We are in a bit of a dead zone for the New York Giants right now. The excitement of the draft and rookie mini-camp is past. OTAs don’t start until next week. Here are a few thoughts on what we have seen so far, and what we might see going forward.
Good move, Ereck Flowers
Staying away from the Giants for the first month of “voluntary” workouts under new head coach Pat Shurmur was a bad move by fourth-year offensive tackle Ereck Flowers. Finally reporting to work, which he did on Monday, was a good move.
The guess here is that his newly-hired agent, Drew Rosenhaus, got in Flowers’ ear and convinced him that, happy or unhappy, his best play at this point was to show up at the Giants’ practice facility and get to work.
That’s the right move. Whether Flowers and the Giants eventually part ways, or whether the Giants really do want Flowers to compete for the right tackle job this season, nothing good was going to come from Flowers continuing to stay away.
He certainly wasn’t going to show the Giants that he was working to get comfortable at his new position. He also wasn’t going to make himself desirable to other teams by staying away and seeming to pout because he isn’t being handed a job.
Maybe Flowers beats out Chad Wheeler and whoever else comes along for that right tackle spot. Maybe the Giants get a preseason offer for him from a tackle-needy team that they think is worth taking. We already know they couldn’t get one they liked with him staying away prior to the 2018 NFL Draft.
At least now both sides have a shot at getting whatever it is they ultimately decide they want.
Shurmur acting like a leader
One of the reasons the Giants fell apart last season was the lack of discipline, on the field and off. New coach Pat Shurmur and new GM Dave Gettleman have spent a great deal fo time talking about the importance of culture.
Well, leadership that speaks with a clear voice is important to creating culture. Asked over the weekend about Landon Collins’ saying he knew Ereck Flowers was unhappy (before Flowers showed up this week), Shurmur showed some of that leadership.
“That’s not for Landon to talk about,” he said. “I think the important thing is, let’s let Ereck talk for Ereck when he gets here, and we’ll worry about that later. But really, I don’t think our players should be talking about another player’s situation.”
No, they really shouldn’t. Good for Shurmur for being willing to say it.
Optimism about draft class
The rookies recently drafted by the Giants are still shiny new toys. They are barely out of the wrapping paper and hardly used at this point. There is always optimism about a draft class, and this one is no exception.
There appears to be immense talent with Saquon Barkley and Will Hernandez, a potential quarterback of the future in Kyle Lauletta, a possible pass rusher in Lorenzo Carter and useful defensive linemen in B.J. Hill and R.J. McIntosh.
While I didn’t attend the rookie mini-camp, there seems to be another reason for optimism. Through my conversation with Lauletta, coaches of Lauletta, Hill and Will Hernandez, and the reports from Pat Traina and others that came from the mini-camp this class seems to be filled with good people who care about the right things.
That both makes them easier to root for and increases their chances of success.
Cornerback shuffle continues
The Giants’ revolving door at cornerback continues. Still, to be honest, the first reaction when you look at the cornerback depth chart has to be something like “ewwwwww, that’s what they are going with?”
Then again, there is tremendous competition and opportunity at the position. Who knew that last season Ross Cockrell would play as well as he did, probably better than he ever had? And that anyone would actually care that he’s no longer part of the team?
Maybe the Giants have unearthed a gem in UDFA Grant Haley? Maybe William Gay still has a good season left in the tank. Donte Deayon is still around, and the diminutive third-year player is a guy always worth rooting for. Maybe one of the journeymen they signed as free agents turns into this year’s Cockrell.
In a salary cap league where 32 teams are looking for talent, you can’t fill every position with stars or completely known quantities. The Giants are taking a low-budget, volume approach at corner.
We won’t know how well that works out until the games start.
Rooting for Darkwa
I will admit up front that running back Orleans Darkwa was one of my favorite Giants the past few seasons. He seems like a really nice guy, always available to the media or at least offering a “hello” if he passed you in the locker room or the hall way. That, honestly, is more than you get from the majority of NFL players.
More importantly, though, prior to last season I thought Darkwa had been under-utilized by the Giants.
I do understand the Giants moving on from Darkwa. He isn’t really a pass-catcher, something that Pat Shurmur really wants in his backs. Basically, the Giants chose Jonathan Stewart over Darkwa. Based on resume and the desire for veteran locker room leadership, I get that.
Now that he is no longer a Giant, and especially after we found out that Darkwa had a career season in 2017 with a plate in his leg to deal with a fracture originally suffered back in 2015, I for one hope that Darkwa ends up not only with another job but with a real opportunity for playing time. He is, in my view, a good player still fighting the “undrafted” label.