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BBV Mailbag: The offseason is almost over edition

This week’s mailbag is overflowing

We have reached the final Saturday before the New York Giants report for training camp. I asked BBV readers and Twitter followers to fill up our final mailbag, and you guys came through in a big way.

Let’s open it up and get right to a mailbag filled with interesting questions and, hopefully, equally interesting answers.

Ed says: Thanks for the question, Raphael. I just profiled Darian Thompson the other day, so please be sure to read that if you haven’t. It was disappointing to me that Andrew Adams didn’t get more opportunities last season when it became apparent that Thompson wasn’t playing well. Did it have anything to do with Thompson being a third-round pick and Adams an undrafted guy? Maybe. That kind of stuff does happen. This season, I am expecting a more open competition with Thompson, Adams, Curtis Riley and Michael Thomas,

Ed says: I’m not sure I can give you one who really jumps out. Guys I think have a chance include cornerback Grant Haley, safety Sean Chandler, running back Robert Martin and center Evan Brown.

Ed says: I would hardly call Ellison “forgotten” in the new offense. In spring practices we saw the Giants use a lot of two-tight end sets, with Ellison inline and Evan Engram moving all around the formation. With the weapons the Giants have, Ellison will not be a focal point in terms of a guy who will catch tons of passes. His ability to handle the inline blocking assignments and, at least occasionally, be a lead blocker from the backfield, should be an essential part of the offense.

Ed says: Perhaps. I do believe the Giants want to see for themselves — and not just from videos put together by people close to Beckham — that he is fully healthy and still the same player he used to be. In my view, doing that before handing him a mega-contract makes perfect sense.

Eric Esposita asks: Do you think if Eli (Manning) plays at a good level this year the giants may extend him out another year or two? They could spread out the remainder of his money throughout the extension which would help them sign OBJ and Collins. Thoughts?

Ed says: It’s possible. Maybe not likely, but possible. If you have a quarterback playing well there’s no reason to discard him. If the Giants do a lot of winning the next two seasons and Manning is playing at a high level they have to think about keeping him. If not, they won’t.

Dennis Karakos asks: Do you think that the Giants will keep Manning as the starter for this season even if he clearly is not getting it done, but they are having some offensive success because of Saquon Barkley run play? If not, who will be the likely quarterback to replace him and will he have more success with receivers?

Ed says: Dennis, I’m not sure what you are getting at with “more success with receivers.” But, I will say this about the quarterback situation in 2018. I believe that as long as Manning is healthy and the Giants are in contention, he will be playing. If they are out of the playoff race Davis Webb and Kyle Lauletta have to get opportunities to play, and I believe they will.

Ed says: Mark, I’ll stand by what I wrote. What is believe is that McAdoo never really felt Manning, largely because of his lack of mobility, was the right quarterback for the system he wanted to run. Rather than build around what Manning could do, he tried to force Eli and the Giants into the Green Bay system that Aaron Rodgers makes look good. I believe McAdoo was into self-preservation at the point where he benched Manning and either didn’t understand or didn’t care — maybe both — about the ramifications of the decision he made. The only acceptable way to do that last season was, after a conversation with ownership that didn’t really take place, to play Davis Webb. Ending Manning’s streak in favor of Geno Smith was, in my view, little more than a slap in the face.

Rohan Sanghani asks: For years now it appears as if the Giants have neglected the linebacker position, and this vulnerability has been ruthlessly exploited by tight ends and running backs. The defense attained success in the 2016-17 season, but one has to believe an elite defense is hardly sustainable without investing high-value draft capital or free agency capital on a high-upside linebacker. Do you believe that what the Giants have now in the duo of Alec Ogletree and B.J. Goodson is sufficient to ‘man the middle’ and quarterback the defense?

Ed says: Rohan, I think it’s just nice that the Giants paid attention to the position and used real resources on it. They traded for Ogletree. They drafted Lorenzo Carter in Round 3. They moved Olivier Vernon to a linebacker spot. They signed Kareem Martin. I don’t believe either Ogletree or B.J. Goodson are perfect players. I do, however, think that as a whole the Giants have upgraded this group.

Mark Turner asks: It looks like the Giants are “all-in” for the 2018 season. With potentially the #3 and #7 draft picks gone and the Barkley pick over a young QB, the front office has made a statement. What would be considered a successful season? What do the Giants need to do over the next 2 seasons to validate the Barkley pick?

Ed says: Thanks for the question, Mark. I’m going to examine this in an expanded post before training camp, but I will say this. I don’t believe it’s “Super Bowl or bust” over the next two seasons. The Giants, though, have said they believe they can still win with Manning. To be proven right about Manning, which I think they are, they need to do that. They need to make the playoffs. Otherwise, they are going to be open to the argument that they chose the wrong path.

James Fitzpatrick asks: Should we assume there is a real competition at right tackle between Flowers and Wheeler, or has it already, in fact, been decided based on other factors? Is there an unspoken assumption that a particular position (NOT QB!) “belongs” to a particular player by reason of draft selection vs free agency, or what is perceived as a player’s “potential,” despite actual performance in training camp? It seems like this is what has happened in the past (consider free safety last year, for example).

Ed says: James, there really does not appear to be a competition at right tackle. Ereck Flowers got all of the first-team reps once he reported to the team in the spring. They clearly see him as their best option. I do think sometimes there are reasons beyond what we see on the practice field as to why some guys play and others don’t. I do, however, believe that there will be real competitions for many spots on the roster this summer.

Hunter Monaghan asks: What training camp/on-the-53man-bubble battles are you looking forward to the most? Maybe one offense and one defense for simplicity’s sake.

Ed says: Hunter, we have covered a lot of this in our training camp previews. I will give you two. The center competition between Brett Jones and Jon Halapio. I really wonder what the Giants are thinking there, because I see Jones as the better player. On defense, it is the competition for playing time at safety next to Landon Collins. Darian Thompson, Andrew Adams, Michael Thomas and Curtis Riley all figure into that somehow.

Timo Kruger asks: hat do you think about Sam Beal? The scouting reports sound like he is an investment in the future beyond this season. Basically he seems to be a 2019 draft pick. What kind of impact can he already have for 2018?

Ed says: Timo, GM Dave Gettleman already told you the deal with Beal. The Giants look at picking him as getting an early start on next year’s draft, so investing in him now is a long-range move. I have no idea how much he can contribute in 2018, though I wouldn’t expect a lot. At least not in the first few weeks of the season. Remember, he is four to five months behind his teammates in learning James Bettcher’s defense.

Nick Harlow asks: How will Ben McAdoo’s recent comments go over in the locker room?

Ed says: Honestly, I don’t think they matter. He’s gone. Guys might address them if they are asked, but other than that I don’t they are going to be much of a concern.

Gregory Rusnica asks: Are there any players on the roster bubble who you think have trade value? ...perhaps for players on other teams in a similar situation. Any bubble players on other teams that you think would fit well with Big Blue?

Ed says: Gregory, I tend to doubt it. Rosters are at 90 and will get cut to 53. There will be hundreds of end-of-the-roster type players available via waivers and free agency once the season starts. You get a trade on occasion, but for the most part teams just wait and see who comes free. As for other teams, I have no idea who will be available.