With the preseason rolling along for the New York Giants, let’s open the Big Blue View Mailbag and see what questions we can answer.
HINT: A lot of these are going to sound familiar.
Pb Dorfman asks: Since John Mara’s press conference it raised more questions to me than answers. My question is if the Giants finish the 2021 season with a record of 8 and 9 or worse does Mara make wholesale changes starting at the GM on down or does Mara make the same excuses they have been using for the last 10 season about losing.
After Mara’s ultimatum about wining now and all the money spent in free agency how can he possibly defend the NYG management staff with another losing season and will the reporters covering the Giants hold them to there word about fixing this team.
Ed says: Pb, I don’t know. I think eight or nine wins and NOT making the playoffs is the gray area where John Mara and Steve Tisch have to sit down and go through a painstaking, unemotional evaluation of exactly how the season went.
How did the Giants get to where they end up? Did the season start well and end badly, or vice versa? How did the big decisions on Daniel Jones and the offensive line pan out? Did the free-agent signings pan out? Were there injuries that derailed everything? Does ownership come out of the season feeling like there is a core of players and a decision-making tandem (Gettleman-Joe Judge) that can eventually take them to championship contention?
Mara didn’t issue a playoff mandate when he spoke to media this week, but he really didn’t have to. It’s been four seasons since the Giants had a winning record — since they have even come close to a winning record. That has to change.
It’s time for us to start winning more games,” Mara said.
As for media holding the Giants accountable, I think the number of times Mara was asked the other day about a playoff mandate and Gettleman’s future was the media doing just that. If the season goes horribly wrong, you’ll read plenty of “Gettleman must go” stories.
Maxwell Yazgur asks: When Dave Gettleman was first hired he said more than once that he believed in building a team from the inside out. He loved big lineman and called them hog mollies. He said that fixing the offensive line was a priority. After 3 brutal years of offensive line play let’s fast forward to this offseason. In his fourth year would he finally fix the offensive line? This is what he did; he let his best lineman leave, did not sign a starter in free agency or make a trade and then didn’t even draft an offensive lineman. He signed a free agent WR for $72M and drafted another WR in the first round. To me it seems like the opposite, he’s building a team from the outside in. All kinds of skill players (Golladay, Toney getting Barkley back) and no linemen. His hope for this year’s offensive line is that the 5 starters all improve. Three of the starters were so bad last year they can’t do anything but improve but does anyone really see multiple levels of improvement? The other 2 are nothing much more than competent. Where is the depth as we know there are going to be injuries. He says to give it a chance and wait until the pads are on and games are played but I say we’ve been waiting 4 years and you can’t keep using that excuse. Maybe he will prove everybody wrong but I just don’t see it. I don’t see why the owners are blind to this and why Gettleman gets a pass from much of the media and fans.
Ed says: Maxwell, this is territory we have been over a bunch of times. Even though you made a statement and didn’t really ask a question, apparently I need to continue going through it.
Yes, it’s easy to pick on Dave Gettleman because of the offensive line. Yes, it needs to play better than it did a year ago. Yes, the Giants did not go out and spend money on a big free agent or use a high draft pick — or any draft pick — on the offensive line.
I need to continue to remind people that this was an organizational decision. Joe Judge is part of that. The Giants went all-in on offensive linemen a year ago, drafting three of them. They believe in them and want to give them a chance. They have been burned by free-agent offensive line signings. The organizational decision was to ride with the young linemen and use their draft and financial resources to add play-makers. Will they be right? We’ll find out.
As for the depth, it’s beyond my comprehension that people do not understand what happened in training camp. The two veteran players the Giants signed to provided it — Zach Fulton and Joe Looney — retired. A third, Kyle Murphy, has been placed on IR. A team can’t just magically snap its fingers and replace those players. There aren’t a plethora of good offensive linemen available — pretty much the entire league is hunting for them. When teams trim rosters to 53 players in a couple of weeks there will be players available. Maybe even after this weekend when rosters are trimmed from 85 to 80. Moves are coming.
As for Gettleman getting a pass, that’s hogwash. He’s still the GM, sure. Maybe you want him fired and maybe you will eventually get your wish. If you’re paying attention to the amount of criticism he receives, I hardly call that getting a pass.
