if you were in (Dave) Gettleman’s position? I would explore a young veteran a la Kerry Collins route and use the draft to fix the trenches and edge rushers. Who is the veteran QB? Bridgewater.

Ed says: Jason, thanks for the question. This one was asked in a number of ways by a number of different people, so to anyone who asked a version of the “quarterback” question, here are my thoughts.

The way that the Giants offense has played recently, with the team averaging 31.4 points per game since the bye (and I know there were a couple of defensive touchdowns in there) and Eli Manning playing effectively, I’m operating right now with the belief that Manning will be back under center for the Giants next season. Unless he retires.

If they can help it I believe the Giants would rather not change to another veteran “placeholder” type quarterback in 2019, then change again to a young, highly-drafted quarterback in 2020.

Before the season started I thought there was no way the Giants could bring Manning back if they didn’t reach the playoffs. Now? If it’s my decision, seeing what I see right now, I bring him back for 2019. I would also, though, take some serious steps toward setting the Replacement Plan in motion.

I’m not bringing in Teddy Bridgewater or Tyrod Taylor or one of those guys. You pretty much toss away half the season while they learn the offense. I’m just staying with the veteran I already have.

Before the draft I’m scouring the league for a young, talented backup quarterback whose path is blocked by a star or highly-paid player in front of him. The names that jump to mind are Kyle Sloter with the Minnesota Vikings and Nate Sudfeld with the Philadelphia Eagles. If you can get a player like that for a song — like a seventh-round pick — why not? Bring him in, let him compete with Kyle Lauletta, get enough information to see if you believe you could go forward with one of them eventually replacing Manning.

In the draft, I’m not using a top 10 pick on a quarterback. Quarterbacks get overdrafted and the good ones don’t need to sit around and caddy for a year. They can play almost immediately. I had one scout I trust tell me there isn’t a single quarterback in the 2019 class worth a first-round pick. I really don’t want to use a top 10 pick on a questionable talent who isn’t going to play.

I’m using my first-round pick on either the best offensive tackle or best defensive player available. If a quarterback I think has a chance, like for example Daniel Jones of Duke, happens to be available Day 2, I’ll take a swing. If not, I’m building my defense and offensive line.

In this scenario, I will kick the can down the road into the 2020 draft class, which is supposed to have more potentially top-tier quarterbacks in it.

Ed says: The Giants don’t really provide information on players like Sam Beal, who are on IR. What I can say is that when reporters are around, Beal has been in the locker room. He has been around the practice field, sometimes on the bike, though he is not allowed to practice. He looks healthy. The Giants are still counting on him being part of their defensive backfield next season.

Ed says: You know what Bill Parcells always says, right? “You are what your record says you are.” In this case, I think it’s pretty accurate.

The Giants should have beaten the Carolina Panthers, losing on a 63-yard field goal. Maybe they were fortunate to hang on against the Chicago Bears. You can probably argue about a couple of other games, as well.

Really, what the Giants are is a mediocre team right now on a hot streak — playing better and taking advantage of their schedule. They are a team fighting back from a 3-13 disaster and years of personnel mistakes that has gotten better and is showing some signs that they might be pointed in the right direction.

There is still much to be done to get the Giants back to being an upper echelon team. Right now, though, I guess I would say they are a middle of the road team putting some building blocks in place for the future.

Ed says: It is really tough to say at this point. Maybe the Giants re-structure Manning to lower his cap hit. It’s just a gut feeling, but I think only one of Janoris Jenkins/Olivier Vernon returns. Rhett Ellison is probably a candidate for a pay cut/re-structure. Alec Ogletree is due a $6 million roster bonus on March 5. I think the Giants look to re-structure his deal.

Patrick Calvert asks: Which Giants team did you feel better about? The 2018 Giants at 5-8, or the 2016 Giants at 11-5 and on the way to the playoffs?

Ed says: Patrick, that’s tough to say. I don’t really remember how I felt at the end of the 2016 regular season. With that in mind, I went back and looked at some of what I wrote near the end of that season. What I found was that I think we got fooled by a lot of what we saw in 2016, especially the harebrained thought someone had that the Giants had found themselves a quality young head coach in Ben McAdoo.

