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Big Blue View mailbag: Lack of preseason games, front office changes, more

The mail’s here!

As the New York Giants are beginning the long and winding process of getting ready for what they hope will be a 2020 NFL season we have reached another Saturday. Which means it is time once again to open up the always-entertaining Big Blue View Mailbag.

Wayne Mirsky asks: With the players union and the NFL agreeing to no preseason games, doesn’t that hurt a team like the Giants immensely; a team with a new head coach and new offensive and defensive coordinators? It seems this team is going to have to learn on the fly and we could see a disastrous start of the season for the Giants.

Ed says: Wayne, I addressed some of this in a recent column on ‘winners and losers’ from the decision to cancel preseason games.

I will repeat what I have said many times — yes, this entire situation hurts the Giants. They have a 38-year-old first-time head coach with new coordinators trying to install schemes. They have a second-year quarterback. They have a plethora of young players. Losing the spring is going to hurt. Losing the preseason is going to hurt. The uncertainty and limited practice that will take place in training camp is going to hurt.

This is an incredibly difficult situation for Joe Judge and the Giants. No one will — or should — offer them sympathy. I wouldn’t, though, expect miracles from Judge and the Giants this season.

Ray Kochert asks: With all the recent changes in the scouting department and reassigning some staff changes; my question is? What or who is driving this reorganization? Is it Dave Gettleman or ownership?

Ed says: Ray, the Giants aren’t going to say exactly why certain people have been replaced. what I know is this — Gettleman inherited a scouting and personnel staff that included many people he had worked with in his lengthy prior stint with the Giants. I’m sure he had a pretty good handle on who was, and was not, good at their job.

Now, some of the changes have been due to retirements. Forced retirements? I wouldn’t know. Some have been outright replacements. Gettleman changed the draft prospect grading system the Giants used when he took over as GM. I’m sure that the type of players the Giants are looking for with a new head coach have also changed. Some guys adapt, some don’t.

I have often heard from people I know that one of the issues with the Giants during this bad stretch of seasons is — in their view — that there were too many long-time front office people who were comfortable and perhaps not as productive as they once were.

Gettleman oversees all of that and the buck stops with him. So, is he driving the ongoing changes in personnel over the past couple of seasons? He’s the boss. I’d say he probably is.

Glenn Mausolf asks: Much has been made of Daniel Jones’ sacks and then fumbles. The same could be said about the uneven performance of the offensive line. Would it be possible to look at the fumbles and try to categorize them by which ones were due to his pocket awareness/inexperience/not getting rid of the ball fast enough or blown blocks by the offensive line? I’m curious, in your opinion, did the offensive line create those sacks into fumbles by not sustaining their blocks long enough or did Jones hold onto the ball too long beyond what should be expected by most offensive lines.

Ed says: Glenn, we have not gone sack by sack through the entire season. It is, however, safe to say that some of the 38 sacks Jones suffered in 13 games (12 starts) were the result of poor blocking. Some were his own fault for holding the ball too long. Same with the fumbles. A quarterback — every quarterback — is going to fumble sometimes. Too many of those fumbles, though, were Jones’ fault for either holding the ball too long or not protecting it.

You’ve made me wish now that I had asked Mark Schofield to go through every sack and assign blame — at least see how many of them Jones should have avoided.

There were a couple of times last season when I talked to offensive linemen after games in which Jones was sacked quite a bit, like the eight-sack game vs. the Arizona Cardinals, and you could sense the frustration with the young quarterback that they were trying to suppress.

Eli Manning used to say that every interception had its own story. That applies to every sack and every fumble, as well. The Giants’ offensive line wasn’t fantastic a year ago, but Jones brought a lot of his problems upon himself.

Marcus Mewborn asks: Back in 2017 draft the Giants went with Evan Engram with their first round pick. However I seem to remember that the Giants almost traded up to get Patrick Mahomes but instead the Chiefs traded up with the Bills and snagged him. If you can remember were Jerry Reese and Ben McAdoo serious about getting Mahomes as Eli’s successor? Or was it just really a rumor?

Ed says: Marcus, I’m not sure we will ever have a clear answer on that. There were conflicting reports at the time, one that they did attempt to trade up and one that they did not. The only thing I know for certain is that McAdoo attended Mahomes’ Pro Day, believed to be the first of those he had attended in four seasons with the Giants.