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NY Giants ‘things I think:’ Bryan Cox, coordinators, Saquon Barkley, more

It’s time for a Sunday brain dump

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Atlanta Falcons v Carolina Panthers
ryan Cox and Ra’Shede Hageman of the Atlanta Falcons argue during a 2015 game.
Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

It’s a Sunday without football, but we can always talk about football. So, here are some New York Giants’ things I think’ for your consideration.

Bryan Cox

The Bryan Cox hire by the Giants is a really interesting one, and I am absolutely curious to see how it works out.

Cox, truthfully, seems like the polar opposite of defensive line coach Andre Patterson, known for his ability to communicate with people all across an organization.

After a highly successful playing career and a 10-year coaching career that included being defensive line coach for the Cleveland Browns, Miami Dolphins and Atlanta Falcons. His career imploded after the Falcons Super Bowl collapse against the New England Patriots.

The phone never rang with another opportunity until Giants coach Brian Daboll called. Five years later.

Cox had an incident at the scouting combine the previous year, shoving an Arizona Cardinals scout over access to a prospect. A fiery player and a guy with a reputation for having a temper, Cox knows he only needs to look in the mirror to see why his coaching career unraveled.

He admitted to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2020 that he had been “doing some self-analyzing.” He also admitted that “I had my thumb on guys too hard. I didn’t let them breathe enough.”

“One of the biggest things that I think I would come up with, when people that are supposedly close to you, but don’t feel like you’re approachable, that they can talk to you,” Cox said. “You have to take a look at that. The people that said they were close to me. That I was loyal to, that I felt like I was close to them, but they were not able to have a conversation with me.”

Cox said he isn’t blaming everyone else.

“I must not be approachable in some situations,” Cox said. “I’m trying to work through that. I’m trying to figure out some legitimate reasons why that could have been.”

Daboll was offensive coordinator for the Dolphins in 2011 when Cox was there as pass rush coach. The rookie coach is sticking his neck out to give Cox an opportunity to restart his career.

Patterson and Cox seem like opposite personalities. Also, assistant defensive line coach is way down on the coaching totem pole, but it’s an opportunity nonetheless.

We will see what Cox does with it.

About those new coordinators

New offensive coordinator Mike Kafka and new defensive coordinator Don ‘Wink’ Martindale did brief interviews with Bob Papa on the team’s official website this week. Let’s offer a few thoughts on what we learned.

I will start with Martindale.

One of the big topics of conversation since Martindale was hired is whether the Giants might prioritize cornerback in the draft over edge rusher because Martindale’s propensity to bring pressure and require man-to-man coverage on the back end. Martindale dropped a hint.

“I just don’t think with our philosophy you can have enough corners because of the quarterbacks and wide receiver in this league, and the rules that they have,” Martindale told Papa. “What do I look for in a corner is someone with length and speed. If they’re a smaller corner I hope they’ve got long arms and have a vertical leap to go play the football.”

I liked Martindale’s explanation for why his defenses tend to be so much more aggressive than the norm in the modern NFL.

“In today’s football because of the rule changes and everything else a lot of people just want to play it safe. I’m not built that way,” he said.“We’re not built that way. We like to attack … and pressure breaks pipes on these offenses as well. I just don’t want to sit back and say, ‘OK, let’s see what you’ve got.’ I want them to sit back and see what we have.”

This was one of my big problems with Joe Judge the last two seasons — too much passivity in decision-making. Martindale’s defenses will get burned, and burned big, sometimes. Still, I like the ‘go take what you want’ attitude.

Now, let’s talk about Kafka.

One of the interesting things for me will be the dynamic between Kafka and Brian Daboll, obviously a head coach with an offensive background. Who will call plays? Will the system be more West Coast-based, which is what Kafka learned under Andy Reid, or more Erhardt-Perkins based, which is what Daboll ran with the Buffalo Bills?

“It’s unbelievable, from Day 1, he’s been very open about making sure we can collaborate on this thing,” Kafka said. “And make it not the Chiefs’ offense or the Bills’ offense, but the New York Giants’ offense.

“We’ll spend a lot of time figuring out what our strengths are and then what the weaknesses are of the team that we’re playing.”

That, obviously, doesn’t answer the question of what it will look. What gives me hope, though, is the success of the programs both came from.

— You can hear the full interviews with Martindale and Kafka on the Giants’ Huddle podcast with John Schmeelk.

The trade Barkley bandwagon

Regular readers of BBV know that I have gone on record as saying I would be in favor of GM Joe Schoen trading running back Saquon Barkley this offseason. Emory Hunt of Football Gameplan and CBS Sports told me on a recent ‘Valentine’s Views’ podcast that I’m nuts for thinking that.

I will stick to my belief that I doubt Barkley’s long-term future is with the Giants, and that GM Joe Schoen has to at least consider offers between now and the draft. If not then, at the NFL trade deadline.

The Draft Network and NFL.com joined that bandwagon this week.

Draft Network wrote:

Both Schoen and [Brian] Daboll helped build Buffalo's uber-productive offense without the presence of an expensive or dynamic running back, and that makes Barkley beyond expendable this offseason.

Barkley's perceived trade value is little, but he does qualify as an intriguing reclamation project on an affordable salary. It wouldn’t take much to pry Barkley away from the Giants. Barkley is entering a contract season and is likely not a part of Schoen's future plans, and the Giants would surely welcome the opportunity to trade him.

Adam Rank of NFl.com wrote:

I know the running back position doesn't carry the value it once had. And to be honest, the market for a running back coming off two injury-ravaged seasons isn't great. The Giants need to be choosy about which skill players stay around to start the Brian Daboll era. It's obvious Saquon is talented, but Daniel Jones should be given a chance to develop without having to worry about featuring a running back. And full disclosure, I would be willing to give Kenny Golladay and Evan Engram, a free agent this offseason, another shot. Moving Barkley to a team that needs a little juice at running back makes a lot of sense, especially considering Devontae Booker, who was more efficient than Barkley in 2021, is under contract for cheap through 2022.

I am not demanding a Barkley trade. I could understand if the Giants keep him. As I have said, though, I think moving him has to be a strong consideration. I also think this speculation isn’t going away any time soon.

Good reads this week

Five Big Blue View stories this week that I think you should read, if you haven’t already. Oh, and if you haven’t I think you need to explain yourself.

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