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BBV mailbag: Sam Beal, hog mollies, quarterback transition, more

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The mail’s here!

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It’s a belated Big Blue View mailbag for your Sunday reading pleasure. I’m a day late after covering Friday night’s preseason game between the New York Giants and Chicago Bears. So, let’s get right to it.

Biggiantsan asks: Haven’t heard anything about the 3rd round supplemental pick. When he was drafted and before he was highly regarded. Got hurt and missed last season. I don’t see him mentioned anywhere including what Shurmur said about players returning to practice.

Ed says: Well, Big, you haven’t heard anything about Sam Beal because he hasn’t been on the field the past couple of weeks. Beal had already fallen behind DeAndre Baker. Now, he’s fallen behind Corey Ballentine. Maybe Julian Love and Antonio Hamilton, too. The old saying is “you can’t make the club from the tub,” and we’ll never know if Beal can play at the NFL level if he can’t stay on the field.

Jeffrey Itell asks: Have the Giants become bigger, stronger, and deeper on the O- and D-Lines during Gettleman’s tenure?

Ed says: Let’s take that in two parts.

Offensive line — Jeffrey, I don’t know what anyone who can’t see that the starting offensive line is the best the Giants have put together in many years is looking at. That doesn’t mean it’s perfect, and there are questions about the depth, but Dave Gettleman has made significant progress here in two years.

Defensive line — The Giants moved on from high-priced veterans Jason Pierre-Paul and Damon Harrison. Do they have anyone else with the resume of those two? No. Could they be really good? Yes. We have to see what Dexter Lawrence, B.J. Hill and R.J. McIntosh become before we can really answer the question on this side of the ball.

Jacksonville Jaguars v New York Giants Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images

Bosa82 asks: “I’d be very happy (if Jones never played). It means that we’re having a great year and Eli’s having a great year.”

Let’s play devil’s advocate, if the Giants are 4-9 and the offense is sputtering do the Giants make the move? Mara went on to say that if the move is going to be made he wants to be informed of it. Why do I get a feeling we will see 2017 replayed all over again and this time Mara will say no to Jones starting. I would rather see what he can do in meaningless games at the end of the season so he can hit the ground running in 2020 when and IF he does take over for Eli.

Ed says: Bosa, I’m not sure why people are having a difficult time understanding what John Mara said. Also, if they do actually understand it, why does anyone have a problem with it?

The Giants want to win games. Mara said he hopes they are good this season. The organization still believes that a 16-year veteran and two-time Super Bowl winner gives them their best chance to win games and make the playoffs. If that turns out to be the case, what real Giants fan is going to have a problem with that?

If the Giants don’t win games, if they aren’t in the playoff race, if they are 4-9 as you suggest, Daniel Jones is going to play. Manning knows it. Jones knows it. Pat Shurmur and John Mara know it. Mara’s not going to insist on Manning playing if the team is bad. There won’t be a point to that.

I can’t understand why some in the fan base can’t see, or accept, that this is how the season is going to go down.

Erick Singleman asks: It seems that every single year there are guys who end up missing extended training camp time due to hamstring injuries. It seems to be the speed guys most of the time, WRs, DBs, maybe some linebackers. Also you don’t seem to see these hamstring injuries pop up too much after the season starts. You would think with today’s technology, and nutrition, etc, there would be protocol(s) that would minimize these injuries. Any thoughts? I’m thinking that anyone capable of a sub 4.5 40 yard dash would be required to participate in extra leg stretching or some other protocols to stay loosened up in the legs. A guy like Darius Slayton can’t afford to miss time in camp.

Ed says: Erick, I don’t know what you want players or teams to do. Players have extensive offseason workout routines. They have specific diets. They go through extended stretching and ease into practice with individual drills. The Giants monitor players workloads to try and keep them healthy.

Injuries happen. Guys step awkwardly, reach for a ball, twist, jump, stretch, bend, slip, get hit, fall down. No matter how much prevention you do, how much working out or stretching you do, guys are sometimes going to get hurt. It’s a physical sport. It’s not chess.

Bruce Frazer asks: There has been quite a lot written about Ryan Connelly over the past couple of weeks, all good reports. Is it possible, given your own evaluation, that the Giants may have hit upon a future gem with this pick? It has been a long time since they took a backer this low in the draft that made a significant contribution for a great number of years. I refer back to Jessie Armstead, I think he was a 7th round pick. Let’s hope they found a gem this time.

Ed says: Bruce, yes it’s possible. Let’s not go overboard with the praise for Connelly, but all indications thus far is that this kid can become more than just a backup and special teams player. A year from now, he might be the best linebacker the Giants have.

Chicago Bears v New York Giants
Alonzo Russell
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Ronald Buccheim asks: Glad you mentioned Russell’s 40-yard dash time, Ed. All the writers talked about his hustle, but that’s not the big story, I think. Rather it’s how a guy with a slow 40 time could make everybody else on the field look like they were running in mud. The outraced Everybody by a wide margin. So is he the speedster, the deep threat, the Giants desperately need? Why has his apparent ability to spread the field never been highlighted? Everything I’ve read talked about only his height as his main attribute. So what’s going on?

Ed says: Ronald, you are of course asking about Alonzo Russell. And referring to the great hustle play he made Friday night against the Chicago Bears.

So, let’s talk about who Alonzo Russell is.

Understand first that Russell isn’t some kid who is fresh out of college. He is 26 years old. He went undrafted in 2016 and has spent seasons on the practice squads of the Giants, Cincinnati Bengals and Arizona Cardinals. In all that time the only game he was active for was the final game of 2018 with the Giants. So, he isn’t some new and unheard of young prospect.

Russell is like a lot of other players who never quite make it. He’s got some tremendous physical gifts at 6-foot-4, 206 pounds. Going all the way back to his time in college at Toledo, though, scouts said he never really took advantage of them. He never got better. The Giants are the third NFL team to give him a chance hoping he figured out how to turn his size and strength into production.

Wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert noted at the beginning of training camp that to his eye Russell has finally begun to care about more than running, jumping and out-muscling defenders for catches. He’s begun to care about things like special teams, which showed the other night when he forced a fumble while covering a punt.

Maybe, just maybe, Russell is ready to become a useful part of a 53-man roster.