It’s Saturday, which means time for the Big Blue View Mailbag. Which is, actually, probably more reliable these days than your regular mail delivery. So, here we go.
Jeffrey Rossetti asks: Has there been any recent info on how Kyle Murphy is progressing We’ve seen info on his character, that he was a team captain, played multiple positions on the line and consistently works on his craft - it makes for real potential. I’m rooting for him to develop more and play his way onto the 53 man roster next season. Any insight on how Murph is progressing?
Ed says: Jeffrey, No and we’re not likely to hear much. Murphy almost exclusively played right guard in training camp, and is on the practice squad. His name never comes up, and to be honest I don’t go to regular season practices at this point because reporters see about 15 minutes and then do Zoom calls. I’m not spending five hours in the car for 15 minutes. Unless there are injuries, I’m betting Murphy spends the entire year on the practice squad.
Wayne Mirsky asks: If the unthinkable happens and somehow the Giants wind up with the first draft pick next year, would you take Trevor Lawrence or trade the pick for a team in need of a franchise QB and receive a haul for Lawrence ?
Obviously if that happened unless he got injured, Daniel Jones was not the answer. I know it is way, way too early for that but just curious your response.
Ed says: Wayne, you’re absolutely right. It is waaaaaay too early for that. We have to see how the year plays out and how Jones plays before we can even consider that. My advice to Giants fans — root for Jones, and root for the Giants to supplement Jones rather than even think about Lawrence. Do you really want to start over? Again.
Michael Carroll asks: I’m sure this has come up often but I’ll bring it up anyway: why is Evan Engram still being used at TE? We hear Joe Judge and Jason Garrett say that Engram wants to be a complete TE and is a willing blocker. Problem is he isn’t a complete TE because he can’t block. Pure and simple. And as far as willingness to block – I don’t buy it. I’ve seen too many games where that last thing Engram wanted to do is stick his nose in a defenders chest and throw a block.
Engram has the speed, hands and athleticism to be a WR and would be a tough matchup against just about any DB in the league. There have been players with similar size playing outside receiver (Brandon Marshall, Andre Johnson, Calvin Johnson, Anquon Boldin, Julio Jones, DK Metcalf - to name a few) so why continue underutilize this kid at TE? Move him outside while he’s still young, (currently) healthy and able to adapt to the position fairly quickly. I really doubt he would object to the move.
Ed says: Michael, I wish Giants fans would stop with this. But, I know they won’t. Engram is being used as a tight because, guess what, he’s a tight end.
Engram is a guy who is a matchup nightmare for linebackers and strong safeties because of his size and speed. He has no experience getting off a jam as a wide receiver, there is no evidence he can do that, and using him that way takes away a tremendous matchup advantage for the offense. And NFL offenses are all about finding matchup advantages.
Evan Engram is not a wide receiver. Period. I can’t be any more clear than that. He’s on his third NFL coaching staff. None have moved him. That should tell you that NFL coaches don’t think he is a wide receiver.
He also does not want to be a wide receiver. I have been in media sessions with Engram where he has been asked about that, and he always says he considers himself a tight end.
Now, does it frustrate me to see the Giants do dumb things like ask him to block T.J. Watt 1-on-1? Absolutely. I know Joe Judge and Jason Garrett are in their first seasons with the Giants. There is, though, three years worth of film screaming that asking Engram to be a lead blocker or to block quality edge rushers is a bad idea. Garrett has seen him play enough to know he isn’t a good blocker. Judge is smart enough to figure out that’s not using him to his strength.
I have said it before, but I just don’t get why coach after coach continues to ask Engram to do things he isn’t good at.
As for wide receiver, though, just stop. That takes away the primary advantage having a player like Engram gives you, which is stressing linebackers and safeties.
Bruce Frazer asks: What’s up with Evan Engram? He didn’t look good against the Steelers. Is he injured, or out of sync with the new system? Also, how many games will Jason Garrett go with Cam Fleming, if Cam continues to have games like he did against the Steelers?
Ed says: Bruce, Engram had a bad game. It’s not the first bad game he’s had in four seasons. It won’t be the last of his career. It happens. I’m not making any more of it than that. As for Cameron Fleming, he wasn’t worse than anyone else on the line. Nick Gates, Will Hernandez and Kevin Zeitler weren’t good, either. They can’t all be replaced. This coaching staff has a lot of faith in Fleming. Judge saw him play well in New England. Jason Garrett and Marc Colombo had success with him in Dallas. The alternative to Fleming is Matt Peart, who every evaluator I spoke to over the last few months says is a guy who would really benefit from not being rushed into NFL action.
Pataroons asks: Last week you confessed that you “always hated” when someone turned your signature question against you - ‘which player from the opponent would you like to put on your own team?’ I revel in knowing I have caused you such pain in prior mailbags and I am eager to bring you continued discomfort.
First, the question requires some BBV history...
2007- Osi Umenyiora was a hot name.
2009-2010- Chris Snee was a common selection
2011- Jason Pierre-Paul
2014- ‘NOT NAMED’ Odell Beckham, Jr.
2019- ‘NOT NAMED’ Saquon Barkley
Question: Which young Giants do you foresee applying the exclusive ‘NOT NAMED’ tag in upcoming years, and why?
Ed says: Dude, you’re going to have to try harder to cause me pain. Try making a federal case out of one of my typos or trying to bait me on Twitter by making a stupid comment. Those will work. This? Nah.
To answer the question, the only guy who might enter into “NOT NAMED’ territory is Daniel Jones. If, of course, he becomes the kind of quarterback you can win championships with. I would be surprised, though, if for the next couple of years anyone other than Saquon Barkley gets that tag.