It’s Saturday, which means it’s time to open the Big Blue View mailbag. So, let’s get right to it.
Jim Merrill asks: What are the limits of contact between a player on IR and the team on the player developing his strength, fundamentals and executing them during the IR season?
Ed says: Jim, players on IR can be and often are around the team quite a bit. They can attend meetings, be in the locker room, use the weight room if their injury allows. the only thing they can’t do is practice.
Pb Dorfman asks: My question is why do the Giants keep Tanney on the roster taking up a valuable slot that could be used in area where they need help, WR, RB, linebacker etc. I know what the Giants say — that Tanney is another QB coach for Jones. if that is the case hire him as a QB coach since they currently don’t have one on the team and open up a roster slot.
Ed says: Pb, you aren’t the only one who doesn’t understand this. Pat Shurmur values what Tanney brings to the quarterback room and values having him on the team, that’s the bottom line. I’m not in those meetings, so I don’t know what that is exactly and I don’t know the precise nature of the relationship between Tanney and Daniel Jones. Shurmur could see Tanney as the likely No. 2 quarterback behind Jones next season. Also, Shurmur just doesn’t appear to be comfortable with only two quarterbacks.
Marcus Mewborn asks: It seems there are some teams underachieving and/or has good players unsatisfied with the team they are on this year this year (Ex: Falcons, Titans, Vikings, jags). Any team(s) you would keep an eye on that could be sellers this year that might have players the Giants could use?
Ed says: Marcus, I’m sure there are players on a number of teams the Giants could use. Reality is, though, the Giants are not going to be “buyers” when it comes to the trade deadline. They are not a contending team looking for a player or two to help them make a deep playoff run, and they aren’t in position to take on veteran players with big contracts. I don’t think they will go out of their way to be a “seller” either, but they are more likely to part with someone like Janoris Jenkins or Alec Ogletree if they can add draft capital than to add players and surrender draft picks.
Bruce Frazer asks: For the second week in a row (Patriots) the Giants faced a top defense. Even going back to the Redskins game it is evident that Daniel Jones is under constant pressure from pocket push, as the current O-line has a hard time holding “the wall” long enough for Jones to explore the field. Being a rookie he is prone to making poor decisions while under duress. Going forward into the next free agent/draft cycle what are your thoughts on how Dave Gettleman finally gets the “hog mollies” he really needs?
Ed says: Bruce, you obviously see the Giants current offensive line as deficient. I’m going to disagree. The line is imperfect, but through five weeks Football Outsiders does have it ranked as a top half of the league group. The Minnesota Vikings have a great defense, and so do the Patriots. The Giants struggled to block the Vikings, but New England leads the league in sack percentage and the Patriots only got Jones one time on Thursday.
Gettleman has, in my view, done a pretty good job upgrading this group. Does he have more work to do? Absolutely. That’s going to be a constant thing. Remmers is probably not the guy you want at right tackle next year. It would be great if the Giants could find a young tackle in the draft who could perhaps take over for Nate Solder in 2021 — like it or not, I believe Solder is back next season.
Gettleman and Pat Shurmur have said many times that they will continue to pour resources into both the offensive and defensive lines, and I believe them.
Darlene Rose asks: From where did the name “Danny Dimes” come? I can’t find any reference to it.
Ed says: Darlene, a guy in Pennsylvania claims to have started it. I quite honestly have no idea if that’s true or if that’s just some random dude looking for his 15 minutes of fame. What I do know is that when a quarterback throws a very accurate pass he is often said to have “thrown a dime.” Thus “Danny Dimes” because of how accurate Jones has been with many of his passes.
Douglas Mollin asks: Some of us (myself and you I believe), think Getty missed an opportunity in 2018. The plan seemed to rebuild a bit but mostly try to craft a team around Eli and see if we could sneak into the playoffs. That turned into a massive misreading of our roster (and probably of Eli).
In 2019, the rebuild continued in earnest and we are living through those growing pains -- but with legit hope for the future.
In 2020, with three sets of high drafts picks and with a ton of cap space, I think it’s fair to expect a team with a winning record and in the playoff picture (in or out less relevant than the Giants actually being a relevant team).
