The Big Blue View Mailbag this week is filled with interesting questions from frustrated New York Giants fans. Let’s open it up and get started.
Dave Kamens asks: When will Joe Judge bench Jones and try Colt McCoy? Too many turnovers and fumbles. I think he needs to sit for a while and try something new. I don’t care how hard he works, the results aren’t there. It would probably do him good.
Ed says: Dave, the answer is hopefully never. Why would he do that and what purpose would it serve? Yes, Dwayne Haskins has already been benched and abandoned by the Washington Football Team. Jones, though, is better than Haskins in my view and has shown more promise.
I have said many times that this season is largely about finding out whether or not Jones is the guy to lead the Giants into the future. That question hasn’t been answered yet, and it’s not going to be answered with Jones watching McCoy play.
It would be silly and would accomplish nothing for the Giants to bench Jones.
Wayne Mirsky asks: One of the criticisms of Daniel Jones is that he stares down his primary receiver and rarely looks to his secondary ones. What I can’t understand is why that is so hard to correct? Jones played under David Cutliffe at Duke, who had previously mentored both Peyton and Eli Manning and is a supposed QB guru as a coach. Jones was coached by Shurmur another supposed QB guru. I can’t imagine that this problem never existed before and was never corrected either by Cutcliffe or Shurmur.
Ed says: Wayne, if it was easy everyone would be a star quarterback. Cutcliffe is an outstanding quarterback coach, but the offense at Duke — as explained multiple times here at BBV by Mark Schofield — was a much simpler scheme that usually had Jones knowing exactly where the ball was going before it was snapped and not having to go through progressions.
You can be sure that Cutcliffe drilled this with Jones. That Shurmur and Mike Shula drilled it with Jones last season. That Jason Garrett and quarterbacks coach Jerry Schuplinski drill it all the time with Jones this season. Yet, carrying things from the practice field to the game doesn’t always happen easily.
Do you play golf? Anyone who does knows that practicing your various shots and swings on the driving range is one thing. Taking them to the course and trying to execute them in different conditions when trying to post a score is something completely different. I’ve worked and worked at drawing the golf ball (hitting it right to left) and it is still more natural for me to fade it (hit it left to right).
The other comparison I can make is basketball. I’m 60 years old and to this day I can go out in my driveway, shoot 50 free throws and make more than 40 of them almost every time. That, though, doesn’t mean I can go make that same percentage of free throws under game conditions.
Jones is still a young quarterback. Playing at Duke is still nothing like playing in the NFL against the world’s best defensive players. He’s not a finished product.
Chris Fiegler asks: If the Giants become 0-5 after the game against Dallas will somebody on the Giants coaching staff will be fired? If so, who?
Ed says: Chris, no coaches are getting fired after Sunday — regardless of the results. It’s five games into the first year of a completely new coaching staff that had no offseason to work with players and only a shortened training camp. The beginning of the season was never going to be easy for the Giants, though everyone has a right to be unhappy that they are winless. No coaches deserve to get fired. What purpose would that serve at this point? Give them a full chance.
Jay B asks: As you do more research on [Trevor] Lawrence. What would you NEED to see from Jones this season for you to pass on Lawrence? Let’s remember scouts are already talking about Lawrence as the best prospect since Luck and just for a cross sports reference Portland once passed on Michael Jordan because they already had Clyde Drexler on the roster. You said that if your in the position you take him but what might make you change you mind? Is the talent gap between an improved Jones and Trevor Lawrence too large for Jones to overcome if the Giants are in position to take Lawrence?
Ed says: I have said this before — if the Giants are 0-16 and have the No. 1 pick that means Jones has shown you he is not the guy and you really have little choice but to take Lawrence.
I quite honestly do not think it is going to come to that. I’m still optimistic about Jones, though I have concerns, and am still optimistic that the arrow is pointing up for the Giants and that the results on the field will begin to show that at some point. Call me crazy. Question what I’m smoking. Ask what I’m drinking. Whatever. That is how I feel. In the end, I do not believe the Giants will be in the Trevor Lawrence discussion.
The best thing for the Giants would be if they come out of the season believing Jones is their guy, and if they are in a draft slot high enough to be able to a) draft another top offensive line piece b) select the best offensive or defensive play-maker on the board or c) trade down with a team willing to surrender a king’s ransom for the right to draft Justin Fields or Trey Lance.
Bruce Frazer asks: After the Ereck Flowers fiasco, how patient will the Giants hierarchy be with Andrew Thomas? Brian Baldinger pointed out that Thomas has a problem setting his feet and thus is being knocked aside and beaten on his blocks. Brian also points out that Thomas exhibited the same flaw at Georgia. So far he appears to be lagging behind the rest of the top rated tackles drafted this year. The Giants waited far too long to move on from Flowers. Can they afford to do the same with Thomas?
