It’s Big Blue View Mailbag day, so let’s get right to your questions. Settle in, this is a full one.
Patrick Boliver asks: I know you don’t indulge in mock drafts during the season however from what you’ve seen in the first 5 weeks of the season do you believe the Giants need to continue to upgrade the offensive line or is skill positions a bigger need going into the off season. I realize it’s early and both need addressing but in your opinion what is holding this offense back the most and what should be prioritized first?
Ed says: Patrick, the Giants need game-changing players on both sides of the ball. Your question, though, is specifically about the offense. So, I will only consider that group.
Yes, ultimately it is too early for me to make any type of final judgment. Also, I’m leaving quarterback out of this for now — your questions seems to do that, as well.
For me, then, we’re talking about wide receiver or drafting another offensive tackle. If the Giants think offensive tackle Penei Sewell of Oregon is the best player, fine. I’m not giving up on Andrew Thomas, though. That’s silly after five games. Also, I think they feel good about the future of Matt Peart.
If it’s me, I think right now I would bank on development from Thomas and Peart and go get whoever the best wide receiver available turns out to be in order to give Daniel Jones more play makers.
Chris Hynes asks: It is quite apparent to me that this is another lost season for Giants fans. And yes there are outside factors that contributed to the failure, the No. 1 reason still is the lack of talent. That being said, I would like to trade every UFA (except Tomlinson) for some draft capital. Even if it is just a cache of mid-round picks, what do you think we can get? I would also like to see if we can get a market for either Tate or Zeitler?
Ed says: Chris, I have actually just begun asking around to see which Giants players talent evaluators I know believe are tradable and what the Giants might be able to get. Golden Tate, Kevin Zeitler, Markus Golden and maybe Evan Engram — if the return is significant enough — come to mind.
One cautionary note: The return in these types of trades is never what fans think it should be. Still, if the Giants can get something more than seventh-round picks for any of these guys they have to consider it.
Jay B asks: Why isn’t [Matt] Peart starting at this point? I get if he was some fifth- or sixth-round selection but a third-round selection is nothing to sneeze at that’s a guy you expect to be a starter at some point. With Andrew Thomas and Fleming not playing very well and more importantly Fleming on a one-year deal and not being the future of this team it is far more important for them to evaluate Peart and get him as many reps as possible to develop chemistry with this line than to continue sending Fleming out there. The easy answer is well Fleming has been better in practice but what’s the point of being better in practice if you’re not translating it to the games? Are they afraid Peart might actually end up looking better than Thomas?
Ed says: Jay, first and foremost everyone needs to remember that every evaluator I have asked — including Peart’s own college head coach at UConn — has said Peart would be best served with a redshirt year where he can get in the weight room and increase his strength.
That said, the Giants have begun to work Peart into the lineup and offensive line coach Marc Colombo said this week they will continue to do that.
Fleming is obviously not a long-term answer for the Giants. He was brought in as depth. I think we can see that the Giants are trying to work guys like Peart, Shane Lemieux, Tae Crowder and Cam Brown into the mix slowly. Remember, these guys didn’t have any preseason snaps.
I think the Giants will give Peart full-time reps at right tackle when they think he’s ready to handle them. From the day the Giants drafted him they really have looked at him as a 2021 player.
As for this ‘afraid he will look better than Thomas’ stuff that is just nonsense.
Bruce Dee asks: Would you have fired Bill Parcells after his first year when his record was 3-12-1? Would you have fired Kyle Shanahan in 2017 when the 49ers started out 0-9 before his team won 6 of their last 7 games? Coaches need to find out who can play and win. It takes a while. It takes even longer in this mess of 2020 we’re in.
Ed says: Bruce, no and no. And, let me cut off the next question before anyone sends it to me. I will not advocate for the firing of Joe Judge after this season even if the Giants go 0-16. Winning in the NFL isn’t easy and while everyone is all fired up and saying ‘hey, look at what Matt Rhule is doing in Carolina’ that doesn’t happen for everyone. You have to give a coach — and a front office — time to work together, time to get their program in place, time to get the players they need, all of that. When you have had the worst record in the league for the last three years there is no quick fix. You can’t just keep starting over. At some point, you have to trust the people you hire and give them a full chance to do what you hired them to do.
