The Big Blue View mailbag was filled this week with lots of “questions” that were really nothing more than long, emotional rants from New York Giants fans needing to vent their frustrations with the team having tumbled to 2-8.
I’m glad folks got to vent, but that has left us with a dearth of real questions for this weekend. Let’s take a look, though, and see what real questions I can try to answer.
Robert J. Simon asks: I saw that Bruce Arians just released CB Vernon Hargreaves for what was deemed to be a lack of hustle. Do you think Pat Shurmur’s lack of calling out players such as Janoris Jenkins for an obvious lack of hustle at times is because Shurmur is afraid he might “lose the team” if he gets tough with players. This was a big reason that Ben McAdoo got fired.
Ed says: Robert, when it comes to losing a team a coach who does not hold player’s accountable is in just as much trouble as one who tries to get tough on guys without trying to build solid relationships or taking his own share of responsibility.
In all honesty, it insults everyone’s intelligence when the coach says of Jenkins that “he just missed a tackle” when we all saw him not try to make one. If he truly believes that fine, but it’s not what we saw.
What really matter, though, is not what he says to the media. What really matters is how he actually handles those kinds of situations with players. There is really only one card a coach holds that can really drive that message home to a player — playing time. You don’t hustle, someone else plays.
If a coach won’t do that, or says that there will be repurcussions for players who continue to make mistakes and then there aren’t, the coach is going to lose the locker room and be unable to function.
That has not yet happened to Shurmur. How he handles these things, though, is worth watching.
Douglas Mollin asks: I can’t imagine that our OL coach, Hal Hunter, was THE guy they HAD TO HAVE to help fix the biggest glaring need on the team. Out of football for a year in 2017 after the Browns OL set sack records in 2016. And after running the Colts OL that nearly killed Andrew Luck from 2013-15.
And we don’t even mention the DB coach, who hadn’t had an NFL job since 2007. Or that Solari ended up walking away and is doing a fine job with Seattle’s OL.
Part of running an organization, running a team, is the people you hire. I mean no disrespect to Hal Hunter as a person, but show me how he’s the best solution to getting the most out of our OL? And how Shurmur/Getty can let it continue?
Ed says: Douglas, I say all the time that it is difficult to judge the work of position coaches. We rarely talk to them and aside from a little bit in training camp we see nothing of how they teach or interact with players.
Specifically in regards to Hunter, I don’t know how good or bad a coach he is. He has been doing it a long time, so there are obviously people in the league who respect his ability. His hiring, though, is one I wondered about at the time it was made.
Remember, though, the hiring of assistant coaches each offseason is exceptionally competitive. There is always a lot of movement, and some guys end up with options. You don’t get every coach you want. As for Solari, he was free to make the choice he wanted to make and he did.
With all of that said, I think you can be pretty certain that if Dave Gettleman and Pat Shurmur remain in their jobs after this season, there will still be changes to the coaching staff. Shurmur has had two seasons now to figure out who he can work with, which coaches he doesn’t feel good about, etc. Hunter might be one of the coaches swept out.
George Wallace asks: Do you think holding the ball higher or wearing a glove are most immediate fixes for Jones fumbling?
Ed says: George, I think something like wearing a glove is “window dressing.” If it makes a quarterback feel better, maybe it helps. It isn’t a cure.
Holding the ball higher? Listen, Daniel Jones has been well-coached and well-trained by a lot of guys who know the mechanics of the quarterback position better than I do. I am certain that there may be some small fundamental things he can do in that regard.
Quarterbacks, Jones included, are always going to fumble on occasion. They have guys bigger and stronger than they are flying toward them, swiping at the ball and trying to drive them into the ground.
The biggest thing with Jones is developing what quarterback coaches call that “clock in his head.” That pocket awareness to know when he looks at the defense before a play where the pressure is likely to come from, the feel to know where pass rushers are when you can’t see them and the ability to get the ball out of your hands before trouble comes.
A well-known quarterback coach I talked to recently said that is something that can be developed with game experience. I hope that’s the case, because that is the biggest thing that will help Jones avoid fumbles.
Bruce Frazer asks: Given the win now mentality of today’s fans’ and the owners need to fill the stadium how long in your estimation are rookies given to show their worth before they are let go or traded? Can the team afford the time to see if a player develops into a “keeper” or is the financial pressure to produce a winner the new reality?
Ed says: Bruce, think about Leonard Williams, Vernon Hargreaves and even Ereck Flowers. Pressure to win now aside, teams don’t give up easily or quickly on highly-drafted. Williams and Hargreaves got moved in the finals years of their rookie deals. Flowers, as poorly as he played, was also not moved until the final year of his rookie contract.
Honestly, there is only so much money to spend and so many draft picks you can acquire. Teams can’t really afford not to be patient with highly-drafted players on inexpensive rookie contracts to see what they can become.
Teams don’t move on quickly from those types of players unless there are extenuating circumstances, like there were with Eli Apple and the Giants. Right now, DeAndre Baker is a great example. The Giants will be as patient as they can possibly be to see Baker will eventually become a viable player. They invested too much not to.
It’s just critical to draft well and build that core of players from within that can carry you from year to year. The Giants are still trying to build that group.
Marcus Mewborn asks: What do you make of NYG sending a scout to watch Colin Kaepernick’s workout? I doubt they would sign and give him a shot this year but would he be an option to make the team as a backup QB next year if Eli retires or is traded to another team?
Ed says: Not much, to be honest. I look at it like due diligence. You should investigate everything, look at everybody, explore every avenue. Sure, Kaepernick is probably better than a lot of backup quarterbacks in the league. Or, at least three years ago he was. We have no idea what he is now as a potential NFL player. I think it’s just the Giants doing what they should do — take a look. I have serious doubts that Kaepernick would want to come back to be a backup, anyway. If he is going to play I think he would want a situation where he would at least have the illusion of competing to start. That wouldn’t happen with the Giants.