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Big Blue View mailbag: OL flexibility, Saquon Barkley’s future, more

The mail’s here!

The first week of New York Giants training camp is history. Let’s open up the Big Blue View Mailbag and see what questions we can answer. [EDITOR’S NOTE: This accidentally published early, so enjoy the bonus time.]

Barry Block asks: The coaches have been praising Lemieux, he seems to be the starter at left guard going into camp.

As far as I know, he has only played left guard, from Oregon onward at least. If that’s true, what happens if he loses that starting job to (say) Ezeudu? A one-position player isn’t a very good reserve OL, in my book, especially when you might only have 2 active backups on game day.

Ed says: Yes, Barry, Shane Lemieux is currently penciled in as the starting left guard. He has taken all the first-team reps the last two days, as he did all spring.

If Lemieux loses that job to someone like rookie third-round pick Joshua Ezeudu I think you can be reasonably certain that the Giants would have Lemieux take practice reps on both sides in the event of emergency.

Reality is, though, the Giants have a lot of guys who can move more easily than Lemieux. Ezeudu has experience everywhere but center, and has proven he can move around pretty seamlessly. Ben Bredeson can play guard and is working at center. Jamil Douglas has played all three interior spots. Max Garcia has played all three spots. Matt Gono can play both tackle spots, and has experience as an emergency guard.

There is flexibility there. That is why you sign veteran players who can fill in at multiple spots.

Jon Hilsenrath asks: I read a lot about Barkley playing out wide and catching the ball this year, pre-snap motion, etc. It leaves me wondering, do the New York Giants have anyone who is going to just run it up the gut, and if not, can’t their opponents scheme against that?

Ed says: Run it up the gut? Jon, I’ll be honest — that isn’t really part of the Giants’ plan this year. I haven’t seen a handoff with the quarterback under center in two days. When the Giants do run up the middle it has been out of the spread, and sometimes it’s been with the quarterback to even the numbers.

Teams can scheme all they want, but if you open up the field and have potential receivers spread all over the defense still has to spread out and dedicate someone to line up over each of those potential receivers.

This looks like it is going to be anything but a ground and pound, Bill Parcells smash mouth offense.

Benjamin Lawrence asks: I’m curious how players typically spend their time in the days before training camp to make sure that they’re ready to go. I imagine they have personal trainers to remain in shape, but do they also work with technique coaches, watch lots of film, or have other methods to prepare?

Ed says: Benjamin, most of these guys work with personal trainers and position coaches throughout the offseason. With the limited time players are with their teams now, that has become somewhat of a cottage industry.

I don’t know how much film guys watch. The offseason is really about preparing their bodies for the grind of the season.

Doug Mollin asks: Since Schoen came on board, Saquon’s future with the Giants has evolved pretty dramatically.

It started with the assumption Saquon will be traded prior to the draft, or in-season. Based in part that Schoen does not believe in paying RBs big money (at least from what the Bills did).

However, as we see more of what the offense will look like, now it seems we’re no longer looking at Saquon as a RB but as a hybrid player (Deebo Samuel often mentioned). And now maybe Saquon could be more valuable in that role than he ever was as a RB.

But ... he’ll also want to get paid.

Long way around to asking my question — what do you think the odds are today of Saquon signing a long-term contract as a hybrid RB/WR? And would you be comfortable paying him the kind of money he’ll command if he has a productive season? Likely at least 3 years and $50 million.

Ed says: Doug, I’m going to try to make this a fairly short answer to a fairly long question. I honestly don’t know the answer, but I think it will be one of the fascinating early tests for GM Joe Schoen. I think Schoen’s background tells me that his preference would be not to spend big money on a running back, no matter what kind of year he has in 2022.

What I think will be interesting is how John Mara feels about all of this. Mara would love to have Saquon stay with the Giants, but if Schoen wants to move on I’m not sure he will stand in the way.

I think it’s 50-50 whether Saquon is a long-term Giant.

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