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Big Blue View mailbag: Justin Fields, training camp, more

The mail’s here!

The New York Giants have completed their first three days of training camp. The pace of those practices has been such that we haven’t learned a whole lot, but that will change. Regardless, let open the Big Blue View Mailbag.

Glen Boshart asks: Another question for the mailbag that I just don’t understand: why are the Giants moving on from Gallman when he had such a great year last year. I would suggest that he was one of if not the main reason the Giants were competitive in several of the games where they were competitive last year, and offers a perfect complement to Barkley’s running style because he doesn’t lose yards. Yet, they once again overpaid for an aging veteran that may not have not much left, and you have suggested the Giants may use a later round but still a valuable draft pick or sign another free agent RB before the season starts. Why not just stick with Gallman? Doesn’t seem like he would be very expensive – especially compared to the money they have given to other free agents – and he’s a proven commodity and played his heart out last year. Thus, once again I just don’t get it.

Ed says: Glen, I can’t give you an answer on that based on anything other than what I think. No one from the Giants has ever really given a reason. That said, he is an educated guess.

I believe that the Giants just did not see the versatility or big-play ability they wanted in a running back from Gallman. That versatility included ability to play special teams, something Gallman did not do at all last year and Booker has done extensively.

Football Outsiders posted some info in their annual Almanac showing that the Giants were worst in the NFL last season in productivity on passes under 5 air yards — the type of throws generally made in the direction of running backs. Booker has been a good receiv er throughout his career.

I like Gallman. I appreciated how hard he ran. Realistically, the Giants just wanted something different. When GM Dave Gettleman says the team thought Booker was a true three-down back, implied in that is the belief that Gallman is not.

John M. Scott asks: Without knowing the severity of injuries along the o-line, would you expect/hope the Giants sign a free agent while it’s still early in training camp? If so, who are some available free agent linemen you would consider?

Ed says: John, as you said we really don’t know the severities of the injuries to left guard Shane Lemieux and right tackle Matt Peart. Joe Judge said Friday that Lemieux appears to have avoided serious injury. In terms of free agents, I keep coming back to a couple of former Alabama players who would have crossed paths with Joe Judge while he was there — Chance Warmack and D.J. Fluker. The latter, a former Giant, was just placed on IR by the Miami Dolphins with a meniscus injury but is expected to be given an injury settlement at some point in the next few weeks.

Patrick Calvert asks: This question seems to surface every couple of years, but I am curious of your experience attending training camp since it had been moved from your neck of the woods in upstate New York.From the outside looking in, it seems like your access to the team improves every year. Any personal observations and insights you might share with us?

Ed says: Patrick, what I say is this — Albany was always a fantastic fan experience, while East Rutherford has never been that, and never will be.

In Albany, players had to walk through a rope line nicknamed ‘Autograph Alley’ to get to and from the field. fans could bring chairs and blankets, sit on the hill and have a picnic. They could walk around and get within a few yards of practice, with just a 3- or 4-foot high temporary fence stopping them from getting closer.

Players had no choice but to interact. They were out in the Albany community at the restaurants, stores, bars, whatever, for a month. There are no fans at camp this year. It does not feel like training camp. Even in years when fans are at camp, they are in makeshift bleachers in a Meadowlands Sports Complex parking lot. There is nothing friendly or inviting about it. They are far away from players, who enter and exit the field far away from them and can easily avoid them. It’s an anti-septic atmosphere.

I always say that I understand the competitive reasons for staying in New Jersey for camp. Everything the Giants need is already there, and camps are so short it’s probably not worth the trouble of packing everything up and moving it 150 miles away.

It’s just too bad.

