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Big Blue View mailbag: Saquon Barkley, coordinator development, more

The mail’s here!

New York Giants players may have a few weeks off for the summer, but that doesn’t mean we’re taking a break. Let’s open up the Big Blue View Mailbag and answer some questions.

Bruce Ripepi asks: Have you heard anything from Wink or others how the Giants are planning to defend the Eagles rugby scrum QB Sneak formation? The Eagles seemed to have success against everyone in short yardage using this formation. I also wonder if you think other teams will use a similar tactic.

Ed says: Bruce, that has not been a topic on conversation during the brief time we have had access to defensive coordinator Wink Martindale. If and when it gets asked I’m reasonably sure the Giants will give us precisely zero details. I’m honestly not sure there is anything specific that a defense can do.

As for whether other teams will do it, of course they will. It’s a copycat league and everybody borrows/steals/copies things other teams do that work.

You didn’t ask, but I want the play outlawed. It’s not football. In fact, I want all the ‘pushing the ballcarrier’ outlawed. I think it’s silly and dangerous, and it’s not going to get outlawed until some hapless defensive back gets his leg snapped in half when a 330-pound offensive line running at full speed blasts into a ballcarrier’s back, hurtles him forward and buries the defensive back in the ground.

Marty Allen asks: Given other team’s prior interest in hiring both the Giants’ offensive and defensive coordinators as head coaches, is the team devoting any effort to training any of the position coaches to take over the coordinator jobs? If the answer is yes, which position coaches do you think are being trained, and who does the training, just the head coach, or the coordinators themselves?

Ed says: Marty, that’s not how it works. There is no specific ‘coordinator training.’ Just like there isn’t any specific ‘head coach training.’ People do their jobs as position coaches, they learn from the coaches they work, they gain experience. If they are good at what they do they get opportunities at promotions. Or, at least they should get those opportunities.

Teams hire the best assistant coaches they can — and some of those position coaches may already have coordinator experience.

On offense, Giants wide receivers coach Mike Groh was offensive coordinator in Philadelphia. Albeit, Doug Pederson called plays. Quarterbacks coach Shea Tierney interviewed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this offseason for their coordinator job, so he is a potential riser and a name to watch as a possible Mike Kafka replacement.

On defense, outside linebackers coach Drew Wilkins has been with Wink Martindale for many years and is highly thought of. Wilkins, though, would likely go with Martindale iof the latter got a head coaching job. Defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson has done that job well for a long time and is probably deserving of an opportunity to be a coordinator.

Teams also keep lists of rising coaches or guys they would be interested in bringing to their staffs when they have openings, so GM Joe Schoen is well aware of who is out there and probably has a list of a half-dozen or more people he would consider for each job.

Jerry Panza asks: Ed, I know it’s tiring for you addressing the Saquon drama. Do you think he is a self important (I) player as of late? I like Saquon and I want him to remain a Giant but all I hear is him spouting off about me, me, me all the time. He says he wants to be a Giant for life but in all the articles where he is talking I have never heard him say anything close to wanting to “help the Giants” become a consistent playoff caliber team. He whines as much as Prince Harry.

Ed says: Jerry, Jerry, Jerry. I think you’re being unfair to Barkley here. I don’t know where “spouting off about me, me, me” comes from. He has spoken to media once this offseason. The topic was HIS contract, so of course he was going to talk about himself.

I think you’re falling into the idea of painting him as a selfish or, in his words “greedy”, player who just cares about getting paid. Having been around Barkley and the Giants for the last several years, I don’t think that is true at all.

I do think Barkley is sensitive — maybe too sensitive — to what is written or said about him in the media or on Twitter. People are going to say whatever they are going to say, whether they are well-informed or ill-informed. I know it’s not easy because it’s everywhere, but he would be better off to tune it out.

Donald Poucher asks: With regard to the roster is there a “standard” composition by position, i.e. how many players do you keep for each position? Of course each individual team will have exceptions based on their players, but do most teams look to carry 9 OL and 6 WR? On defense, would 6 IDL be unusual; what about 8 WR? What about S vs CB? I’m just wondering how unusual the Giants roster be especially with Wink’s use of players.

Ed says: Donald, I’m not sure there is a “standard” roster configuration. I think it depends on the players you have, their positional flexibility, and how the coaching staff intends to employ them.

Will the Giants keep two quarterbacks? Or, will they go to three with the new emergency quarterback rule? They kept seven wide receivers last season, which is more than normal, because they didn’t want to cut Darius Slayton. Good idea. I have seen years where they started the season with eight or nine linebackers. They might keep eight offensive linemen, or maybe they keep 10. I have seen the Giants keep three safeties. I have also seen them keep five safeties. The number of safeties or cornerbacks might depend on how many of those players have the flexibility to be comfortable in either spot.

Sometimes roster configurations qualify as unusual, sure. Teams look to keep the best rosters they can. There are plenty of times they look “heavy” at some positions and “light” at others, especially starting a season. Rosters are so fluid throughout a season. The idea is to keep the 53 you feel best about and go from there.

Contracts figure into it. Sometimes you might keep a young player simply because you don’t think he will get through waivers. Sometimes you have a couple of injuries that necessitate an extra player at a position to start the year.

I’m sure teams have “thresholds” where they know they need a certain number of players at a given position.

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