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Big Blue View mailbag: Matt Peart, Tre Hawkins, Jalin Hyatt, more NYG questions

The mail’s here!

While we wait for Sunday night’s New York Giants-Dallas Cowboys season opener, let’s bust open the Big Blue View Mailbag and answer some Giants questions.

John Foti asks: I too was surprised that the Giants kept Peart over Phillips and I was rooting for the guy since he was a third-round pick. But mostly I look at Peart’s physical attributes and they scream “can’t miss”. However, when you see him in a game it screams “can’t play”. Do the coaches see something that we don’t or are they being teased by his physical attributes?

Ed says: John, I am not sure the Giants are being “teased” by anything when it comes to Matt Peart. I think it’s a matter of the Giants, who are incredibly thorough in their process of evaluating pro personnel throughout the league, not thinking there is anyone available they feel better about. Here is a list of free agent tackles. Who would you take? And, no, Jason Peters isn’t showing up to be a backup. Here is a current list of practice squad players. Again, find someone you can guarantee is better than Peart. I admit that I don’t know every player in the league, but I’m struggling to find someone I would cut Peart for. Storm Norton? Nope.

The pickings are slim. The Giants have taken a flier on Jalen Mayfield, former third-round pick by the Atlanta Falcons. He failed at guard in Atlanta. Let’s see if the Giants can make something of him.

As for Peart, he has — at times — played good football for the Giants, even though he has never been able to grab a starting job. Can he do it again? Everyone will hope they don’t need to find out.

Jay Berman asks: The Giants enter 2023 with Bellinger as the sole inline blocking TE adept in that role. How will they replicate the need for a second inline blocking TE in packages where that’s needed? Who will provide H-back lead blocking for them? Bellinger? What if God forbid Bellinger is injured at some point? Who on the practice squad would replace him, albeit temporarily?

Ed says: Jay, if they don’t want to use Lawrence Cager in that role they will use a backup offensive lineman as a second tight end. That isn’t unusual. I said many times that I’d prefer to see four tight ends on the 53-man roster, but it never looked like the Giants had a fourth tight end they felt was deserving. The Giants added tight end Tyree Jackson, formerly of the Philadelphia Eagles, to their practice squad. He played in 14 games over the past two seasons and would be the obvious choice if they need another tight end.

Robert Biggerstaff asks: Head coach said Tre Hawkins earned reps in training camp. Can you be more specific about what this means? How do they keep track of players’ progress relative to one another?

Ed says: Robert, you should read this story if you haven’t done so already. Coaches, obviously, watch practice every day. They break down the film of practice every day. They discuss with each other what they have seen every day.

It was apparent even to us media types on the sidelines during training camp practices that Hawkins was playing better than Cor’Dale Flott, Darnay Holmes and the rest of the guys he was competing against. He played against the third-team guys and stood out. He got opportunities against the second team and continued to stand out. He got a chance with the first-team defense and looked like he belonged.

He played well in the preseason games. As a coaching staff you keep giving the player opportunities not only to prove what he can do, but what he can’t do. He never reached a level where he didn’t look ready to handle what he was being tasked with.

Michael Wien asks: Last week the Cowboys picked up Sean Harlow from the Giants after being released. Do teams have to make adjustments for that, i.e. audible calls, formations, when they’re playing the following week? Can’t Harlow provide valuable insight about what the Gmen might be attempting when they hear a certain audible? Do the Giants knowing this intentionally change things up?

Ed says: Michael, I think this whole ‘gaining secret inside information’ thing is overblown. Teams change audible calls all the time. Now, Harlow might be able to provide some info about Giants’ offensive or defensive linemen.

This goes both ways, though. The Giants added former Dallas wide receiver Dennis Houston to their practice squad. I’m sure they are hoping for some insight from him.

Still, I just think this is all cat-and-mouse game stuff that doesn’t amount to anything.

Chris Tevere asks: A lot has been said over the last year about the quality of this coaching staff, but most of the time we only hear about Daboll, Martindale, and Kafka. Are there any standout position coaches who may be able to take over coordinator positions if ours get poached going into next year? I’m really hoping we are aren’t forced to change our entire scheme to fit an outside hire, especially on defense where it feels like Wink is everything.

How do you feel about our chances of keeping the coaching staff together next year in the event that we meet and/or exceed expectations?

Ed says: Chris, I have been asked about this a number of times. The price of success is that other organizations notice it. They notice people they think have done a good job and could be worthy of promotions. That’s just how it goes.

I am pretty sure that eventually the Giants are going to lose offensive coordinator Mike Kafka. He’s really good at what he does, and he fits the profile of what teams look for these days in head coaches. Wink Martindale I’m not so sure. His age works against him, and I think defensive coordinator might be as high as he ever rises.

Honestly, I don’t worry about this stuff. If it happens, it means the Giants were good. If it happens, GM Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll will have a plan. They probably already have one.

Doug Mollin asks: What do you think of Tyler Dunne’s prediction that the Giants win the Division and lose to the Lions in the NFC Championship Game? Outlandish or not that far-fetched? Dunne wrote the infamous Autopsy series on the Giants back in December 2021.

Instead of the much talked about “reversion”, why not another step forward this year?

