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Valentine’s Views: Progressive Giants, fans in the stands, preseason games, more

A few things I’m thinking about today

New York Giants Introduce New Head Coach Joe Judge
MetLife /Stadium seats could remain empty in 2020.
Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

I hope everyone is enjoying their Fourth of July Weekend, and doing it safely for both yourself and anyone around you. Some random things to discuss, both New York Giants and NFL-related.

Hannah Burnett Giants’ first female scout

I have been asked a few times this offseason if or when the Giants would hire a female assistant coach, as a handful of teams have done. I had no real way of answering that question, but honestly did not expect to see the Giants hire a woman in an important scouting or staffing role this offseason. Which they have now done.

In case you missed it, the Giants have named Hannah Burnett as Midlands regional scout.

Burnett told the team website that she does not want to be seen as a trailblazer.

“I try not to think about that,” she said. “I completely understand and am aware that this is an awesome opportunity, and it’s important for females in the league. But I’ve said this from the get-go, I just want to be the best area scout that I can. I want to go in there like everyone else goes in there and go about my business like a pro. Everything else will work itself out if I go about my business the right way. For me, that’s my mindset. It’s always been my mindset. I’m just continuing to stay on that course.”

Burnett has been working in the Atlanta Falcons’ scouting department for roughly a year-and-a-half.

The Giants also added Courtney Kennedy, a former data analytics intern, as a football data analyst.

Progressive stuff from the Giants. Surprise, surprise.

How many preseason games?

A week or so ago, we were told that the NFL would shorten the preseason from four games to two. Well, the NFL Players Association never signed off on that, and now we’re being told the NFLPA doesn’t want its members to have to play any preseason games at all due to the health risks associated with COVID-19.

The NFLPA has also apparently laid out a proposed schedule for a training camp without games.

Giants coach Joe Judge is sensitive to the idea that players will need to be built up differently than in past years, both because of the lack of spring practices and the fact that not all players have been able to do full, consistent workouts.

Here is what Judge told me in a recent 1-on-1 interview:

“We’ve got guys who have full home gyms and we’ve got guys who are doing pushups and sit-ups in their apartment. Everyone’s on a different situation how they could train. I think we have to keep that in mind this year that it’s similar to 2011 in that we didn’t have a spring, and it’s very different physically in terms of how the players have been able to take care of themselves.

“We have to as coaches be smart about the positions we put these guys into to make sure that they can acclimate healthy and then stay on the field. That’s the biggest thing. They’re all going to come in with a lot of adrenaline and urgency. We have to make sure as coaches we put them in the right position that we don’t put them vulnerable to injuries.

“There’s just things you miss as an athlete when you miss spring, when you miss working against each other in a competitive level. It’s a lot of the reactionary movements. We have to make sure we build our players up physically to put them in position to compete at a full speed tempo with these reactionary movements and be able to do it effectively and be able to do it safely.”

Still, I wonder if 21 days of pure strength and conditioning is excessive. Especially without games and with so many unpadded practices it is going to be extremely difficult for coaches to allow players to actively compete for available spots. My initial thought is that opportunities for players to impress coaches are going to be extremely limited. Maybe I’ll be wrong, but that could lead to deserving players getting overlooked.

Also, the three days of medical/equipment points out the odd reality that players have not been at the facility yet. They have not met in person, have not gone through physicals, and have not even been fitted for their helmets.

Strange times.

Sorry, fans!

I have wondered if the idea some teams have floated of allowing a limited number of fans into stadiums in viable. Drs. Zach Binney and Jill Weatherhead recently convinced that it’s absolutely not.

In case you missed it, here is what Weatherhead said on that topic.

Generally I don’t think there is an ethical way to have everybody come back and do normal activities, including fans in stadiums, until there is a vaccine available and until there are therapeutic options available. It is very dangerous to bring large groups of people who are yelling and screaming in close contact with each other both in the stadium and coming in and leaving the stadium. It is a recipe for a major outbreak to occur until there are interventions available including therapeutic interventions including vaccinations available it’s not responsible to do that.

“... this virus is completely out of control right now ... it would be irresponsible to bring fans into stadiums.”

“I also think we’re coming up with all of these plans and contingencies of how we can get fans in the stadium and there are communities out there that are really suffering right now. It’s difficult to hear arguments of getting fans into stadiums when our hospital systems are overflowing and people are dying and getting very sick from this disease. I am in full support of leagues getting together and coming up with plans, but I think the first step is get the players playing, let’s see how things go, let’s see where this pandemic goes before we start bringing the community members into the stadium and putting them at risk.

“If we want sports to get going again we have to start without fans and eventually once things get under control, because this virus is completely out of control right now, maybe we can start having those discussions. At this point I think it would be irresponsible to bring fans into stadiums.”

I know you guys want to go to games. I want to go to games and practices, too, and that probably isn’t going to happen. I’m not happy about that, mostly because it will affect the quality of coverage we’re able to bring you here at Big Blue View.

I do not want this to become a political discussion, but my bottom line is that Binney and Weatherhead are 100 percent correct that we have to remember the context. This isn’t just about football. It’s about keeping as many people as safe as we possibly can. In the grand scheme of things, being alive and being healthy is a heckuva lot more important than being able to go to a football game. Or a concert. Or a restaurant. Or wherever.

New name for Washington

The Redskins won’t be the Redskins much longer. And that’s probably a good thing. Even if Daniel Snyder is only doing it so he doesn’t lose sponsors. There are times when political correctness is over the top, and I’ll be honest that the Redskins moniker never offended me. There are bigger things in life to worry about than team names.

But, this change is probably long overdue.