Brad Nellis asks: I keep asking myself why the New York Giants passed on Justin Fields at #11 in the 2021 NFL Draft. I know Dave Gettleman and Joe Judge are “sold” on Jones as a franchise QB, but it still doesn’t explain the logic of passing on Fields, trade back and take Kadarius Toney at #20. Yes, future draft capital is a wonderful thing, but if Jones fails to “excite” this year all those acquired picks will be used to move up in the 2022 Draft to select his replacement. The sad news is the QB class in 2022 really doesn’t have anyone of the caliber of Justin Fields. Had he (Fields) stayed in college one more year, Fields would be considered “head and shoulders” above all the other QBs coming out! He probably would have led Ohio State to the National Championship and the Heisman Trophy!

Assuming Daniel Jones has a “breakout year” and leads the Giants to a winning record and possibly the playoffs, the Giants could offer up Fields as the best QB prospect available with a year of experience on an NFL roster and 4 years remaining on his rookie contract. A good GM could turn that into a “Top 3 Pick.” The only way the Giants get a “Top 3 Pick” now is if Jones and the Giants are horrible, once again! So, would you rather have a winning record, a possible playoff berth and a “Top 3 Pick”; a 3-14 record and a “Top 3 Pick” or a 6-11 record and have to give up all the draft capital acquired this year to get a “Top 3 Pick”?

Kadarius Toney will be a fine player in the NFL, but if there is one position the Giants have an abundance of talent it is at the wide receiver. Toney will have to share reps with Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, Evan Engram, Saquon Barkley and Kyle Rudolph...that’s a lot of sharing! Toney could also choose to give up football and focus on his career as a successful rapper, leaving the Giants with another “wasted” 1st round pick!

Daniel Jones has not proven to be the most durable quarterback. Would you rather have Justin Fields or Mike Glennon as your QB2? Jones has missed time in both of his pro seasons and his Touchdown/Interception record is horrible. Even in college Jones had a 52 TD/29 INT record so no one should be surprised at what he has done as a pro. On the other hand, Justin Fields had a 67 TD/ 9 INT collegiate record and a 20-2 W-L record at Ohio State.Daniel Jones W-L record at Duke was 16-19! Jones ran the 40 yd dash in 4.81 seconds, Fields ran a 4.44!

It has been suggested that Daniel Jones is slow to “process” play development causing him to hold the football too long, leading to an excess of sacks and fumbles. One of the reporters that follow the Giants put a hand held stopwatch on Daniel Jones during OTAs and determined that he consistently holds the football longer than the 2.3 second average QBs get rid of the ball! Scouts and NFL “Insiders” constantly tout Justin Fields ability to quickly “process” play development!

On paper, the Giants “weakest link” entering training camp is the offensive line. A quarterback that has the ability to process plays quickly will help a struggling offensive line because he will get the ball out of his hand quicker. Additionally, a QB with 4.44 speed is a constant threat to take off and gain significant yardage with his legs forcing defensive coordinators to keep a “spy” near the line of scrimmage to prevent/slow down a QB with legitimate 4.4 speed! This opens up the passing game even further!

Daniel has some “escapability”, but he is no Lamar Jackson (reference falling on his face on a play that should have been a touchdown). So...why did the Giants pass on Justin Fields?

Ed says: Brad, my answer is going to be a lot shorter than your question. Not to be snotty, but I don’t understand how you — or anyone else who might wonder why the Giants didn’t draft Fields — don’t understand this.

The Giants believe in Jones. Or, at the very least are fully committed to giving him every opportunity to prove whether or not he can be a successful long-term quarterback in the NFL.

You don’t do that by drafting another young quarterback in the first round and creating an instant quarterback controversy. That instantly pulls the rug out from under Jones and tells him you don’t think he’s the guy.

You don’t draft a “just in case the starter gets hurt” quarterback at No. 11. You draft a player to try and help that quarterback. That’s what the Giants’ offseason was all about. Giving Jones the best possible chance to succeed.

Now, maybe Justin Fields will turn out to be a better quarterback than Daniel Jones. We don’t know. We will see how it plays out.

I just don’t see how anyone could have thought the Giants would draft a quarterback at No. 11 when they already have a guy they think could become a franchise guy who is still performing on his rookie contract.