It is Saturday, and that means it is once again time to open the Big Blue View mailbag and see what New York Giants questions we can answer.
Ken Diamond asks: Why don’t they ever throw any passes to Daniel Bellinger, just for a now-and-then change of pace, or to catch other teams napping on him? He showed good hands last year.
Ed says: Bellinger has four receptions on four targets over seven games. I do agree that it would be nice to get him the ball a bit more, but there are some valid reasons for why it hasn’t happened. First, they have had a hard enough time getting the ball to Darren Waller and some of the wide receivers.
The bigger reason, though, is the offensive line’s struggles. Bellinger was the No. 1 tight end a season ago, and was in pass protection on only 28 snaps all season, 7.2% of passing plays for which he was on the field. Partly because of the presence of Waller, and partly because the Giants have needed the extra blocker, Bellinger has already been a part of the pass blocking 44 times this season, 38.9% of passing plays he has been on the field for.
Different year, different personnel, different needs.
James Stoll asks: The Washington win keeps the Giants’ season alive, but only for the moment. A loss next week to the Jets and we are back to thinking 2024 draft. The Jets match-up looks tough for the Giants. The Jets’ defense is legit and, even with better QB play from Taylor, our offense will likely be unproductive. So a win likely hangs on the defense being lights out. A dominant defensive performance in turn would seem to turn on pressuring Wilson into mistakes. Although Wink seems to scheme pressure no matter what he has to work with, in terms of edge rushers, he has Kayvon and no one else. My question is what is your assessment of the play of Ward and Boogie, and do you think elevating Tomon Fox would make the pressure packages better? I thought Fox played pretty well last year in the roll he was asked to fill, and I haven’t seen much positive from either Ward or Basham. What are you seeing?
Ed says: James, I think the play of both Jihad Ward and Boogie Basham has been lackluster. Ward plays a significant amount (55% of defensive snaps so far this season), and I know Martindale loves him. He does not, though, get much done. He has no sacks, no passes defensed, two quarterback hits and just five tackles in 245 snaps. His Pro Football Focus grade is a poor 39.2.
Basham is a non-factor. He was acquired from the Bills before the start of the season to provide edge depth, but the most snaps he has played in a game is 18. He has had three games in which he has played fewer than 10 snaps. He has two tackles.
As for Fox, he had a sack and 24 tackles in 320 snaps a year ago. That’s not much production. I hate to say it, but I think he’s just a guy. The Giants are telling you that’s what they think, as well, by using both Basham and Oshane Ximines before Fox.
Ron Corcillo asks: Can you offer any explanation as to why Matt Peart is still on the roster? The Giants keep signing other guys to cover roles that they obviously don’t think Peart can handle, yet he sticks around. Why?
Ed says: Ron, Peart did go on IR this week with a shoulder injury. Why he was on the roster before that when the Giants preferred not to use him is a valid question they will never give an honest answer to. The only thing I can say is he is still on a rookie contract, and perhaps they felt that there weren’t clearly better options at the end of the preseason.
Alexander Levy asks: There seems to be a constant rotation of wide receivers for the Giants throughout their games - more so it seems than other teams. Do the Giants coaches still not know who the “best” receivers are on the team? It doesn’t seem that this approach is working. I used to attribute the Giants lack of offense to the offensive line, however against the Commanders the Giants offensive line played well and the offense still only put up 14 points.
Ed says: Alexander, I think there was more truth to that in the first few games. There has been a rotation, but what has really happened has been somewhat of a changing of the guard. Ever since Week 4, Wan’Dale Robinson and Jalin Hyatt are playing the majority of snaps while Isaiah Hodgins has seen his playing time reduced and Parris Campbell has become a non-factor. Sterling Shepard has played double-digit snaps just three times, and his season-high of 20 came in a blowout loss to the Miami Dolphins.
Robinson wasn’t available the first few weeks. Hyatt is a third-round pick with a learning curve. Both are getting more playing time as the season progresses.
Harold Tolchinsky asks: Are there stats for Quarterback Ratings while under pressure? I’ve seen enough of the “ good” Quarterbacks under pressure to know that there stats should be lower- probably similar to Daniel Jones, who is always under pressure.
