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BBV mailbag: Eli Manning, Daniel Jones, DeAndre Baker, more

The mail’s here!

NFL: Buffalo Bills at New York Giants Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

It’s Saturday, and you know what that means. Let’s open up the Big Blue View mailbag and see what is on the minds of New York Giants fans.

ctscan asks: First off, I’d like to voice the sentiment that so many of us feel, “thank you so much for everything you’ve done Eli Manning. Your presence on the field and off has made me proud to be a Giants fan these last 15 years.”

With that solemn duty having been taken care of, I asked the question that was my initial reaction and that I have since seen raised in the media, “if the leash was this short, why did we bring Eli back at all? Why not give him a chance to sign elsewhere and save the cap space?“ was Gettleman really so delusional that he believed a defense full of rookies and stripped of veteran talent was going to be competitive? No one Else seemed too … in short, if we were going to bench Eli if we were not good, we should’ve released Eli because the chances of us being good were always slim. to me this seems another example of a rudderless ship spasmodically lurching from side to side without a plan.

Ed says: Here is what Pat Shurmur said on Wednesday about that:

“I don’t understand that narrative because Daniel Jones is going to have the benefit to start here 14 games, of a guy who is what being a Giant exemplifies. Not only as a player, but as a person. He’s going to have the benefit of this guy’s assistance as we go through it. My gut told me it was the right time, but that narrative that you don’t bring Eli back, I think that’s just something for us all to talk about.”

Maybe my reasoning isn’t identical to Shurmur’s, but I completely agree with him in not getting the whole Manning should have been cut stuff. This “hindsight is 20/20” attitude that the Giants should not have brought Manning back in the first place is, in my view, silliness.

First, let’s start with this. I understand people say, well, you have a backup quarterback costing $23 million against the salary cap. I don’t, though, think people who just toss that number around are really looking at the situation.

Whether he was a Giant or not, Manning was going to cost the Giants $12 million against the cap this season. Start there.

Next, factor in the reality that the Giants had to make a decision on whether to pay Manning his $5 million roster bonus and bring him back in early March. Check your calendar. March comes before April. That’s long before the draft, before the Giants knew they would be able to get Daniel Jones and before they got Jones in the building and found out he might be ready more quickly than they had hoped.

If the Giants had let Manning go, they certainly weren’t going to just have Alex Tanney and Kyle Lauletta in the building along with whatever rookie they drafted. They were going to go out and sign a veteran quarterback to be, at least, a placeholder.

That was going to cost a healthy amount of money, no matter who it was. So, you’re still paying $12 million plus whatever you pay to get Ryan Fitzpatrick or someone else. So, you really aren’t saving any money.

Diminished or not, I’ll take Manning over FitzMagic or any other quarterback of that ilk the Giants might have been able to acquire.

Besides, don’t you think having Manning around for a year will be beneficial to Jones’ career? I do.

Jack Kalota asks: In your opinion do you think after an 0-2 start and replacing Eli with Daniel Jones that the Giants leadership and coaching staff have effectively given up on being competitive for the 2019 season? In effect a 14 game tryout for Daniel Jones and whether the organization will need to draft another new QB in the spring.

Ed says: No, Jack, I don’t. I wrote earlier in the week that it’s not about giving up on 2019, but about embracing their current reality and the future. I reiterated that on my Friday podcast.

Coaches are generally guys with tunnel vision. The next game is always what is most important, and is always in the forefront of their minds. Next season? Not so much.

I really believe Shurmur watched the Giants struggle on third down, watched them struggle to get the ball in the end zone, watched Dak Prescott and Josh Allen help their teams with their legs and knew Jones could do that and Manning couldn’t. I think he truly believes there are some ways in which Jones could make the Giants better right now.

The corollary to that is that everyone understands Jones, not Manning, is the future. Shurmur admitted this was going to happen at some point, and it may help them grow into that future more quickly.

No, though, I don’t really see this as a give up.

JayB asks: Did the Giants make a huge mistake firing Kevin Gilbride and could it be argued it was worse than letting Tom Coughlin go?

I believe that Kevin’s offense was tailored made for Eli Manning and when they brought in McAdoo to try to turn Eli into Aaron Rodgers it might have hurt Eli long term. Should the Giants consider bring Gilbride back to work with Jones?

Ed says: JayB, are you serious with this? Especially the second part of this?

