The mail’s here! So, as we always do on Saturday let’s open up the Big Blue View mailbag and see what New York Giants questions we can delve into this week.
David Matuozzi asks: Do you believe Gettleman had a higher grade on Daniel Jones than he did on Sam Darnold the previous year? If he could now trade Jones for Darnold, do you think he would? Would you?
Ed says: No, and no. I think Giants GM Dave Gettleman believed Saquon Barkley was the best player in the 2018 draft. He’s said many times that he gave Barkley a perfect score and that the only other player who had ever gotten one from him was Peyton Manning. I think he didn’t love any of the quarterbacks in that class nearly the same way, and he still had faith in Eli Manning.
As for the second part of the question, I think both teams should be happy with the young quarterback they have at this point. We will see down the line how their careers pan out and which one ultimately ends up being better.
Kevin Donohue asks: Giants are 6-6 since the 2018 bye week. In the prior 12 games, they were 2-10. There are many caveats, but will that prove to be a franchise turning point?
Ed says: No. It’s a sign, in my view, that the Giants are becoming competitive. It’s not, though, a franchise turning point. The franchise turning point that matters and that will be remembered is replacing Manning with Jones. That was a new beginning for the franchise as they moved from one era to the next.
Michael Carroll asks: Any insight as to why rookie CB Julian Love isn’t getting any game reps? I know he was a fourth-round pick (considered a steal, btw) but he saw plenty of action in preseason and was getting reps at slot CB and FS - positions we could use extra help with. I know we have a lot of rookies and second years players on the D but I can’t see how getting Love some reps doesn’t help the secondary especially as the season goes on.
Ed says: The Love question is one that comes up a lot. To be honest, I have been a little surprised that he hasn’t seen the field. When I sit back and really think about it, though, I get it.
Love got a lot of attention in the preseason. Rightfully so. He’s talented, he’s smart, he’s personable and easy to talk to. I had a great chat with him during training camp. Thing is, for all the attention he got I’m not sure he played as well as we wanted to believe. In practice after practice I attended it seemed like I was always writing “37 in coverage” when passes were completed. That’s Love’s number. That’s also not good.
Grant Haley has been good so far in the slot, though he was beaten on two plays last week that could have been touchdowns if Washington quarterback Case Keenum had hit them.
Antoine Bethea isn’t what he once was as a free safety, but his knowledge and experience are important to a young, developing defense. Free safety is a position Love is just learning how to play.
Something defensive coordinator James Bettcher said the other day might be revealing. “At the end of the day, you are trying to find roles for guys that deserve to be on the field,” was the Bettcher quote that got my attention.
Not to say that Love won’t get some snaps as the year goes on. Right now, though, the fact that Love isn’t playing is simply the Giants telling us they don’t think he deserves to as of yet.
Timothy Baker asks: How do you see the Giants attacking the 2020 offseason. Specifically, how do you see them handling free agency, capital deployment and the 2020 draft given our anticipated roster?
Ed says: I haven’t given a ton of thought to that, to be honest. I think, though, there are obvious areas where the Giants will concentrate resources. Pass rush. Secondary, especially free safety. Offensive tackle. Wide receiver.
One thing I don’t expect. Even with a healthy amount of cap space I think the Giants will be very careful about how they spend it. You won’t see them just buying up whatever big-name guys are on the market. Fit, both on the field and in the locker room, is likely to be critical.
Bruce Frazer asks: If after the next two games the Giants find that their linebackers, Stupar, Mayo, Tauaefa are not up to the task given how well Connelly was playing, what free agent veteran linebacker might they give consideration to? Are there any available who are worth adding to the roster mid-season?
Ed says: You’re really asking me the “would the Giants go after Brandon Marshall?” question. I think that if they were going to do that, they would have done it already. Alec Ogletree (hamstring) and Tae Davis (concussion) will be back soon. David Mayo played pretty well last week and will get more opportunities. The Giants are curious about Josiah Tauaefa. They have also been moving Jabrill Peppers down into a linebacker role at times, and even using a sub package on passing downs with Peppers and Sean Chandler at linebacker. I don’t see any sort of major move there as being likely.
Alex Sunderland asks: I feel like you have had very fair coverage of our first-round defensive picks. They’ve struggled, but rookies often do.
To that point, I feel like some attention should be brought to the time their specific positions can take to develop in the NFL. Outside of rarities like Marshon Lattimore or Myles Garrett, it seems like DB’s and DL typically face steeper learning curves than positions like RB, LB and even QB now, where rookie sensations are everywhere.
Do you agree, and if so, what are your thoughts on a fair timeline to assess Baker and Lawrence?
Ed says: Thank you, Alex. As much as fans want everything NOW, common belief is it takes three seasons to really judge a draft class or really know what a player is going to be. Obviously, that’s not always the case. Pat Shurmur said in his experience players generally take their biggest jumps between their first and second seasons.
I think all you can do is look for improvement from beginning to end this year. Do these guys look like they are figuring it out? Are they playing better at the end than they were at the beginning? Shoot, with 12 games to go we really are still at the beginning.
Do they take a big jump next year? Lorenzo Carter is an example. He showed flashes last year. The Giants hoped he would become a dominant player this year. So, far it hasn’t happened. Still might, but hasn’t happened yet.
We’re not going to know for a while exactly what Lawrence and Baker can become. I think both of these guys are going to be good players for the Giants for a number of years. Right now, I think we’re only seeing hints of that.