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Big Blue View mailbag: Position battles, Matt Rhule vs. Joe Judge, more questions

The mail’s here!

It’s Saturday, which means it’s time for the Big Blue View Mailbag. So, let’s open it up!

Marcus Mewborn asks: Is there [a] position battle on both offense and defense that you’ll be on the lookout for? Slot corner is one for me but any other positions you are eyeing?

Ed says: Marcus, in some ways I think we have written about much of this throughout the offseason. But, I will give you a couple.

On offense, I think the obvious one is the center position. Will the Giants think Jon Halapio, rehabbing from an Achilles tendon tear, is healthy enough to be re-signed and given a chance? With the limited practice time, will they just hand the job to Spencer Pulley, the only experienced center on the current roster? Will Nick Gates get a real chance to win the job?

On defense, slot is interesting. I think the Giants end up mixing and matching and a number of players pass in and out of there. The other thing that interests me is the development of the edge guys — Lorenzo Carter, Kyler Fackrell, Oshane Ximines. Also, does Markus Golden end up returning to the team?

Austin Willis asks: How do you, Ed, personally feel about all the changes the Giants have made this offseason? Are you excited? Worried? Skeptically optimistic? I was pretty disappointed when the Giants didn’t land Matt Rhule, but Joe Judge instantly won me over with his passion and intentionality. I think he’s assembled a great supporting coaching staff around him and, to me, it really feels like the Giants are on the right track.

Ed says: Austin, it’s interesting. I would never say “excited” as that would be a fan reaction. I grew up a Giants fan, but I’ve written about this team every day, often multiple times a day, for more than 13 years now. To be honest, I long ago put away the “fan” card. I try to do this job as objectively and analytically — as professionally — as I can.

That said, let’s talk about the specifics of the question.

It will be fascinating to see how Rhule and Judge develop as head coaches — and there may always be a “what if Rhule had come to the Giants?” backdrop. Still, if Rhule had really wanted the job I think he could have had it. I think what we learned was he felt like he was holding the cards and he wasn’t necessarily after the Giants’ job. He was after the job that paid him the best and gave him the most authority/autonomy. That wasn’t the Giants.

There are good reasons to be optimistic about Judge. I have liked the way he has conducted himself thus far. The caveat, though, is that the Giants have not held a practice or played a game yet. We’ll see.

Do I think the Giants are on the right track? I think the first two Dave Gettleman draft classes have been a net positive. I like the emphasis (offensive line/defense) of the 2020 class. We just have to wait and see how they play. I like the fact that they emphasized adding to the defense in free agency. Did they sign the right players? We’ll know when the games are played.

So, yes, I think the Giants are on the right track. Question is, are they running a mile or a marathon? Fans hate the idea of having patience, but I think it’s closer to a marathon, and it’s going to take time to know for sure whether they are getting it right.

Keith Wilcox asks: If Baker is cleared and Golden is resigned, I would be cautiously optimistic about the Giants season. I don’t think they would make the playoffs but they would be much better than last year. A case could be made that from the coordinators on down the coaching is better on both sides of the ball. On offense, QB, RB and OL should be better with TE and WR staying roughly the same. On defense I feel that every position would be better. Not to mention that there would be better depth in many positions compared to last year (except for WR). I know the Golden and Baker scenarios are big ifs but what do you think?

Ed says: Keith, I think two things. I think DeAndre Baker and Markus Golden are not going to make or break the Giants’ season. I also think they don’t play NFL games on paper, so whatever anyone thinks of what certain positions look like on paper in the middle of June doesn’t really matter.

As I said in the answer above, I would make the argument that the Giants are on the right track in a lot of ways. Yes, you can argue on paper that there have been improvements in certain places.

Again, though, we’re dealing with a situation that has meant teams have yet to practice. A pandemic that raises questions about everything surrounding the season, from whether there really will be one to which players will be healthy enough to participate.

I think there is nothing about this season that can be predicted with any certainty, except that things are uncertain.