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BBV mailbag: Mike Shula’s role, Landon Collins’ departure, much more

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Let’s open the mail!

NFL: New Orleans Saints at New York Giants
Mike Shula
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

It’s Memorial Day Weekend, but Big Blue View never rests. Well, at least not fully. It is mailbag time, so let’s open it up and see what questions pop out this week.

Joe Marrongelle asks: Please determine reason Giants do not have a QB coach especially since they have untested QBs on the roster. The lack of a qualified individual in this position appears to be shortsighted. I have no confidence that the OC can handle both positions effectively.

Ed says: Well, Joe, you didn’t really ask. You kind of demanded. And, well, your seeming outrage here is pretty far off base.

Mike Shula has the dual titles of offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. This is a pretty common arrangement around the NFL.

Fact is, Shula doesn’t run or design the offense, and he doesn’t call the plays. Head coach Pat Shurmur does all of that. Shula has input, but his primary role with the offense is to teach and carry out what Shurmur designs.

Shula has been a college head coach, an NFL offensive coordinator now for three teams, and he’s been quarterbacks coach for three teams as well.

Is he the best in the business in that role? I don’t know, and I’m in no position to judge that. I do know that he is a “qualified individual” who has the resume to back the idea that he knows how to do the job.

I’m calling this the “Jim Moriarty” section. Jim sent in a bunch of valid questions, and since the mailbag is a tad light on this holiday weekend, well, Jim, buddy, you’re in luck. Here are answers to all of them.

Question 1: Before last season, analysts indicated the first 6+ games on the Giants schedule were brutal, and would lead to a poor record and kill their playoff hopes (which it did). This year, the schedule is much easier, but I’m not hearing from anyone that it will help. Thoughts?

Ed says: Listen, I’m not one to look at a schedule months ahead of time and try to say “that’s a win” or “that’s a loss” or whatever and make some half-baked effort to figure out what the team’s record will be for the upcoming season.

Every year when the schedule comes out I ask Chris to do it (because I hate doing it, I’m the boss and somebody has to because for some reason people love reading it). For what it’s worth the Giants are at Dallas, home vs. Buffalo, at Tampa Bay, home vs. Washington, home vs. Minnesota and at New England in those first six weeks.

I can’t tell you how good any of those teams is going to be when we get to those games. I can’t tell you how good the Giants are going to be.

What will help them is knowing Shurmur’s offense better. Having a better offensive line. Can the revamped defense be better? It’s going to be very young, so who knows?

I do know this. A fast start, or at least a .500 one over those six games, would be a good idea.

Question 2: Why is scant consideration given to the injury history of Beckham, Vernon and Collins, along with the huge cap ramifications when considering the deals?

Ed says: Maybe the fans and media give that scant consideration. I don’t think Dave Gettleman and the Giants did. Neither do I. When you are paying, or going to pay, big money to guys you need them on the field. As for the cap ramifications, clearing the cap and getting rid of contracts he felt were unwieldy — or, in Collins’ case not overpaying in new ones — has been a priority.

Question 3: Shurmur rarely criticized individual players last year, but took a shot at Vernon. Anyone watching would have seen that many of his sacks came against subs- especially the second Dallas game. Is he a classic example of stats not telling the story?

Ed says: I don’t know that Shurmur “took a shot” at Olivier Vernon. I do know there were reports that the coach and player had a “run-in” because the player apparently took exception to being criticized.

As for his stats, you will see them any way you want. What I know is that Vernon is a good NFL player. He’s not a pure pass rusher who will get 15 sacks a year, but he’s a good one who can both impact the run and the pass. I have always said he is really a No. 2 defensive end, not the No. 1 the Giants needed him to be. That’s not his fault.

Question 4: The Giants got hammered for starting Flowers at RT last year, rightfully so. He is pencilled in for the Skins starting RG spot. Haskins is a statue, which is a big part of why the Giants chose Jones. What does starting Haskins behind Flowers say about the Skins vs. Giants offense?

Ed says: I think the fact that Ereck Flowers has a starting job, any starting job with any team, says more about the state of offensive line play in the NFL than anything else. Teams are desperate for help, and Washington is willing to roll the dice on a position switch for a guy who was a first-round pick. I really don’t think it says anything specific about the offenses of the Redskins or Giants.

Question 5: I don’t recall reading much or anything about the Giants depth this year vs. last year. Significantly improved?

Ed says: I don’t think we can answer that until it gets tested. It’s mid-May and the games come in September. With two offseasons of work to try and build the talent, you have to hope it’s better. I think it will be, at least in some spots. The roster will have holes, though. Most rosters do.

Richard Albert asks: I feel Landon doesn’t tell the whole story. He said himself that he would sit out training if franchised. He has been injury prone, and his stats have gone down a bit.

Odds-wise, do you give him that kind of money?

Don’t know why he wasn’t traded, and comments about Gettleman were repeated by Harrison, Norman, etc, so there is something there. But having worked themselves into a corner, there was not many options for the Giants. Comments?

Ed says: Richard, Landon Collins is telling his side of the story. He is entitled to do that, but in my view he just isn’t doing himself any favors. He’s coming off bitter that he didn’t get what he wanted.

A general manager’s job is to make tough decisions about how to allocate the limited resources at his disposal. He has to remove the emotion from it. Emotionally, I wanted Collins to stay with the Giants. I think most of the fan base would have, too, under the right circumstance.

Thing is, the Giants made a harsh judgment that he wasn’t worth the kind of money he wanted. I happen to fully agree with them. I think Collins is a good player, but his skill set isn’t worth the $14 million annually that the Redskins are paying him. The Giants, as we saw from the draft, desperately wanted to improve their coverage. They didn’t feel Collins would do that. Were they right? We’ll see.

No one likes to hear that an employer won’t give them what they want — that they aren’t worth what they think they are. Gettleman isn’t afraid to move on from guys, rightly or wrongly, and when he’s moving on from them he really doesn’t care about their feelings. Nor should he.

As for trading him, the Giants are going to end up with a third-round compensatory pick for him. To my understanding, they couldn’t have done better than that on the trade market.