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BBV mailbag: Tre Boston, Lauletta vs. Tanney, Paul Perkins, more questions

The mail’s here!

It’s that time again, New York Giants fans! Let’s open up the Big Blue View mailbag and see what questions you guys have this week.

CTscan123 asks: I cannot wrap my head around Tre Boston’s free agent status. Three teams in five years. Last year he had a 75 PFF rating which followed a strong campaign the previous year. I have not read anything about him being a locker room problem. Why is this guy still out there? I am sure that there is a good reason, but a young, talented free safety who at this point would probably be fairly cheap seems like something we could use. Any insight as to why he is still hanging around out there?

Ed says: Tre Boston is an interesting case. Before they signed Antoine Bethea to play free safety, I actually thought Boston would be a great fit for the Giants. He was a favorite of GM Dave Gettleman — and, apparently, Gettleman’s wife — with the Carolina Panthers.

Boston, basically, is still available because he believes he is worth more than NFL teams appear willing to pay him. This from a late May interview on SiriusXM:

Boston was on SiriusXM NFL Radio and said that he believes his play warrants the same kind of contracts that players like Adrian Amos and Lamarcus Joyner received from the Packers and Raiders this offseason. It’s a similar spot to the one he was in last year before signing with the Cardinals in July and Boston said he’s going to wait for teams to “stop playing games” before signing anywhere this year.

“I know I’m worth every dollar those guys are getting paid,” Boston said. “The stats say it, you can’t say it’s not, but, for me, it’s about being at peace with where I’m at. Even though the stats say I might be there, if they’re not paying me that then I will wait until it comes a time where I need to sign and they feel comfortable that I’m worth that.”

Boston will be 26 this season. He is a good player. He is a better player than Sean Chandler or Kamrin Moore, the current players competing to be Bethea’s backup. The Giants would be smart to add him. Problem is, unless he winds up with no other way to continue his NFL career, I doubt Boston would accept the role. Or the paycheck.

  • Dan and Chris answered many of these same questions on their most recent podcast. Kind of fun to see how their answers differ from mine.

Jeff Newman asks: Let’s say Eli Manning has a really strong year this season, but Daniel Jones shows that he’s ready to start in 2020. Eli’s contract is up after this year and I doubt the Giants would bring him back as a starter if Jones is ready to go and I doubt Eli would re-sign as a backup. Am I correct? If so, do you think Eli would choose to finish his career starting for another team assuming he has that option, or is he more likely to simply call it a career and retire?

Ed says: Jeff, we haven’t crossed that bridge with Manning yet in terms of asking him what he would do in the circumstance where he would be the 2020 backup to Jones. Thus, I’m speculating. Manning loves being a Giant and his home is in New Jersey. I really don’t believe he has any interest in going someplace else to try and justify that he can still play at a high enough level. My guess is that if the Giants are straight with Manning and tell him upfront that Jones is the starter in 2020, which is my guess on how this plays out, that Manning would call it a career. Oh, and my $.02 is that despite whatever you think of the past few seasons it’s a career Giants’ fans should be grateful for.

NFL: New York Giants-Rookie Minicamp
Dexter Lawrence, running back?
Sarah Stier-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Bernosky asks: I noted that “D-Rex” Lawrence ran the ball for a TD while at Clemson in the manner of “Refrigerator” Perry’s smashmouth runs for the Chicago Bears.

Do Pat Shurmur and Mike Nolan have that “Refrigerator” play in their playbook for Lawrence to run the ball on short and goal?

Ed says: Michael, if the Giants have any thought of using Dexter Lawrence in that way they certainly weren’t going to show us in OTAs. Nor will they show in training camp or the preseason.

I don’t have access to the playbook, of course, but what I do know is that the basic play is in every playbook — except maybe for one authored by Mike Leach. It’s a straight handoff up the middle to the fullback. Way back when I quarterbacked a flag football team in elementary school we called it “32’ or ‘33’ based on the hole we were running into. We saw the Giants give the ball to fullback Elijhaa Penny a few times last season, so that is something Pat Shurmur will do.

It would be fun to see Lawrence lined up at fullback in front of Saquon Barkley on the goal line, but I have no way of knowing if we will.

Nick Salvatore asks: I‘ve been reading about Eric Dungey and his possible role on the team a la Taysom Hill of the Saints. If he does well in training camp, what do you think about having him as the third QB instead of keeping Tanney or Lauletta on the roster?

