clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Big Blue View mailbag: Where it all went wrong, and what could have been done differently

The mail’s here!

A full week fo what passes for training camp in 2020 is now in the books. Let’s see what questions you have about the New York Giants as we open this week’s Big Blue View Mailbag.

Tom Vayda asks: How meaningful will stats be this season with so many top players opting out? Will a Super Bowl win mean as much?

Ed says: Tom, no one is going to give back a Super Bowl victory. Whatever form the season takes, if a Super Bowl winner is crowned it will mean what it always means — that team is the champion. Now, could you denigrate it if there is only a partial season or COVID-19 outbreaks impact the playoffs or Super Bowl? Absolutely. Some will do so. Some won’t. I think we have to wait before we judge that question. Is a full season played? A 12-game season? An 8-game season?

As for statistics, I feel pretty much the same way. Teams will play, numbers will be compiled, they won’t have an asterisk next to them saying “COVID-19 season, 67 number of players opted out.” Sure, you could argue that if the quality of rosters isn’t up to normal NFL standards anything that happens is cheapened. If Saquon Barkley has a 2,000-yard season, though, I doubt a lot of Giants fans will worry about who wasn’t on opposing defenses.

Honestly, I guess how anyone sees the numbers or the outcome is a personal choice. I can’t even tell you for certain how I will view any of it until I see it unfold.

Matt McCarty asks: Since Dave Gettleman has come back to New York he has made it known that he trusts his player evaluations and drafts for talent over need and in some cases positional value, but he owns his approach and I respect that. As a fan I was satisfied with both the selection of Andrew Thomas and the play of Daniel Jones last year, BUT with the Giants on the clock there was a SMALL part of me that thought, it would be awesome if Dave Gettleman stood behind his words and took Tua, the most talented player left on the board and a widely-regarded elite QB prospect. I realize there were some serious extenuating circumstances, but part of being a fan is being able to hope irrationally sometimes.

My question, there has been a clear lineage of GMs, Young to Accorsi to Reese to Gettleman, all part of a Giants way of thinking that, with the exception of Reese, has appeared, from an outside perspective, reluctant to change. I realize player evaluation is a very inexact science, but as someone who has intently followed the team for 10+ years what change(s) would you make to the Giants way of thinking that you think would have made them more competitive in the modern NFL over the past 8 years?

Ed says: Matt, let me just say that irrational would have been a good way to describe your thinking if you really were hoping the Giants would draft Tua Tagovailoa. In your view, he was the most talented player on the board. In the view of the Miami Dolphins, picking at No. 5, he was the right choice for them. For the Giants? A year after spending the No. 6 overall pick on Daniel Jones, who showed a lot of promise last year? Nope.

The main part of your question, though, is really about the over-arching reasons for the failures of the Giants since winning the 2011 Super Bowl. Let’s talk about that.

Some might be thinking “Oh, here goes Ed about to bash Jerry Reese for the 800th time.” I’m not going to do that. There is also a theory in some quarters that the Giants held on too long to an antiquated way of evaluating players, that they didn’t really change what they looked for as the game changed. I’m not really buying that, either. The other thing I’m not going to do is nitpick and say, well they should have picked this player over that one in a couple of circumstances.

Here is what I will say. Giants coach Joe Judge absolutely nailed it the other day when he said a key part of team-building is common ground across all layers of the football operation. Here is his quote:

“We have a very good working relationship across all aspects. Personnel, coaching, support staff, we are making sure we are all on the same message going forward. We talk on a daily basis about personnel. We talk on a daily basis about what’s going on in the rest of the league, whether it’s the waiver wire or maybe different calls that have come our way. It’s a natural part of the NFL. There’s a lot of talk of personnel, especially this time of the year. We have a great working relationship. I’m very pleased with how it’s going. We have the same vision for how we want to take this team and how we want to make it up, how we want to build it.”

The key words? “Same vision.”

I believe that somewhere along the way the visions of Reese and Tom Coughlin diverged. That led to times when Coughlin was handed players he didn’t want. It may also have led to times when Reese acquired players he would rather have stayed away from.

That divergence had to be apparent to ownership, and I think I would have liked to have seen it addressed before it dragged the franchise down.

Even last year as the season went south there were traces of unhappiness from Pat Shurmur about personnel decisions. Nothing specific, but he often made reference to how young the Giants were and sometimes talked about having to actually play practice squad-level players.

I also think that if perhaps some complacency had set in among veteran scouts, something else you hear from time to time, I would have tried to address that earlier. It appears to be something Gettleman has tried to address the personnel department over the past couple of years.

There is one hard, probably controversial, decision I would likely have made along the way. I have believed for a lot of years that the Giants thought they could fix things by making incremental changes. A coordinator here. Some personnel there. A new head coach while keeping the personnel staff.

I thought the Giants had an opportunity for a fresh start after the 2015 season. They pushed Coughlin out, but not the GM or the quarterback. My view has always been that would have been the time to push the reset button, make the clean sweep and start over. Had they done so, and gotten the decisions correct on replacements, they could be ahead of where they are now.

Ed says: A Twitter question! We haven’t used one of these in a while. Steve, regardless of 80- or 90-man roster I think the veteran guys you would consider “bubble” players for the Giants are the same.

Running back Wayne Gallman might get pushed by undrafted free agent Javon Leake. Cornerback Grant Haley could start in the slot, or end up getting cut. Depth guys like quarterback Alex Tanney, offensive lineman Chad Slade and safety Sean Chandler could get pushed off the roster.