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Big Blue View mailbag: Louis Riddick, Matt Peart, Dave Gettleman, more

The mail’s here!

Let’s open this week’s Big Blue View Mailbag and see what is on the minds of New York Giants fans as we await Sunday’s Week 12 game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Andre Banks asks: If the Giants and Gettleman do part ways (hopefully) after the season is over would Louis Riddick be an option this time around?

Ed says: I honestly don’t know if the Giants, or Riddick, would want to go back down that road. Riddick has not interviewed for GM jobs in the last couple of hiring cycles, so perhaps that ship has sailed.

What I do know is that should the Giants move on from Dave Gettleman they cannot simply turn the job over to assistant GM Kevin Abrams. They simply have to cast a wide net and bring in someone from the outside who will honestly evaluate both the assembled talent and the way the Giants scout and go about roster construction.

Douglas Mollin asks: If we all know the shortcomings you outlined in your “4 things” story on the offense, I assume Jason Garrett knew them too.

And if we assume Garrett was not out to sabotage the team (and his career) why would he make these poor decisions in game planning and play calling?

Any of these make sense to you?

  • He can’t run his playbook because of the crappy OL and the injuries. He’s adjusting to the lack of talent on the team.
  • Judge, conservative by nature it seems, has his imprint on the game plan, i.e., Garrett is running the conservative offense Judge wants.
  • Garrett is simply not that good at being an OC. He should not have come back this season but because Mara likes him and the Giants crave continuity, the OC with the 31st ranked offense came back.

Ed says: Douglas, let me take each of these three points one at a time.

  • The playbook: There is a lot of validity to your statement. Look at the numbers and the Giants’ passing attack became ultra-conservative once Andrew Thomas got hurt and the receiving corps was decimated. In the first four games, there was at least an effort to throw mid-range or deeper passes.
  • Joe Judge: Bottom line is the coordinators are there to implement the vision of the head coach. The coordinators don’t tell the head coach how the game is going to be played, the head coach makes that choice and the coordinators execute it. The head coach wants it played close to the vest, that’s how it gets played. If he wants things opened up, they get opened up.
  • Jason Garrett: In the days before he was a head coach, Garrett was a successful coordinator. That was a long time ago in NFL years. I supported the idea of giving Garrett a second season with Daniel Jones to see if the continuity would help Jones take a step forward. It just didn’t work. Garrett is/was responsible for that, and justifiably took the fall. One thing that bothers me with the Giants, though, is that there are a lot of cooks in the kitchen. You had Freddie Kitchens looking over Garrett’s shoulder. All season, he has basically been ‘offensive coordinator in waiting.’ You have Judge believing he is an expert on everything. You have had four coaches with their hands in the offensive line pie. I sometimes wonder if one reason the Giants’ offense looks like they are shooting darts and hoping is that there are so many voices tossing in suggestions.

Jeff Newman asks: Ed, why in the world is Nate Solder STILL starting and playing over Matt Peart? It makes NO sense! For argument’s sake, let’s say their level of play is on par with one another at this point in their careers. Solder isn’t getting any better, but Peart may/should improve with experience. Solder won’t be back next year. Shouldn’t the Giants be evaluating Peart to determine if he can be their right tackle moving forward or if they need to address RT in next year’s draft/free agency? They drafted Peart as a developmental player with high upside. The best way to evaluate and develop him is by playing him. I know from following your work that we agree on this, but have you asked the Giants about this yet? Can you explain what the heck they are thinking?

Ed says: Jeff, I feel your pain on this one. I 100 percent agree that Matt Peart should be at right tackle. In my view, he should have been at right tackle Week 1 even if he did struggle at times during training camp. He should have been at right tackle every week and every snap that Andrew Thomas has been at left tackle. He should be at right tackle the rest of the season.

I will be shocked, though, if that is what happens.

I have, and other media members have, in a variety of ways asked about Peart and Solder. It’s not going to get us anywhere if we say “Hey, Joe, what’s the point of playing Solder and benching Peart?” So, we probe for how Joe Judge and the Giants feel about Peart in gentler ways.

The most direct answer I can give you is this: Judge worked with Solder in New England for a long time. He saw Solder do a good job protecting Tom Brady’s blind side, and saw the Patriots do a lot of winning with Solder at left tackle. He has a ton of respect for him. Rightly or wrong, he still has belief in him as a player. With Peart, the impression I get is that this coaching staff doesn’t truly believe in him.