Jeff Newman asks: When a team is bad for a few years it’s usually the coach. When it’s bad for several years, it’s likely the GM. The Giants have been bad for most of the last decade. During that time, we’ve had two general managers, three new head coaches, and turned over the entire roster. The only thing that hasn’t changed is ownership. How much of the blame should be placed on Mara and Tisch? It’s becoming apparent that our rebuild has not gone well and should have started a few years sooner. I’ve heard rumors that Ben McAdoo wanted to draft Patrick Mahomes, but ownership wanted to stick with Eli. Maybe they were also behind Gettleman’s “win while rebuilding” plan that failed miserably, perhaps even pushing him to draft Saquon to win with Eli. Maybe they had a hand in the selection of Daniel Jones because he reminded them of Eli. We may never know, but it begs the question.
Ed says: Jeff, bottom line is the Mara and Tisch families own the business. John Mara and Steve Tisch are the ultimate decision makers — they hire and fire the GM and the head coach. So, yes, the buck stops with them.
They absolutely know the two coaching hires they made before Joe Judge did not work out. That is absolutely on them. The McAdoo hire was not on Jerry Reese. The Shurmur hire was not on Dave Gettleman. The Judge hire wasn’t Gettleman’s decision, either. This is something people have to understand about the Giants. The GM is part of that process, but it’s not his decision. That decision belongs 100 percent to ownership.
The GM decision also belongs to Tisch and Mara. Many people decided the minute the Giants hired Gettleman that they made a mistake. Maybe they did. Maybe they didn’t. They haven’t won enough games, clearly. The roster isn’t yet good enough, clearly. I know what some BBV commenters think whenever I talk about Gettleman, and all I will say is for me the success or failure Gettleman’s tenure still comes down to whether or not he is ultimately right about Daniel Jones.
Back to ownership. I have said for years that the biggest mistake ownership has made is never, at least not perhaps until now, fully embracing a rebuild. They tried for years to use Band-Aids when what was probably needed was open-heart surgery.
My belief is the Giants would be better off today had they made a clean sweep in 2015 when they removed Tom Coughlin. Reese and even Eli Manning could have been removed at that point. Start over with all new decision-makers and a new quarterback.
Loyalty is a real thing for John Mara, as it was for his father. I will always defend Manning and say he got more blame than he deserved in his last few seasons, but it did take the Giants too long — I think — to fully come to terms with where they were as an organization.
Tom Mandler asks: “Am I taking crazy pills?” At the time of the draft, writers and analysts were telling giants fans DG chose Thomas over the superior Wirfs and Becton because Thomas was the most “pro ready.” After 5 games, everything we read and hear is how fans need to have patience because Thomas has technique issues from college that need to be developed. So, which is it?
Ed says: Tom, allow me to bust out some Forrest Gump as I try to answer this one:
Scouts saw the level of competition Thomas played against, the fact that he did that at left tackle the fact that he did it in an offense that ran a lot of “pro-style” stuff, whatever that means in the modern NFL. They declared him “pro ready.”
If you have paid attention to Joe Judge, he has said over and over that no rookie is pro ready. No rookie really has a grasp on, or ever a clue about, what they are getting themselves into when they step on the field against grown men who are as good or better than they are, and know more about their jobs.
Thomas hasn’t been good through five games. That does not mean he won’t be a very good NFL left tackle. He is 21 years old. Look at the Giants’ roster. He is the youngest player on it. Playing a premium position against some of the best players in the league and often being left on an island to sink or swim.
Thomas hasn’t been good so far. Give him time. I think he is a smart, diligent kid who is willing to work at his craft, and I think eventually he will get it right.
I get that patience is hard for fans to have, but five games does not make a career.
Brad C. asks: I think we can all assume that Judge will be back next season, no matter what the W/L record. Regarding Gettleman, do you think there’s any chance that he can be “eased into retirement” - encouraged to retire with some dignity - rather than fired? It would cost him some dollars if they just give him a partial payout, but it might be a more dignified way to exit than simply being fired...and yes, I’m assuming that ownership won’t want him back.
Ed says: Brad, this is actually how I think it will go down with Gettleman. He served the Giants really well for a long time in his previous role in personnel. He is a guy John Mara has high regard for. I think Gettleman will retire, perhaps with a bit of encouragement.
Now, does that happen after this season? I’m still not sure about that, and I know that many have already made up their minds. Thing is, you just started down a path with a brand new head coach and there is no guarantee you will be able to land a new GM who has ties to Judge or has a philosophy on roster development/construction that meshes with the coach, so that adds even more uncertainty. At some point you just have to pick a GM-coach tandem, tie their futures together, and ride it out until you are certain it’s either going to work or not work.
Mara has previously said he has been impressed with how Gettleman and Judge have worked together. I’m not yet convinced he will want to break them up and start again.