Ed says: Yes, Harold, there are. Pro Football Focus tracks that data, and we often reference it in our work. The only quarterback who has faced pressure more often this season than Jones is Justin Fields of the Chicago Bears. Among 29 qualifiers, the only quarterback with a lower NFL passer rating than Jones while under pressure so far this season has been Ryan Tannehill of the Tennessee Titans.
I’m stoking the fire here, but Jones has a 36.5 passer rating under pressure. In a smaller sample size, Tyrod Taylor’s passer rating under pressure is 80.5.
Dave asks: Ed, Is the ankle which Neal is dealing with is the same ankle that he had to deal with last year. Does this have the potential to be a chronic issue for the young man?
Ed says: The injury that knocked Neal out for a few games last season was a knee, not an ankle. Andrew Thomas has had a series of ankle injuries, which are hopefully behind him.
Mark P. Lynch asks: Do you believe the GMEN will make any big moves at the trade deadline or does the Washington win change things?
Ed says: Mark, first of all I believe coach Brian Daboll when he says a Saquon Barkley trade is “not happening.” I do, though, think the Giants have to do something. As I write this on Friday, Over The Cap lists the Giants with $1.394 million in cap space remaining, 31st in the league.
That amount is not going to be enough to get the Giants through the season. Injuries that require the signings of new players, practice squad elevations and all of that drain a team’s cap resources.
The Giants have two players they could move to create cap relief, Leonard Williams and Adoree’ Jackson. Pending an agreement by the Giants to take on some of the remaining base salary, an acquiring team would have to be willing to take on the $9 million in base salary left on Williams’ deal or the $5.5 million in base salary left on Jackson’s deal, but both players are free agents at the end of the season and moving at least one now would provide the Giants with significant cap relief for the remainder of this season.
To me, those two players are the most likely to be elsewhere after Tuesday’s trade deadline.
Glen B. asks: Hey Ed, most coaches speak about the need for accountability. My question is who should be ultimately held accountable for two decisions that have proved to be highly detrimental to this team this year?
First is the decision to have Eric Gray return punts and not retain any experienced punt returners. And to make matters worse, to stick with Gray after he has struggled mightily in that role. The second was to let Trye Phillips go to Philadelphia and leave the team w/o any capable swing tackles heading into the season, and then not resign him until they absolutely had no choice. You could also throw decisions to stick with Neal, Shane Lemieux, Campbell and a few others into this conversation, but the Gray and Phillips decisions are the most egregious.
I understand that you may say Daboll is the one who is ultimately responsible for personnel decisions once players are in camp, but it seems he needs to have to depend on those who work closely with these players day in and day out to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses during spring training, etc., no? Thus, aren’t the position coaches, in this case, the special teams and offensive line coaches, the ones who need to be held accountable for those mistakes? Or is it Daboll, or even Joe Schoen? I mean, someone has shown very bad judgment in evaluating players, which doesn’t evoke much confidence in this team’s success going forward. Whoever it is needs to find something else to do.
Ed says: Glen, first of all I think “whoever it is needs to find something else to do” is way too harsh. I also think “shown very bad judgment is evaluating players” is too strong. No one in the history of decisions has ever gotten every decision they have ever made correct. The Giants as an organization did make a few roster decisions that were hard to understand. I have been clear about those.
There are, honestly, questionable roster decisions made every year by every team. Jason Pinnock, a good player, landed with the Giants because the Jets made the mistake of cutting him. The Buffalo Bills never gave Isaiah Hodgins a real chance.
The general manager has the final say over the roster on most teams, and that is the case with the Giants. Joe Schoen has the final call, but he has been very clear for two years that he and Brian Daboll make decisions together. The front office works hard at acquiring the types of players the coaching staff wants.
Position coaches don’t make roster decisions. Coordinators don’t make roster decisions. They can certainly offer their input on players, but they don’t control who is and is not on the roster.
I will also say this — how bad is it really if the “most egregious” decisions you can come up with about personnel are a backup offensive lineman and a punt returner?
Chris Chianese asks: Ed, is Daniel Jones’ injury concerns enough of a reason to look for a QB in next year’s draft?
Ed says: Chris, obviously I am not a doctor but the longer this goes the more concerning it does become. It is the second neck injury in three years. I don’t know what the long-term ramifications are, but I would think it might have to be part of the calculus. Especially since Brian Daboll would not guarantee on Friday that Jones would return this season. I think that would increase the urgency for the Giants to draft a quarterback.
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