In retrospect, McAdoo simply rode the coattails of a free-agent spending spree that led to a defense that played far beyond expectations in 2016, and at a level it could not sustain beyond that. The offense was still a train wreck, and McAdoo’s stubbornness and lack of creativity was a big part of the problem.

It is also obvious now that Jerry Reese didn’t deliver in the 2016 draft the way we thought he had. Which is yet another reminder not to jump to conclusions about draft picks until we have seen them play a full two or three seasons — most evaluators say three.

I wrote earlier this week about whether or not what we are seeing over the past few weeks is sustainable into 2019. I believe it might be. The coach and GM will stay the same. Much of the roster will, too, as coach Pat Shurmur promised recently on WFAN. It looks as though there are some quality young players to go forward with. The Giants appear to be gaining an identity and figuring out how to win games.

Shurmur says “years are connected.” If you buy that, you have to feel like the Giants are going in a positive direction heading into the 2019 season.

Ed says: No, I really don’t think it’s safe to say that.

Let’s start with D.J. Fluker. The guy has been diefied by Giants fans, but the reality is that he’s an average player. I liked him personally and I thought the Giants should have kept him instead of spending big (or at least, bigger) money on Patrick Omameh. For what it’s worth, Fluker is ranked No. 51 out of 60 qualifying guards by Pro Football Focus. He has also missed four games with injuries. Better than Omameh is not a high bar. Fluker is not tearing it up.

Now, Andrew Adams. Listen, Curtis Riley is not the answer at free safety. Riley leads all safeties with 20 missed tackles, one every 3.55 attempts. Adams had one amazing three interception game this season, but he’s a backup. He has played 183 snaps this year for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He has five missed tackles in 20 attempts, one out of every four. The Giants need to upgrade at safety, but moving on from Adams isn’t the problem. Not having anyone better than Riley is the problem.

Finally, Romeo Okwara. He has 6.5 sacks for the Detroit Lions, and I don’t think anyone saw that coming. Okwara wasn’t going to play ahead of Olivier Vernon, Kareem Martin or Lorenzo Carter. Maybe you can argue that the Giants should have kept him instead of bringing in Connor Barwin. This kid played 22 games for the Giants over two years, though, and had one sack. I also don’t think the Giants were comfortable with him standing up as a 3-4 outside linebacker.

Ed says: Let’s talk offensive line first. Sorry, Chad Wheeler, but the absolute biggest offensive priority for the New York Giants this offseason is to upgrade the right tackle spot. That simply has to get done, whether it’s via free agency, the draft, or both. Wheeler is the weak link on the current line, ranked 63rd overall of 65 qualifying tackles by Pro Football Focus, and 56th of 60 qualifying tackles in pass blocking efficiency.

Jamon Brown is a good, but not great player. He has been an upgrade over Patrick Omameh and John Greco. He is a free agent at the end of this season. I think he would like to stay with the Giants, and they would be smart to bring him back.

Center? I am not completely sold on Spencer Pulley or Jon Halapio, but I can see the Giants bringing both players back and letting them compete for the job. They have too many other needs to spend a high draft pick or big free agent dollars on this position.

As for pass rushers, I haven’t really taken a deep dive into the market. Here are players who could be available. I do believe the pass rush has to be a priority.

Ed says: Nope. Nope. Nope. I’ll admit that I haven’t done anything close to a deep study of Dwayne Haskins. I have, however, had two evaluators I trust tell me there really isn’t a single quarterback in the 2019 draft who should be selected in the first round. That doesn’t mean Haskins and others won’t be. It just means that realistically people who know a lot more about this than I do don’t believe any of them are first-round talents.

There is no way I’m trading Odell Beckham Jr. in that circumstance. If Haskins, Daniel Jones of Duke or someone else is sitting there near the end of Round 1 and you believe they could be your guy I would have no issue moving some of the extra picks the Giants have to go up and get him. Deal Beckham? Nope.