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Big Blue View mailbag, 8/29: What will the Giants do following the Xavier McKinney injury?

The mail’s here!

Good morning, New York Giants fans! Let’s open the Big Blue View Mailbag and see what questions you have today.

Ed says: Jason, this question comes up quite often. It’s a weird year with COVID-19 messing up how teams can prepare, something that is especially tough for a young team with a rookie head coach like the Giants.

Obviously, it would be nice to win, oh, seven games or more. I have often said, though, I don’t think that is what this season is about. I think this season is about figuring out whether Daniel Jones and Joe Judge are the right guys at quarterback and head coach. If the Giants come out of this season believing the answer is “yes” on both counts, then it’s a successful year. If you have those two pieces, the rest should fall into place.

Ed says: Kevin, initially I am pretty sure this means Julian Love will be at free safety. The question is do they trust Montre Hartage or Sean Chandler enough to use in three-safety packages. If they don’t want to go that way, who plays after Love, Jabrill Peppers, James Bradberry, Corey Ballentine and Darnay Holmes?

Judge has said the Giants will use as many as six defensive backs sometimes. Right now, I can’t tell you who the other one might be, though I will hazard a guess that defensive coordinator Patrick Graham might have more trust in Hartage than anyone else.

Jeff Newman asks: It has become apparent that Grant Haley is a very good tackler, but not good in coverage. Any talk about transitioning him from slot corner to safety? Box safety would take advantage of a strengths and minimize exposure to his weaknesses.

Ed says: Jeff, it’s funny that you mention that. I haven’t seen Haley work there and I have no idea if the Giants might consider him in a safety role, but our Chris Pflum has speculated about the idea. To me, Haley is too small for the box at 195 pounds. Playing at the line of scrimmage and dealing with offensive tackles and tight ends is a tough ask at that weight. Do they think he has the range to play free safety? Don’t know.

Bruce Frazer asks: Gosh another hit to the secondary. With McKinney’s status unknown for the foreseeable future, do the Giants “dip their toes” into what is left of the free agent market? In your opinion are there any free agent safeties still available worth looking at, or do they stick with the young and untested players they have in camp?

Ed says: Bruce, don’t forget that the Giants will likely soon add cornerbacks Brandon Williams and KeiVarae Russell to the roster. Both of those guys are currently. going through the testing protocol. Chris looked at guys left on the market who could play safety, and the only really intriguing players on the market are Logan Ryan and Tony Jefferson. If it makes financial sense the Giants might add someone. Or, they could wait until roster cuts are made in a week and see if anyone interesting hits the waiver wire.