As we roll along in the NFL offseason we have reached another Saturday. Whgich means it’s time to see what is in the Big Blue View Mailbag.
J.P. LaVine asks: This past week you stated that determining if the Giants had the right head coach and quarterback in place was essentially what this season boils down to. While Daniel Jones is not a rookie, this season seems to find the franchise in a similar state as the 2004 NY Giants team. My question for you is, how would you have answered these questions at the end of the 2004 season. I was in 6th grade at the time, and although a lifelong fan, that was probably the first season I truly followed and I didn’t have a benchmark or lens to assess those questions myself. I personally only remember jumping for joy when Tiki scored that final TD to beat the Cowboys. Would love to hear your thoughts!
Ed says: J.P., thanks for the question. That’s sooo long ago now, and I wasn’t covering the Giants then. When i think back on it, though, it seems like the franchise was in much the same place. If they were going to win big, Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin had to establish themselves as the right quarterback and head coach. After 2004, they hadn’t done that yet. As we know, that actually took a few more seasons. It’s a reminder, incidentally, that sometimes patience pays off,.
Sukhy Hare asks: Among all these Josh Gordon rumors, why is nobody talking about the Giants adding Dez Bryant?? He clearly has ties with Jason Garrett, would compliment Darius Slayton well (as another tall big man receiver), and would have less cultural concerns than Gordon.
Ed says: Better question — why would anyone talk about adding Bryant? You’re talking about a guy who will turn 32 this season, and who has not played in the NFL since 2017. That is not the kind of player you add to a young, developing team. You are better off — far better off in my view — giving snaps to a player like Corey Coleman or another young player with a future. Not one who is trying to recapture a past — and almost certainly won’t be able to do so.
Adam Klestinec asks: Quick question about the leadership of the Giants. Has there been a guy who looks as if he is going to be the leader of that locker room? I understand Daniel Jones as QB has a high probability of that but usually guys in the past for the Giants on defense have been that role. If no clear cut player looks like the leader at this time, then do you think any of the guys on the team show signs that the rest of the team look to them for their leadership?
Ed says: Adam, it seems like I have answered this one before. The leader of the locker room is Saquon Barkley. He was last year and that’s not changing. He will be joined there by Daniel Jones. The franchise is in the hands of those two young men. They are the leaders, and the most important players. I really don’t think there is any argument about that.
Ryan Perry asks: Assuming that games are played this season, how sloppy and undisciplined do you anticipate play will be across the entire league, given reduced offseason activities and preseason games? Logically teams with rookie head coaches would be at a disadvantage here. Any thoughts on what Joe Judge can do to address this?
Ed says: Ryan, that’s a good question. As it is, with how little work guys do in pads and how little they play in the preseason to begin with, we generally don’t see great play the first few weeks of a normal season.
This is, of course, anything but a “normal” season. If it will be a season at all. The lack of practice reps, lack of on-field time for coaches to install and instruct in how they want things done, the increasing likelihood that there will be a limited number of preseason games will all impact player readiness.
I haven’t even mentioned the likelihood that we’ll see players miss more time with muscle pulls and smaller injuries because of the lack of on-field time and the inability to train normally. Oh, and we haven’t even mentioned the fact that there could be swaths of players on teams who won’t be available because of the virus. Which means teams could be fielding depleted rosters.
I think Joe Judge has done everything he can virtually to ensure his team knows the playbook. When I talked to him he was fully cognizant of the idea that he has to be careful not to overextend players before they are ready, and thus get them hurt.
I’m not sure what else you can do. You coach, teach, practice the best you can. This is uncharted territory and there is no manual for how to do it right.
Wayne Mirsky asks: What if they had to cancel the NFL season because of COVID-19. What would the draft positions be like in 2021? Would the Bengals still get the first pick? Could you imagine the haul they could get for the rights to Trevor Lawrence, the Clemson QB, from a team that needs a franchise QB? What would the Giants be looking for at number 5 again?
Ed says: Wayne, let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. Though, I will admit that late this week is the first time I really allowed myself to think that the season might not happen — at least not in full.
As for the draft, I don’t know what the league would do. By the way, the Giants picked fourth — not fifth. They could just roll with the same order as the 2020 draft. Maybe they would think outside the box and do something like a draft lottery. That would be fun.
I don’t think we know what the league might do in that circumstance, though I would like to see them think outside the box if they faced that situation. There is lots of time to figure that out. First, they have to figure out whether or not they can have some semblance of a season.
As for Trevor Lawrence, I’d think you might be able to get a king’s ransom. Perhaps multiple first-round picks.
The Giants? I couldn’t tell you. To be honest, I haven’t got a clue who the players are in the next draft class. It’s way too early for me to worry about. If that draft was being held now, though, my educated guess is that wide receiver and pass rusher would be extremely high on the priority list.
Joseph Barreiro asks: What are the options when/if Rosas is cut or suspended?
Ed says: Joseph, obviously we don’t know what will happen with Aldrick Rosas after hw was recently charged in a hit-and-run accident where alcohol may have been involved.
There aren’t many name brand kickers available in free agency right now. Stephen Gostkowski, Nick Folk, and Ryan Succop are names most NFL fans know. The Giants could sign one of them.
They could look at undrafted free agents or young guys whose names we don’t know. That’s how they found Rosas, a former NAIA kicker, in the first place.
By my count, there are also 12 teams with more than one placekicker on their 90-man roster. So, the Giants could hold a training camp competition and, if they aren’t satisfied with what they have, look to pick up a kicker when teams trim their rosters.
Bruce Frazer asks: Given the lack of a spring training program due to the COVID shutdown will it be possible for a rookie such as McKinney to step in and start the season next to Jabrill Peppers? Some positions lend themselves more favorably to a rookie starting with limited experience but safety involves a lot of nuances that take more time and practice to become baseline proficient in.
Ed says: Bruce, I’m not worried about front-line rookies like Xavier McKinney or Andrew Thomas. Nick Saban said McKinney was tasked at Alabama with pretty what he’ll do for the Giants. Thomas should be fine. He’s got experience on both sides, and he’ll be comfortable.
It’s the guys who would compete for roles in sub-packages and spots at the bottom of the 53-man roster that I worry about. How do you get those players enough snaps to give them a chance to compete and to adequately judge them?