Ed says: Nick, I have written before about the Giants’ experiment with Dungey being one of the more intriguing stories as they aim to build a 53-man roster. Thing is, he is not an NFL quarterback. He hasn’t taken a snap at quarterback that I’m aware of since rookie mini-camp. He has been exclusively at tight end. In fact, Dungey missed most of OTAs with some type of injury and because of that I believe now has very little chance of sticking around. If he does, he won’t be counted on to be a quarterback. Maybe he would take a ‘Wildcat’ snap if the Giants ever employed that idea, but that’s about all.

Vjerome Nesbit asks: This question is about Paul Perkins in all my readings of mini camp and OTA’s I heard not heard nothing about Paul Perkins. Did he have a good camp? Does it look like he will even make the 53?

Ed says: Vjerome, if you read my way-too-early 53-man roster projection, you should remember that I have Perkins making the team. Perkins looked healthy in the spring. He can run the ball, be a weapon as a receiver and pass block — all things coach Pat Shurmur wants from his backs. The other thing that may give him an advantage is that he has more big-play potential than Wayne Gallman, at least the 2016 version of Perkins did. If he’s still that player I would like to see him on the roster.

Douglas Mollin asks: “Bettcher’s System” is referenced as much as Hog Mollies, OBJ and Getty’s Plan here on BBV.

I know he had 2 very solid years out of 3 at Arizona (not sure what changed in 2017).

He’s not from a football powerhouse in college and he was just a linebacker coach before Arizona made him the DC.

It seems like we’re putting a ton faith in this guy (and Shumur as well) without a whole lot to back it up just yet.

I’m certainly hoping for the best, and mostly optimistic, but am I the only one wondering if Bettcher will actually earn all of this faith being put in him and his vaunted “system”?

Ed says: Doug, you may or may not have intended it to but your lack of faith in Giants defensive coordinator James Bettcher shows through loud and clear in your question. Let me try to make you feel a little better.

First, Bettcher’s defenses were among the league’s best all three years in Arizona.

  • 2015: 7th points, 5th in yards allowed
  • 2016: 14th in points, 2nd in yards allowed
  • 2017: 19th in points, 6th in yards allowed

Personnel and circumstances are different every year, but Bettcher’s defenses were always good. What really happened in Arizona in 2017 is that Arizona’s offense fell off a cliff. The Cardinals were No. 2 in the league in points in 2016, No. 6 in 2016 and No. 25 in 2017.

What does it matter that he didn’t coach at a football powerhouse in college? What matters is that he was good enough at what he does to get hired by two respected NFL coaches, Chuck Pagano and then Bruce Arians.

As for “just” being a linebacker’s coach, everybody was “just something else” before ascending to whatever their highest level is. I’ve been “just” a sports reporter on a two-person staff, “just” a customer support rep for an insurance company when I was out of work and needed a paycheck, and “just” a tech writer, among other things. There was a time I was “just” a kid mowing lawns and working in a sub shop. None of that means I’m not qualified for what I do now, or that I’m not good at it.

As for system, every coach in every sport has a system, a set of principles, or a scheme he or she believes in. Shoot, I coach CYO basketball and I have a system or a way I like things to run. That doesn’t mean you don’t make adjustments based on the chess pieces you have at your disposal.

We talk about Bettcher’s system because a) it’s different than what the Giants have run previously and b) the process of acquiring the kind of players the Giants want/need for the defense Bettcher has implemented is ongoing.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants
Alex Tanney
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Bruce Frazer asks: Given that Manning and Jones are slated at number one and two on the roster chart how do you see the number three QB position battle playing out? Does Lauletta have a chance of making the team as a practice squad QB or do the Giants move on and scan the wavier wire at some point for a better option? Or do they have enough confidence in Tanney to just release Kyle and keep their options open if a more seasoned veteran QB becomes available?

Ed says: In my post-minicamp 53-man roster projection, I have Alex Tanney being kept as the third quarterback. I’m going to stick with that.

Fans look at the fact that Tanney has only gotten into one game since entering the league in 2012, and don’t get it. They can’t figure out the attraction, and what keeps the guy in the league.

Just because Tanney hasn’t played doesn’t mean he can’t. The Browns wanted him a few seasons ago and he chose for family reasons to remain on the practice squad of the Tennessee Titans. He’s a pro, he knows what he’s doing, he understands the game, he understands how to prepare, knows and accepts his role, can be trusted, is a good teammate.

NFL teams value all of those things . It’s also worth pointing out that Tanney can be a big help to the development of Daniel Jones, and that Jones has already praised Tanney for his help.

Besides which, based on what I saw in the spring, right now Tanney is a superior quarterback to Kyle Lauletta.

I think Lauletta could win the job, but he’s got work to do on the field and in restoring the Giants’ trust in him after last season’s traffic incident.