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Big Blue View mailbag, 10/31: A spook-tacular Halloween edition

Evan Engram, trades, Marc Colombo’s qualifications, much more in a jam-packed mailbag

It’s a Halloween edition of the Big Blue View Mailbag. So, let’s open it up and see what jumps out.

MarcL asks: Do you see any indication the Giants move on from Tate? Last year’s violation could have voided parts of the contract, but I can’t get a clue from Spotrac or OverTheCap. Looks like Giants stuck with him, and we’re past guaranteed monies end of this season, either way.

Ed says: Marc, sure the Giants could move on from Golden Tate. He’s still a good player, but the Giants don’t owe him any more guaranteed money and he probably won’t be with them next season. If they get what they deem to be an acceptable trade offer for him by Tuesday’s deadline moving on now and getting something in return makes sense.


nyg4_life asks: Does the scouting staff change as the head coaches change? I ask because as I look at the last 5-10 years of our drafts, it’s absolutely pathetic. Obviously, the jury is still out on this years and last year’s draft - but it’s not looking good. No All Pro’s, no pro bowlers, no potential pro bowlers, what gives? The only bonafide star we drafted since since 2011 is OBJ- and he was traded! You can argue Saquon, but his numbers don’t blow you away outside of his rookie year. DG is taking a lot of heat for drafting Andrew Thomas but from what I can tell he and Joe Judge were on the same page with that, why have we had such bad luck drafting for more than 10 years now?

Ed says: NYG, the scouting staff is under the purview of the general manager. They work for him, not the head coach. Dave Gettleman has made some changes there. Some scouts have retired or been replaced. Some methodology and grading systems have been changed. The coaching staff has changed twice, which means that perhaps different types of players are being looked for. There’s no way the Giants would have drafted the same 10 players for the Pat Shurmur coaching staff they selected for the new Joe Judge coaching staff.

Some mistakes have been made. Some picks that were universally loved (like Will Hernandez in Round 2 of the 2018 NFL Draft) aren’t working out the way most in the draft community thought they would. There is no single reason, especially over the tenures of two GMs.


NorthHaven asks: Some people criticize Jones’ play, and deservedly so in some instances, but my recollection is that Eli wasn’t great for at least the first one or two years that he started ... lots of interceptions and ducks that he threw. Recognizing different times, different teams, and different players, how would you compare the first 1+ years of Eli vs. Jones?

Ed says: NorthHaven, statistically Jones has been better. Manning completed just 48.2 and 52.8 percent of his passes his first two seasons, while Jones is above 61 percent each season. Offenses are different, though, so that isn’t a great comparison. The Giants went 11-5 in Eli’s first full season as a starter.

There remain a lot of similarities between Jones and Manning. Too many Giants fans forget that it wasn’t until the 2007 Super Bowl run in Manning’s fourth season that he really convinced people he was a quality NFL quarterback.

The biggest difference between Manning and Jones over the first couple of seasons of their careers? Manning had a more complete team around him, whereas Jones is being asked to carry a big amount of the burden on a weekly basis.


Deliguy asks: Ed, you’ve said “Marc Colombo came to the Giants with an excellent reputation.” What is this judgement based off?

The limited facts that I know are:

Columbo coached the OL group in Dallas for 1.5 years after losing out initially to Paul Alexander.

Columbo inherited one of the top OL in the league in terms of talent and certainly didn’t need to do much other than baby sit his players.

Columbo’s first OL outside Dallas (here in NY) is doing pretty awful.

Could you just elaborate on what makes you or anyone feel like he’s actually an excellent or great OL coach, and not the big unknown some of us suspect him to be.

Ed says: Deliguy, Colombo is undoubtedly a young coach and I understand some skepticism. The first thing I can tell you is I’ve had a number of conversations with RJ Ochoa of SB Nation’s Cowboys website, Blogging The Boys, about Colombo and he always tells me that Colombo was very highly regarded in Dallas.

Here is a snippet from Ochoa when the Giants hired Colombo:

Colombo got the most out of a talented group in Dallas since he took over midway through the 2018 season after the Cowboys fired Paul Alexander, it is definitely possible that he joins the Giants and makes a strong impact.

When I talked to Alexander over the summer, he was very tight-lipped about Colombo. I know he’s bitter about his Dallas experience, which is why I can’t put a whole lot of stock in Alexander’s recent criticisms of the way Colombo is handling Andrew Thomas.

I have never read or heard anything negative about the work Colombo does, or the way he does it, other than Alexander’s criticisms regarding Thomas’s development. Below, a few pieces written about Colombo.

The case for the Dallas Cowboys to keep Marc Colombo

Marc Colombo brings the energy back to Cowboys' offensive line - Dallas Cowboys Blog- ESPN

Report: Marc Colombo to interview for Giants OL coaching job

You can bet that Jason Garrett had a lot to do with Colombo getting an opportunity to interview with Joe Judge. That wasn’t going to happen unless Garrett trusted Colombo to be the architect of an offensive line that could help his offense function.

Now, is it possible that it isn’t going to work out? Sure, but let’s see what Thomas, Matt Peart, Nick Gates and Shane Lemieux turn into before we crucify Colombo.