Ed says: Bruce, they can certainly wait a whole lot longer than four games. Everybody wants immediate results, immediate gratification, but this rush to judgment from so many fans who have already decided that Thomas is a bust — that he’s Flowers — is completely ridiculous.
Thomas is a rookie who — for what feels like the 800th time — had no offseason, no preseason and an abbreviated training camp. On top of that, I’m pretty certain that for months he expected — and probably prepared — to play right tackle. He was thrown to the wolves at left tackle when Nate Solder opted out.
I know what Thomas’s numbers are. I know that Mekhi Becton, Tristan Wirfs and Jedrick Wills have been better. I also know it’s been four games. That is nowhere near enough time to pass judgment.
Yes, the Giants’ regime at the time made a mistake by stubbornly continuing to try and prove they were right that Flowers could be a good NFL left tackle when it was clear to everyone they were wrong. That, though, was after watching him for two years.
Thomas has things to fix. No doubt about that. I’m still going to believe that all of the smart analysts who felt the guy was going to be a good NFL left tackle for a long time will end up being correct.
George Wallace asks: Would the Giants be 2-2 if Eli was starter? (Wins against Rams and Bears)?
Ed says: George, I honestly don’t know. I don’t think anyone does. I do know that doesn’t make any difference. What matters now is that Daniel Jones learns from the mistakes he has made. Yes, he has turned the ball over and made costly mistakes against the Steelers and Rams. Who knows if the Giants win those games if he doesn’t throw those unfortunate interceptions?
Quarterbacks will always make mistakes. Shoot, Tom Brady threw a Pick 6 the other day. What matters right now is whether or not Jones can grow and make those mistakes more infrequently.
Austin Willis asks: I was intrigued by your article discussing how the Giants had a lot of players that belonged on a football field, but none that were really star players (barring Saquon of course). Do you find the lack of elite homegrown talent as evidence the Giants need to move on from Gettleman? I would consider the two best players on the Giants not named Saquon to be Martinez and Bradberry, who were both brought in from outside the organization.
Ed says: A Dave Gettleman question? Austin, you’re going to get me in trouble here since there is a segment of the BBV readership that seems to believe I live in Gettleman’s pocket and don’t see that his decision-making has been less than perfect.
I don’t, and I do.
Before I get into homegrown talent, don’t the signings of James Bradberry and Blake Martinez — two excellent defensive players — go on Gettleman’s resume? If people are going to criticize him for the signings of Jonathan Stewart and Patrick Omameh a couple of years ago, then he also has to get credit when he gets it right. He got it right with those moves.
As for homegrown talent and the idea of “elite” players, this all still comes back to Daniel Jones. Saquon Barkley is elite. We have no idea yet if Andrew Thomas will be elite. The jury is still out on Jones and, again, while some people have already made their decision the answer isn’t in yet.
Maybe the second-round pick of Will Hernandez doesn’t look great right now, and it’s easy to say, oh, look Darius Leonard went two picks later. That pick at 34, though, was always going to be an offensive lineman after the Giants took Barkley. I’m frustrated by the fact that Hernandez hasn’t taken the next step, but not giving up on him yet.
DeAndre Baker was a mistake. I have said that before. The idea that Gettleman trades away draft assets rather than acquiring them to try and jumpstart this rebuild bugs me.
Gettleman’s seat is warm, there is no doubt about that. Would I be surprised at all if the Giants have a different GM next season? Nope. I am not, though, completely convinced that Gettleman can’t work with Joe Judge to get the Giants back to where they want to be.
Matt Totaro asks: There has been a lot of talk that Daniel Jones is learning a new system, has a new coach, a new o-line, no Barkley, but weren’t these all factors for his rookie year? My question are, do you feel Pat Shurmur should be given more credit in the development of Jones than he has been? Have NFL defenses adjusted to Jones now that he more or less has a full season of games under his belt and know his tendencies, as before, he was virtually an unknown player which is added to the struggle? If Shurmur and his staff were still around this season (and I am glad they are not), do you feel that Jones would be worse or better off than he is now?
Ed says: Matt, Shurmur and his staff deserved to be fired. I happen to like Shurmur very much as a person and I think he is a really good offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach if he is left to just do that job. I think he has proven, though, that he is not a winning head coach.
Do I think Jones would be better off? No. I think it isn’t ideal that Jones has a new coaching staff and is learning a new system in his second year in the NFL. I think, though, that all-in-all the Giants have a better coaching staff and in the long run that will be a net positive for everyone, not just Jones.
The young man is making mistakes. That’s not because of Garrett. Or Shurmur. Or Duke coach David Cutcliffe. It’s because he has exactly one season of NFL starts under his belt and he is still figuring it out. There’s a lot riding on the next 12 games.