It’s Saturday, which means it’s time to open the Big Blue View Mailbag. ASo, let’s see what New York Giants-related questions are on your minds today.
Jason Sorley asks: There seem to be 6-8 offensive tackles that are being discussed as possible first round or early 2nd round selections, including the four that seem to be showing up in most mock drafts: Wills, Wirfs, Thomas & Becton. Given that there seems to be so much quality supply at a position that is getting more expensive every year, what (if any) impact do you see that having on the demand for FA tackles like Conklin and Humphries? Is this the year that the market comes back down to earth or will we see team like the Giants continue to overpay for the best veteran free agents at the position?
Ed says: Jason, I get where you are coming from but you always have to remember that no player entering the draft is a sure thing. Until a player has played in and succeeded in the NFL, we have no idea if he can do that. It’s the reason Jack Conklin is going to be sought after by many teams in free agency, and why he is about to make a boatload of money despite the draft appearing to be rich in tackles. It’s why I think the Giants should be one of the teams checking on the price tag. He’s a proven commodity, and young enough (26 next season) to have a lot of good years ahead of him. He’s also the only tackle in this free agency group I would spend big money on.
That said, even if the Giants are the team that ends up winning the Conklin bidding war I would like to see them use a draft pick, maybe a Day 2 selection, on a developmental left tackle.
Pete Fox asks: I am curious. I have read the biographies and backgrounds of the Judge hires, but I would like to see a more “integrated” view: How do all of these pieces fit together? What part of the integrated package does each of these coaches bring? How do they complement each other as a coherent whole?
Ed says: Pete, there is really no way to know how all of these pieces will fit together. What we can do is figure out why some of these coaches were hired and what Joe Judge was hoping to accomplish.
Judge on Wednesday spoke about how offensive line coach Marc Colombo complements offensive coordinator Jason Garrett. Derek Dooley is an experienced play caller and sounding board for Garrett as well. On the defensive side, Bret Bielema is a veteran coach who can help Patrick Graham, who has only a year of play-calling experience.
Judge hired each of these coaches because he was convinced of their ability to teach and motivate players. Here are some other thoughts I offered about the coaching staff.
Seth Weissman asks: I understand it’s still early in the game, but if the draft were to occur tomorrow, do you think (1) teams would be approaching the Giants to swap picks because of their #4 slot and if so, (2) do you think DG would trade down? Obviously, the team still has many needs, so it seems like a no-brainer to me that if they can get two or three more picks within the first few rounds and still get one of the top offensive tackles, they should do it.
Ed says: Seth, this comes up a lot — and will continue to come up all the way to draft day. You’re fooling yourself if you think that GMs around the league aren’t already having those discussions informally. They will know well in advance which teams might be willing to move and under what circumstances.
Yes, I think teams will approach the Giants. They probably already are feeling out the situation to see if Gettleman is willing. Yes, I think he would trade down. Just because he never has doesn’t mean he won’t. That doesn’t mean he will trade down — it depends on the organization’s evaluations of the players. If Gettleman and Joe Judge believe there is a clear choice at No. 4 that they would regret passing up, they will stay put. If there is a range of 4-5 players they feel good about and they can move down a couple of spots and still get one of those guys that is the time you make that move.
Trading down a couple of spots is a scenario I would like very much, but I’m not the one evaluating and grading the players.
Bruce Frazer asks: One key position the Giants will need to address this off season is backup quarterback. Writers covering the team have speculated names from Andy Dalton to Marcus Mariota to Blake Bottles and all the journeyman in-between! Do you have a “gut feeling” as to how the Giants will look to fill the backup QB role?
Ed says: Bruce, funny you should ask. I had Mark Schofield come up with a list of options for that role, and he came up with most of the bigger names. Dalton, Mariota, Blake Bortles, etc.