Even though he, at times, did a good job as a rookie the Giants preferred journeyman Cameron Fleming. This year, at the first sign of the kid struggling they benched him for Solder rather than let him work through it.

When Thomas missed the Week 5 game against Dallas, Peart played right tackle and Solder moved to the left side. He surrendered one pressure in 44 pass-blocking snaps. The day after the game I asked Judge what he thought of Peart’s performance and he said Peart had done “a decent job.”

One pressure in 44 pass-blocking snaps is better than decent. When given the opportunity — or, when the Giants have been forced to play him this season — Peart has done fine. Not great, but fine. He has a respectable 65.4 Pro Football Focus grade overall (60.8 as a pass blocker, dragged down by an awful game vs. the Raiders) and 67.2 as a run blocker. His pass-blocking efficiency score of 96.0 isn’t great, but it roughly equates to Solder’s 95.7.

Judge says all the time that he always has the long-term in mind. If we believe that, then the only thing I can surmise is this Giants staff has already determined that Peart is not their long-term answer at right tackle.

I have doubts that will change over the next seven games because the Giants need to win a decent number if Judge is going to be guaranteed a long-term future of his own with the team. He will want the guys on the field that he trusts.

To be honest, I hope I’m completely wrong about this one and that Peart is in the lineup Sunday against the Eagles.

Douglas asks: When do you estimate that Dave Gettleman will be dismissed or resign? Will the Giants be behind the eight ball if they wait to the end of the season?

Ed says: Douglas, I honestly have no idea. I think it’s highly unlikely that Gettleman is back next season, but I think the idea that the organization will be “behind the eight ball” in a search for a new GM if they wait until season’s end to make a move is misplaced.

If the Giants are intending to move on from Dave, or already know he is intending to retire, you can bet that work is already ongoing behind the scenes to put together a list of candidates. There was a report that the Giants are putting out feelers to see who might be interested in talking to them about the job. That should surprise exactly no one. It would be managerial malpractice if the Giants suspected they would have a GM opening at season’s end, and they weren’t already researching potential candidates and trying to find out who might be open to talking with them.

As far as I can tell, while teams seeking new head coaches can now conduct virtual interviews during the last two weeks of the regular season, executives employed by other teams cannot be interviewed for GM jobs until the regular season is over. So, if the Giants want a wide candidate pool of talented executives currently working in the league, they have to wait until the season is over.

When the Giants hired Gettleman, they interviewed both Gettleman and Riddick in-season because neither was working for a team at the time.

Ken Julian asks: Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. Longtime Giants fan. Appreciate your work. Can you please describe the advantages of the 3-4 defense vs. the 4-3? When the Giants had players like Taylor and Banks on the edges and Carsons and Reasons on the inside, in other words all-pro caliber LBs, the 3-4 seemed to work. Otherwise, it seems like such a size mismatch against tackles. It was so apparent to me watching Azeez go against Wirth (Wirfs?). On top of that, it seems inconsistent that the Giants have de-emphasized LBs (wasn’t Parsons perfect for the 3-4?) in their personnel decisions while favoring this scheme. Thanks for your thoughts on this.

Ed says: Ken, If you really want to dissect the 3-4 vs. 4-3, you should check out our ‘Summer School’ series [Understanding the 4-3 | Understanding the 3-4].

In general in the 3-4, you try to align your defensive ends, like Leonard Williams or Dexter Lawrence against the tackles. Many times you will see the Giants aligned with two or four down linemen, in which case the “edge’ guys may be lined up directly over a tackle.

From Sports Info Solutions, here is the breakdown of Giants’ defensive personnel groupings so far this season and where they rank league-wide:

Truth is, every defense is now a hybrid of some sort. Teams use two, three and four defensive linemen and an ever-changing number of defensive backs to match up based on the down and distance and the personnel the offense is using.

When you really think about it, teams all across the league have de-emphasized the linebacker spot. In reality, edge and linebacker are two different spots now. Linebackers are the guys who are always coming off the field. Usually only one linebacker plays all three downs, so it makes sense in a lot of ways not to pour a ton of resources into the position. Why would you do that if you are always going to be taking the guy off the field?

As for Parsons, I acknowledged months ago that he was the best defensive player in the draft. I’m not shocked at how well he is rushing the passer. I said he would be the best edge rusher to come out of the class if he was used that way.

The Giants chose to trade down and go in a different direction. They have acknowledged they knew how good Parsons was.