This was soooo long ago I’m surprised it’s coming up now. I will say that I do think Gilbride was the right offensive coordinator for Manning. That’s something many fans didn’t really understand. His offense was about the home run, the big strike, the chunk play. Not about efficiency. What has Manning never been? A master of play-to-play efficiency, a perfectly accurate guy who was really good in the short game. That is the type of offense preferred by Ben McAdoo and Pat Shurmur, one steeped in West Coast principles. It’s just not what Manning has done best.

Bring Gilbride back now? Why? The Giants drafted him largely because he can do the kinds of things Shurmur wants.

Kyle Kilday asks: Do you have any insight as to why Corey Ballentine isn’t playing defense? Or Julian Love for that matter? I get it’s only Week 2, but yeesh, DeAndre Baker looks...bad and Bethea doesn’t seem like he’s irreplaceable out there. What don’t I know? The secondary is currently dreadful. What’s the risk? Are they just waiting until the trade deadline when they deal Jackrabbit?

Ed says: Let’s start with this — and that is “why” DeAndre Baker is playing. The Giants have a lot invested in Baker. They drafted him 30th overall, and gave up a couple of their draft picks to do it. He is going to play before a fourth- or sixth-round pick. They believe he is a better player than Love or Ballentine, which is why they did what they did. They aren’t reversing course on that after two games, especially not when young cornerbacks historically struggle to get used to the NFL. He is going to get a long leash to prove whether or not the Giants were right in their evaluation of him.

Ballentine will get his opportunities. Probably Sam Beal, too. It’s entirely possible the Giants deal Jackrabbit before the trade deadline.

As for Love, Grant Haley is playing pretty well in the slot. So, that avenue isn’t open. Love is being converted to safety, but still learning. He got picked on quite a bit in preseason. I’m sure that as the season unfolds if the Giants think he’s ready they will get him on the field.

Jerry Panza asks: Just wondering Ed if maybe the team draft overvalued this kid [DeAndre Baker]? He looks really lost but it also seems he is shy of contact. Is Bettcher’s scheme so complicated. Seems to be that or the preparation was poor for everyone out there with so many missed assignments.

Ed says: See the previous question. It’s way too soon to know whether or not the Giants overvalued Baker. He’s a confused rookie right now. He’s not playing with confidence. He’s not using his strengths. We will know more in December than we do now. As for Bettcher’s scheme, I’m not really sure I know the answer. The players say it’s not, but they have seemed uncertain what they are doing at times.

Bruce Frazer asks: Should Dave Gettleman be on the hot seat? Some of his decisions, (releasing Landon Collins with no return, as an example) drafting a skill position over investing draft capital in the O-line seem to defy the basic principles of team building. O-line free agents and wavier pickups were the preferred methods of the now departed Jerry Reese. Everyone criticized Jerry for drafting skill before foundation pieces. Isn’t Gettleman doing the same thing? He just doesn’t seem to be in tune with the modern game.

Ed says: Bruce, let’s clarify a couple of things. First, Landon Collins was not released. He was a free agent. The Giants will get compensation in the likely form of a third-round pick in the upcoming draft. A third-round pick is probably the best they were ever going to do if they had traded him a year ago, so it’s a wash. I think the most basic of basic principles of team building is you better have a quarterback, and you better do what you have to in order to get one if you don’t. I think Gettleman did that in the draft.

I look at Dave Gettleman the same way I look at Pat Shurmur. Now that Daniel Jones is playing you can certainly start the clock — and you probably could have started it on Gettleman after the draft. I have written that before.

I still think this is a two-year window for Shurmur and in the eyes of the Giants organization probably longer than that for Gettleman.

The Giants are a conservative organization. Keep in mind, Jerry Reese was the first GM they ever fired and you know they didn’t want to do that simply based on the reality that they waited to do it until the situation gave them absolutely no other choice.

Gettleman is 68 years old. He had a major health scare a year ago. My honest belief is that the Giants have zero appetite for another upheaval like they went through in 2017. My question really isn’t whether Gettleman’s seat is hot. I think the better question is how long is he going to want to stay in the seat. He’s already talked about getting the Giants a franchise quarterback and then retiring to Cape Cod and watching from there.

I think it’s far more likely that Gettleman takes the next couple of years to continue building the foundation of the Giants, then rides off on his own to watch his handiwork from the Cape.