The Kool-Aid fans aside, do you agree 2019 is all about progress and the record is almost meaningless and that a playoff caliber season is a reasonable expectation for 2020?
Ed says: Phew! Douglas, that’s a long-winded question/speech.
When it comes to 2018, I’m not going to re-adjudicate that Saquon Barkley-Sam Darnold argument. It’s over. It’s done. Barkley is a phenomenal player. The Giants have their quarterback of the future in Daniel Jones. Let’s move on.
What I will talk about is the idea of progress. Before the season started GM Dave Gettleman and co-owner John Mara both talked about the idea of making progress in 2019. With that in mind, before the season started I was writing about the whole concept of what progress would look like in 2019, and the fact is and always was that “progress” was going to look different depending upon whether Jones or Eli Manning was at quarterback.
Don’t tell Pat Shurmur I said that because coaches don’t want to hear it, but the moment Jones became the quarterback the 2019 won-loss record really became irrelevant. What is relevant is whether or not the Giants come out of 2019 believing Jones is the quarterback who can lead them for the next decade, and whether or not they feel like they are progressing in putting young pieces around him on offense and defense that can help him lead this team to a successful future.
As for 2020, fielding a winning team that makes the playoffs or at the very least competes for a spot right down to the wire would be a clear sign that things are moving in the right direction.
Cooper M asks: I’m curious why the Giants coaches aren’t utilizing DJ’s strengths and designing more run plays for him? He used his legs once against the Patriots, but it feels like they could be designing plays so he doesn’t just have to improvise whenever he does it. I would love your thoughts.
Ed says: Cooper, I’ve seen this asked on Twitter, as well. I think that the Giants want Jones to learn how to be an NFL quarterback, not turn him into a running back who plays quarterback.
I think Pat Shurmur is using Jones’ strengths and running an offense Jones is comfortable. There are a lot of what Mark Schofield calls “quick game concepts” designed to give Jones quick, short throws where he doesn’t have to make multiple reads. There have been RPOs that give Jones the option of keeping the ball, though the only time he did so was against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. There have been plays designed to roll him out of the pocket.
Mike Shula, Giants offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach, was asked about how Jones could be used in the running game way back in the spring. Shula was play caller with the Carolina Panthers from 2013-2017, a time during which Cam Newton ran for almost 3,000 yards.
Shula and the Panthers relied heavily on Newton as a runner. He is a 250-pound player, and look at what the pounding has done to him. At 30, he’s had serious shoulder, knee, back, rib and ankle injuries, plus a concussion. He’s taken a beating and it’s taken a toll.
Jones can run, but he’s a 220-pound guy and the Giants don’t want to train him to be a runner. They want him to be a quarterback. For a long, long time. They want him to use his mobility to make plays when he needs to. They will use his ability to run as an element of surprise, like they did on his touchdown vs. Tampa Bay.
They want him to be available on Sundays, Monday and Thursdays for a long time. His legs add to the offense, yes. The Giants, though, can’t have his legs be the offense. They also need to protect him.
Tony Zee asks: in regards to the RB position. Just today (Friday) they signed Buck Allen. Wondering if there was any detail and/or insight as to why they made a move now to bring in another veteran RB vs. right after SB was hurt? Seemed like that would’ve been the better time to do it, especially since they had already cut Perkins. Just having a hard time believing that they thought Gallman, Penny and Hilliman would suffice.
Ed says: Tony, I’m sure a lot of people are wondering about this. In my view, the Giants made a good decision on Friday by adding a veteran running back. I think, though, they made the move three weeks too late.
The Giants worked out a group of veteran running backs that included Benny Cunningham, Zach Zenner and Fozzy Whittaker just a couple of days after Saquon Barkley was hurt in Week 3. Maybe they simply didn’t like what they saw from that group, but it would have been beneficial to sign a veteran at that point to be the backup, and insurance, for Wayne Gallman. Instead they promoted Hilliman from the practice squad. This is a kid who averaged 3.5 yards per carry in college and was never a full-time starter for Boston College or Rutgers, neither of who are college football powerhouses. No offense to the kid, but he probably did not belong on an NFL roster. When Gallman suffered his concussion, the Giants paid for that mistake.