I don’t think the Giants will be looking at Dalton, Mariota, Ryan Tannehill or guys like that. I don’t think they want to go anywhere near the guys who still consider themselves NFL starters and are hoping/looking for a team that might really be willing to let them compete for playing time. Daniel Jones absolutely does not need someone looking over his shoulder.
I believe the Giants will bring in a lower-tier backup, choosing from the guys who may still have something to offer on the field but have accepted that they are backup quarterbacks. We’re talking about Trevor Siemian, Matt Moore, A.J. McCarron, Chase Daniel and maybe Case Keenum at the top end of that spectrum. Someone in that ilk, and there are plenty of other names who could fit that description. I’m guessing, but I think Alex Tanney might get the chance to compete, as well.
The following questions come from our Facebook users:
pmurf31 asks: Did they overhaul the training and conditioning staff?
Ed says: No, they did not. Why would they? Aaron Wellman has been strength and conditioning coach since 2016, serving under both Ben McAdoo and Pat Shurmur. He’s highly-respected and the Giants are long past the stretch of seasons during which they were among the NFL’s most-injured teams. They did add Sam Coad as an assistant to Wellman.
parenti9 asks: For QB2 position, Tanney, draft or free agency?
Ed says: I’ve answered this one before, but I will go through it again. I’d guess that Alex Tanney will be brought back and given an opportunity to compete. I’m fine with that. I would also think the Giants find a quarterback in free agency they believe can be a capable backup. I don’t know if Joe Judge will want two quarterbacks or three on his 53-man roster. I think using a draft pick on a quarterback in the middle to late rounds is a waste of a pick that the Giants simply cannot afford.
Gerald McCall asks: Do you think bringing in Thuney and shifting Zeitler to center greatly improves our OL. Or is it really all about the OTs?
Ed says: Gerald, I think it’s about offensive tackle and center for the Giants. That said, I think trying to move Kevin Zeitler to center (a move I know good friend Pat Traina of Giants Country favors) is an awful idea. Zeitler is a creature of habit who has probably done millions of reps (both in practice and on his own time) working on the techniques and footwork required to do his job at guard. Asking him to move to center and start over after a lifetime of repping at guard is, in my view, a massive mistake. LEAVE HIM ALONE. Get a right tackle. Get a developmental left tackle. Draft a center in the middle rounds and let him compete with Nick Gates for that job. That’s how I would handle the line.
Brian Hyman asks: Why is Dave Gettleman reluctant to trade down obtaining more draft picks which seems the conventional smart choice as Giants had many positions to improve last few drafts?
Ed says: Brian, it is absolutely true that in all of the drafts Gettleman has run as GM of the Giants and Carolina Panthers he has never traded down. HIs M.O. has been to acquire picks and use them to trade up and target players he feels strongly about.
I’m not going to try to analyze the drafts he ran in Carolina. I will, though, discuss the two he has run with the Giants.
There is without doubt an argument to be made that the Giants would have been better served by trading down in 2018 rather than using the No. 2 overall pick on Saquon Barkley. If the Giants weren’t taking a quarterback it’s what I would have preferred they had done. Gettleman, though, felt Barkley was one of the two best players he had scouted in more than 30 years (the other being Peyton Manning). He was taking him no matter what. It’s not what I would have done, but Barkley is a phenomenal player and having him as a Giant isn’t exactly a bad thing.
In 2019, the Giants were sold on Daniel Jones as their quarterback of the future. You don’t screw around when you need to draft a quarterback and have an opportunity to get the guy you want. Gettleman and Pat Shurmur wanted Jones, and in 2019 he made them look right.
Now, the upcoming draft right now feels like the perfect opportunity for the Giants to trade down a couple of spots and gain extra picks. If I was GM and the Dolphins, Chargers or Panthers (the three teams selecting right behind the Giants) wanted to move up I would listen to their offer. That said, you have to have a dance partner and you have to be comfortable moving down and not feel like you are giving up on a chance to get a player you love.
In this case, there are enough options that I believe it’s a move worth making. Will Gettleman and Joe Judge feel the same way? I don’t know.