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BBV mailbag: What could keep Giants out of the playoffs, and more

It’s summer, but we do football here ... and there are always football questions

Your New York Giants will be back to work in less than three weeks. Until then, all we can do is talk about them. So, let’s open up the Big Blue View mailbag and do that.

Ed says: Jeff, Jeffrey, ‘Greek,’ whatever you want to go by I have to start by admitting that this is a terrific question. So, thank you for submitting it and making me wonder why we haven’t done a full post here at Big Blue View on this very topic.

There are plenty of questions about the Giants. Quarterback play, offensive line, cornerback depth, pass rush among them. I think, though, that the biggest issue is really going to be the difficulty of their schedule.

By either 2017 winning percentage of their upcoming opponents or Pythagorean wins expected the Giants’ schedule ranks among the top 10 most difficult in the league.

The schedule is also front-loaded, which could be an issue when you have a team that is adjusting to new offensive and defensive schemes. The first 8 games are:

vs. Jacksonville, at Dallas, at Houston, vs. New Orleans, at Carolina, vs. Philadelphia, at Atlanta, vs. Washington. That takes the Giants to their bye week, and if they somehow manage to get their 4-4 or 5-3 they could be in position to make a run in the second half of the season.

ctscan123 asks: Are you optimistic that the new offensive line will be better? I am pretty skeptical. We lost to high quality players in Pugh and Richburg. We added a middle of the pack tackle a rookie and a guard who according to PFF is bad. The guy who was supposed to seamlessly replace our center seems to be losing that job to a guy who has never played center. How does this add up to a better line even on paper?

Ed says: Yes, I am optimistic that the offensive line will be better. I have said this before, but the simple presence of Nate Solder makes it better. He isn’t a great player, but he is a dependable guy and a big upgrade from Ereck Flowers on Manning’s blindside. He is also a veteran leader, something the Giants haven’t had on that line since David Diehl and Chris Snee retired.

We have to see how Flowers adjusts to tackle, whether Will Hernandez is as good as he appears to be and whether or not the Giants get competent play at center. I do believe, however, that if this group stays healthy you will see improvement from 2017. Of course, the bar isn’t very high.

Ed says: Always a chance on either count. There’s no way to know for sure what can or will happen from one day to the next. Still, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for either of those moves to happen.

If the Giants believe Goodson is a starter, they won’t sign Bowman. Besides, Bowman isn’t going anywhere without a guaranteed starting job. The Giants appear to need some depth at inside linebacker, but I don’t see Bowman as the solution.

As for DRC, we’ve talked about this again and again. It’s always possible that Rodgers-Cromartie, after turning down a pay cut and becoming a free agent, will realize the money he hoped for isn’t out there. Would the Giants want him back? At this point, I don’t believe that is in the cards. But, I’ve been wrong before. I will be wrong again.

Ed says: Thanks for the question, Bret. If I’m going to answer this one properly, I have to first go back and talk about Ben McAdoo.

The biggest problem with McAdoo as head coach of the Giants wasn’t Xs and Os, simplistic offense, or inability to adjust. Don’t get me wrong, those were problems. Just not the biggest one.

McAdoo created an atmosphere of us against them, the coach against the players. The players made mistakes, he didn’t. He was the smartest guy in the room. A fourth-and-goal delay of game in the waning moments against Detroit was “sloppy quarterback play,” which may have been true. But, he was the head coach — he could have and should have watched the clock and called the timeout.

McAdoo never really accepted blame for anything that went wrong, until he knew his job was on the line and he had to go into damage control mode to try and save it. Even then, he talked about himself and how he was built for the challenge.

Players, not all but enough, lost respect for him. He didn’t build enough relationships. One of his favorite things to say was that he wanted players to be comfortable being uncomfortable. Yet, he didn’t appear to apply that standard to himself. He learned a way of doing things from Mike McCarthy in Green Bay, and he was uncomfortable going outside that box.

Shurmur appears to be genuine. He seems to treat people with respect. It’s a small thing in the overall picture, but his media sessions are cordial rather than contentious.

Shurmur has not only talked about building relationships with players, he appears to be working at it. Most notably with Odell Beckham Jr.

I don’t know exactly how to describe the culture Shurmur is trying to build, other than to say it’s one where people respect each other. What I do know, and I have written it before, is that the Giants once again feel like a professionally run football team. That wasn’t the case a year ago.

Ed says: Thanks for the question, Anthony. I’m not looking at it as who would be missed in training camp, rather as which player leaves the biggest hole in the lineup.

I actually have two — Weston Richburg on offense and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on defense. I fully understood why the Giants moved on from both players and will even go so far as to say I agreed with both moves, but they leave holes that have to be filled.

Richburg got $47.5 million ($16.5 million guaranteed) from the San Francisco 49ers. The Giants are paying Brett Jones $2.914 million and Jon Halapio $555,000. Those players, though, need to prove they can fill Richburg’s shoes.

As for DRC, you just don’t pay 32-year-old cornerbacks more than $8 million. Especially ones who only play about half the defensive snaps. That said, whether the Giants have adequately replaced DRC remains to be seen.