It is time for this week’s ‘Friday Five,’ where Pat Traina and I answer the same set of questions. My answers can be found over at Inside Football, while hers can be found below.
Question: First a little league business: What’s your reaction to the pending trade between the Chiefs and Washington involving quarterback Alex Smith and what effect, if any, do you think it could have on the top of the draft?
Pat says: I should say I’m surprised, but I think the handwriting was on the wall for Smith after the Chiefs drafted Patrick Mahomes and gave the kid some live snaps as a rookie. Smith was also entering the final year of his contract with the Chiefs (prior to his signing an extension with Washington) so the move gives Kansas City a cool $17 million in cap space once it becomes official at the start of the 2018 league year.
As for the ripple effect, Kirk Cousins is going to be the top sought-after quarterback on the free agent market—where he ends up signing could create an even bigger ripple effect on the top of the draft.
If the Browns outbid everyone for Cousins, then that puts them in a prime position to trade out of the No. 1 spot with a quarterback-needy team if they so choose. This means that the Giants, should they be thinking of drafting a quarterback at No. 2, could lose out on the guy they might want.
If the Browns stay put, which is also a possibility, and they don’t need a quarterback because they manage to sign Cousins, then the Giants would have their pick of the quarterback prospects.
Question: Since last week, there have been a few more Giants assistant coach hires reported by various media outlets. What’s your take on those reported hires?
Pat says: Time will tell, of course, but I was kind of surprised that two of their reported assistants — offensive line coach Hal Hunter and defensive backs coach Lou Anarumo — were out of football last year. Maybe that’s just a matter of circumstances, but it’s not very often do you find a team with multiple coaches who weren’t actively involved in coaching the year prior.
That doesn’t mean that both of those coaches were bad hires — a coach can observe/consult if he doesn’t have a job -- Tom Coughlin did that before coming to the Giants, if I recall correctly. Still, I’m still curious to see how this all comes together since the defensive backs had all those issues in their room and the offensive line looks like it’s going to undergo a revamping. I just hope both those coaches — the entire staff really — can bring out the best in their respective units.
Question: How much do you think the Giants inability to get any live-game intel on Davis Webb this year is going to affect what they do in the draft?
Pat says: After thinking about it a bit more, the Giants have the same information on Webb (his college tape) as they do on any of the prospects in this draft. If I’m Dave Gettleman, when I study the film, I ask myself if Webb is the best of the bunch (and I maybe give him a bit of an advantage since he has one year in the NFL under his belt).
If after grading all that tape I think one of the top prospects gives the team a better chance to win and is someone I can build a team around once Eli Manning moves on, then I draft that prospect to sit and learn with Webb behind Manning.
If I think Webb gives the team the best chance to be successful over the long haul, then I either look to trade down and get more picks to fill some of the numerous holes that I don’t think one draft class is going to fix by its lonesome.
(As of now, the Giants only have six picks after trading their seventh rounder to Pittsburgh last year for cornerback Ross Cockrell, though Over the Cap does project the Giants to get an extra fourth-round pick as compensation for Johnathan Hankins).
Question: If you had to boil it down to one thing that is going to ensure Pat Shurmur succeeds in New York, other than obviously winning, what would it be?
Pat says: Communication. I’ve said this before on our podcasts and will say it again here. One of the biggest things I believe undid McAdoo was the crisis management part of his communications skills. Last year, as we know, it was one thing after another and much like an offensive line that is overloaded and overpowered by six or more blitzing defenders, I think he struggled to communicate with those around him under the weight of all the excess drama.
Shurmur strikes me as the kind of person who is going to nip any drama in the bud. For example, when the verbal spat began between Eli Apple and Landon Collins, Steve Spagnuolo hoped that the grown men would be able to work it out between them.
Well, we all know what happened there—the verbal spat escalated and Spagnuolo finally had to step in. I understand his intention and that he believed in both of his players to settle their differences, but I always got the impression that maybe Spags didn’t fully understand what was unfolding between the two, and I was a little disappointed in his passive approach to managing that crisis.
Again, time will tell, but Shurmur strikes me as someone who is going to be consistent with how he communicates, and that he’s not going to let anyone get away with mailing it in or doing something that disrupts or hurts the team. He also strikes me as someone who will be proactive, which is what this team needs.
Question: Who wins the Super Bowl and why?
Pat says: My head is saying the Eagles are going to give the Patriots a run for their money. The Giants, as we all know, twice used a general blueprint to beat the Patriots, and I think the Eagles have the personnel to execute that blueprint, which is to harass Tom Brady.
My heart, however, is hoping that the Patriots have an answer for what should be a tough Eagles defense and that by the time the confetti falls Sunday night, the Eagles Super Bowl trophy case remains empty.