Have you guys heard anything about potentially kicking the tires on former Giant DJ Fluker at IOL? I know he was cut with injury in Miami but reports say he will be back on the field sooner rather than later.— Jonny Rosenstein (@nygjonnyro) August 19, 2021
Ed says: Jonny, I understand the interest in D.J. Fluker. I would be on board with it in the right circumstance. The problem is health. Fluker underwent surgery for a meniscus injury just a couple of weeks ago, which is why the Miami Dolphins let him go. He isn’t able to play right now. Perhaps during the season if he is still available and the Giants still need help he might be an option. I don’t believe that to be the case right now, however.
What unit do you think will surprise fans once the season starts?— Justin (@spyder733) August 19, 2021
Ed says: Justin, my answer is going to be obvious and predictable. And I can guarantee I will be ridiculed, at least by some, for it.
The answer has to be the offensive line. If you listen to some of the doomsayers in the fan base, the first time anyone on the line throws a respectable block in a regular-season game the line will have done better than expected.
Truth is, the Giants offensive line doesn’t need to be one of the league’s best, let’s say, five. It need to be adequate. If you go from one of the worst in the league to adequate in a year, that’s a huge improvement.
If the starting group stays healthy enough, I believe the Giants can do that.
Do you think this year the Giants will rotate the o-line like they did last year or keep the same starting 5 the whole game?— Chris Denigris (@wolfen0112) August 19, 2021
Ed says: Chris, I think the first thing we have to remember is the reason why the Giants rotated offensive linemen last year. They had young draft picks Matt Peart and Shane Lemieux, and without preseason opportunities for them to play, wanted to make certain that both players got a decent amount of on-field experience last season.
This year is different. The Giants won’t have those draft picks on the bench this time around. The way it looks right now, the only spot you might see some rotation is right tackle. The Giants have been happy with what veteran Nate Solder has done. I truly believe they will give Peart every opportunity to be the full-time right tackle, I can see Solder getting some work should Peart struggle.
Why did we sign Rudolph and draft Toney ? We need O Lineman. Will we ever fire Gettleman ?— Ruben Sivera (@SiveraRuben) August 19, 2021
Ed says: Ruben, I honestly thought about ignoring this question. We have been over it ... and over it ... and over it ... and over it until my fingers ache and my brain wants to explode at the thought of going over it again. But, let’s go over it. Again.
Why did the Giants sign Kyle Rudolph and use the 20th overall pick in the draft on Kadarius Toney? Dave Gettleman and others have said it several times — one of the biggest goals, maybe the biggest goal, of the offseason was to increase the quality of the playmakers around third-year quarterback Daniel Jones.
Rudolph wasn’t in the Giants’ plan, but when he became available the Giants pounced. He has been a really good player in the NFL for a decade, and he fits the mold of the versatile inline tight end — a la Jason Witten — that Jason Garrett has always been successful with.
Toney gives the Giants a dimension no one else in the receiving corps offers. That is the ability to turn something into nothing just by having the ball in his hands. When you can get big plays by just dumping the ball into someone’s hands and letting him go to work, that’s a huge security blanket for an offense. Plus, Toney offers electric return skills.
Yes, the Giants need offensive linemen. “Backup” offensive linemen. They have said, oh maybe a gazillion times and in a gazillion ways, that they believe in the starting group. For the crowd that believes the Giants have ignored the offensive line, four of the starters are Gettleman draft picks. Three of those came a year ago. The fifth, Nick Gates, is a guy signed as a UDFA on Gettleman’s watch. It’s an entirely homegrown starting group, which is actually pretty cool.
Do they need some depth? Sure. After having two players they counted on to provide that depth retire and losing a third backup who was part of the roster last year to injured reserve, I think every team in the league would be looking to supplement their depth. There are three weeks before the start of the regular season. That is plenty of time to find a couple of competent backup linemen.
Will the Giants ever fire Gettleman? Let’s see what happens this season. The question is going to answer itself. If things go well this season, Gettleman stays. Or retires on his own terms. If things go badly, as co-owner John Mara said this week, that’s a different discussion. We’ll see when we get there.