Jeff Newman asks: Do you believe Darius Slayton will become a No. 1 receiver someday and what does he have to do to be considered a bona fide No. 1 receiver?

Ed says: Jeff, I am not sure what the definition of a “bona fide No. 1 receiver” is. If it’s a guy who demands a constant double team, how many of those guys are there? I know Slayton is the biggest play-making threat the Giants have at wide receiver, which his 15.9 yards per catch average attests to. I know he’s a really good player, and he’s probably going to get better if he stays healthy. Is he a top 15 receiver? Probably not. A top 30

I know this from talking to him a few times last season — he has a greater appreciation for the nuances of being a receiver and for learning his craft than many people thought coming out of college. He’s not just a fast guy. I think really studying, learning and understanding what defenses are doing and how to combat that is where he can continue to improve.


Ronald Balsamo asks: Preseason Carolina was considered one of the worst teams in the league. Since then they have won 3 times more games than the Giants. My question is should the Giants have tried harder to get Matt Rhule? It’s usually a matter of money.

Ed says: Ronald, there is no doubt that Matt Rhule is doing an excellent job with the Carolina Panthers and it looks like he has that team pointed in the right direction. That said, one half-season is not enough to say the Panthers got it right and the Giants got it wrong in hiring a new head coach. I happen to be optimistic that given time Judge will be just fine.

Now, should the Giants have tried harder to get Rhule? They had an interview scheduled with the guy. Rhule and his representatives knew the Giants were interested — and it seemed for a long time that interest was mutual.

Fact is, Carolina swooped in the night before Rhule was supposed to be in New Jersey to interview with the Giants, and they made him a gargantuan contract offer (seven years, $60 million) that was unheard of for a rookie head coach. John Mara was very clear in the aftermath that the Giants had zero interest in that kind of commitment to a rookie head coach, either in terms of money or years. They had been blown away by Judge, so they hired him for a reported five years and $25 million.

If Rhule really wanted the Giants, he never would have gone to Carolina before interviewing with them. He wanted the best deal, for which I don’t think anyone could blame him, and he got it from the Panthers.

In my view, it’s not close to time to say the Giants got the short end of the stick.


Donald Sussman asks: It seems that Engram is a great athlete but not a good football player. For all the “match up nightmare” stuff, I don’t remember him dominating any games. It’s easy to jump on the band wagon, but let’s look at the bigger picture: do players ever go from four years of disappointing to break out in the fifth year?

Ed says: Donald, the answer to the second part of your question is, yes, that does happen on occasion. Shaq Barrett posted 19.5 sacks for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season after only totaling 14.5 sacks in five seasons with the Denver Broncos. It’s rare, but it happens. Generally speaking, accepted wisdom is that you pretty much know what players are once they are three to four years into the league.

The physical tools lead you to want Evan Engram to be more — to think he should be more — than he has been. The production, the inconsistencies, the flaws and the fact that we are still waiting for things we haven’t seen when he is working on his third offensive coordinator indicate that maybe what we see is what we get. A guy who will tease, but pretty much always leave you wanting more than you get.


Robert J. Simon asks: DG gave up draft capital to acquire Leonard Williams and he has played pretty well. I imagine that the Giants would want to keep him. He will be a FA after this season and may command a lot of interest. What will DG do? Will he let him hit the open market, offer him a long-term contract, apply the transition tag, or use a second franchise tag to keep him?

Ed says: Robert, this is one of the interesting questions the Giants will face in the offseason. The first question, of course, is whether or not it will be Dave Gettleman in the general manager’s chair when the time comes. Whether he is or not, I don’t think the Giants will be able to play pay Williams and Dalvin Tomlinson with the salary cap likely to decrease for 2021.

My gut instinct is the versatility and pass rush of Williams would make him the priority over the run-defending Tomlinson. But, we’ll see.


Josh Diamond asks: Why not try using Penny as the FB more often? They can’t seem to get a consistent run game going. Why not try something new? What happened overall with no one using FB anymore except it seems in SF.

Ed says: Josh, I have advocated for this before. The fullback just doesn’t appear to be a big part of the Jason Garrett offense, expect for red zone short yardage and maybe when the offense is backed up near its own goal line. Overall, the game is just more spread out than it used to be. More shotgun, more receivers, more multiple tight ends who give you more flexibility in the passing game.


David LaBonte asks: Do you have any thoughts on a potential transition for Andrew Thomas to guard if his struggles at LT continue? I’ve read some scouting reports that state he could have success on the inside. As a result, might the Giants be inclined to draft a LT again in the upcoming draft (Oregon)?

Ed says: David, I always laugh when I read that whole “could be better off at guard in the NFL” stuff in scouting reports. That’s classic cover your backside analysis. The analyst or scout can then always go back and say ‘see, I told you he was a guard’ if he fails at tackle. It means nothing to me.

It’s just way too early for all this talk of labeling Thomas a bust or talking about moving him inside to guard. He’s a 21-year-old kid, youngest player on the Giants’ roster, trying to figure things out in the NFL and he has faced an absolute Murderer’s Row of pass rushers so far this season.

As for drafting Penei Sewell of Oregon, when it’s the Giants turn to select in the draft if they believe he’s the player on the board who can help them the most, fine. We’re a long way from there, however,