Ed says: Doug, I know Tyler and have a lot of respect for his work. In an alternate universe, I would love to run the type of subscription site he does with ‘Go Long,’ and the kinds of connections he does.

As for your question, I had not seen Tyler’s pick of Giants-Lions in the NFC Championship Game. That would be something, wouldn’t it? Did Tyler post that with a ‘JK,’ or was he serious?

Honestly, anything can happen. The Lions and Giants both have reason to be optimistic about their futures, but I think both teams are still a cut below the league’s premier teams.

Bob Donnelly asks: The Hyatt Hype Train has left the station and is picking up speed. Some are already touting him as the steal of the draft yet he hasn’t played a single regular season snap. While we certainly hope that he can live up to the high expectations some have for him.

Using a scale of:

Elite receiver
WR 1
WR 1.5
WR 2
WR 3
I’m curious how you view his floor and ceiling.

Ed says: Bob, I will take both a long- and short-term view.

In the short term, I see him as a WR3 in 2023 who won’t lead the Giants in receiving yards or receptions and won’t be the focal point. He will, though, be a field-stretching playmaker. I think that is his floor.

The potential is there for him to become a WR1 — if you want to call that ‘elite’ that’s your term. Hyatt not only has speed, but it is what I call ‘easy speed.’ He chews up ground with long strides, and he can get to top speed almost instantly. Just ask Sauce Gardner, who got burned twice by Hyatt, even though he won’t admit it and both passes to Hyatt in that Jets-Giants preseason game were incomplete. When Hyatt gets even, or close to even, with a defender who isn’t already moving at top speed, it’s over. Hyatt is open.

Hyatt is a better route runner and more polished receiver than anyone gives him credit for. Plus, and I find this to be important, he is a humble kid who really wants to continue getting better at his craft.

Daniel Marshall asks: Ed, I value your columns and opinions highly, and I thank you for your contributions to NY Giant Fandom. I am a 71-year-old lifelong Giant fan living in Burlington, Vermont. This has always been Giants country - when I was a kid, I could watch the Giants training at St. Michael’s College, just a few miles from my house. But the birth of the AFL and the *!&*ing Patriots changed all that.

I am not one of those fans who can afford a special package to watch my team every week; I must depend on the networks and take whatever they feed me. At least once a year (three times last season) I get screwed out of watching my team because the Giants and the Patriots are playing at the same time on the same network. The local CBS or FOX station will always show the Pats. They claim that they have no choice, but I’m not sure I believe it.

Can you explain what determines which network gets which games? I thought I understood it, but I don’t anymore. On October 22nd, the Pats are playing the Bills at 1 p.m., on CBS. The Giants are playing Washington at the same time, also on CBS. Why in the world do they have two NFC teams playing each other on CBS instead of FOX?

Is there any rhyme or reason to this?

Ed says: Daniel, as with everything else in life, this is all about the money. These networks, and streaming services like Amazon Prime and YouTube, are spending billions of dollars to acquire rights to NFL games.

The traditional days of NFC on FOX and AFC on CBS are long gone. Every game is up for grabs now. There is an article in Sports Media Watch you can learn from. It includes this quote:

“All games are jump balls, all games are free agents.”

You can also learn more from a post on CNN Business.

Joel Friedberg asks: Do the practice squad call-ups on game day count toward the 46 that can dress?

Ed says: Joel, you asked two questions. I will answer this one.

If a team calls up two players from the practice squad for a game that increases its roster from 53 to 55. It increases the number of players who can be active from 46 to 48, provided a team has eight offensive linemen active. If you only have seven offensive linemen active, you can have a maximum of 47 players active — including call-ups.

Ryan Perry asks: During the Reese years, we almost never hit on draft picks after the 2nd round. David Gettleman hit on a few, particularly Julian Love and maybe Carter Coughlin as examples. Joe Schoen seems to be doing well with his late round picks. How much does the relationship between the front office and coaching staff factor in to hitting on late round picks? I.E. if they are on the same page with what they are looking for in players, does that provide the players a better path to success?

Ed says: Ryan, this topic keeps coming up. We have addressed it before, I think, but here goes another explanation.

Jerry Reese struggled to hit on late-round picks in part because he had one vision of the kind of roster he wanted and Tom Coughlin had another. Reese plowed ahead and drafted what he wanted, leaving Coughlin and his staff with too many players they didn’t want and couldn’t use.

Dave Gettleman did not hire Pat Shurmur or Joe Judge. Ownership did. As we have learned, especially about Gettleman and Judge, they were not on the same page when it came to personnel.

Joe Schoen hired Brian Daboll. Both guys came from the same team in Buffalo, and there was trust and an existing relationship. They know they aren’t going to get this right without working together.

Schoen does a great job working with Daboll and the coaching staff to find out what the coaches want. He then does a great job looking for that himself, and communicating to the rest of the front office and scouting staff what type of players the Giants are searching for at each position.

That’s how the Giants found Jordon Riley in the seventh round — a player no one else was going to draft. It’s why sixth-round pick Tre Hawkins has a path to success — he fits exactly what Wink Martindale wants in a cornerback. It’s why the Giants are drooling over the possibilities with Isaiah Simmons — his skillset and flexibility are exactly what Martindale craves.

BBV mailbag

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