New York Giants Reader Mailbag: Midpoint of Camp Edition

Thanks to everyone who submitted questions. Remember that you can submit questions to me any time either using the “Letters to the Editor” form (preferred since I’ll be sure to see them), or by tagging them #askPat on Twitter. I’m trying to incorporate them into my daily camp reports.

The Young Defensive Ends

Thanks for the question, Hudsen. I’ve been impressed with both Avery Moss and Romeo Okwara. It’s probably still too soon to say who the better pass rusher is, but I see improvement in Okwara in that he’s playing faster, and I see Moss being physical in the trenches.

I like how he gets his hand up if he gets stonewalled and I also like his motor–this kid does a nice job going sideline to sideline to chase down ball carriers. I’m looking forward to seeing him in games.

Mykkele Thompson Update

Thanks for the question, Al. I’m assuming you mean Mykkele Thompson and that auto correct got you as it frequently does to me.

With that said, I haven’t seen Thompson work as much in the slot, which could suggest that experiment is over. I’m really not sure where he’s going to fit in–I don’t think there will be room for him at safety which would leave cornerback.

In terms of coverage, I don’t think he’s really done anything that has jumped out at me so far. Now keep in mind I can’t watch every player on every play, but usually you will see either some tight coverage, a pass breakup, an interception or a blitz somewhere along the line. I haven’t seen any of that, and I also wonder about his speed and if it’s been affected after two lower body injuries.

I’m curious to see how Thompson is used in the defense and if my initial observation about his speed is on point.

Owa’s Odyssey

Thanks for the question John. Owa Odighizuwa never said what his personal issue is (keyword here: PERSONAL). Even if he did, it’s a moot point and quite frankly no one’s business but his.

The fact is he’s back in camp now so whatever it was, apparently it’s been resolved and he’s back to concentrating on his football career, which is really all that matters.

Camp Sleepers

Thanks for the question, Ogaranya . So far I’ve been impressed with linebacker Calvin Munson, who has been getting work with the first-team specials.

I also have been impressed by defensive end Evan Schwan, who has a quick first step and has been disruptive, and receiver Travis Rudolph, who is a little spark plug out there.

I don’t know if any of them will make the 53-man roster, but those are three names that I know I’ve written repeatedly in my notebook.

Cornerback Battle

Thanks for the question Dess. Right now I think Michael Hunter might be closing in on a roster spot. As for the backup slot cornerback, that’s going to come down to either Donte Deayon or veteran Valentino Blake.

Blake got off to a slow start thanks to back tightness, so let’s see how he holds up the rest of the summer.

I’m also curious to see if the coaches decide to try Deayon on the outside and if so, how he’ll hold up. Remember, usually the slot cornerback is the next man up if there  is an injury to one of the guys on the outside. So let’s see if Deayon gets some outside reps in games and how he pulls through.

Eli’s Arm

Thanks for the question Mike. Eli has looked fine, so no, I wouldn’t be concerned about him or his arm strength. The coaches have done a good job managing his reps so I think he’ll be fresh for when the season starts.

I also think the improved running game will help slice off about 60-75 pass attempts from his season total which will also help keep Manning fresh. Bottom line though is no, I haven’t seen a decline in Manning’s arm strength and I think that should be one of the last things over which anyone should have concern now.

Is the Offense Gelling?

What’s up Mel? I think the problem last year is Eli’s pass protection wasn’t consistent, which forced him to hurry throws.

This year, I think the passing game will be a lot smoother and more explosive if everyone stays healthy. Eli and his receivers have looked good–in fact I’ll say this is the best I’ve seen the offense look in training camp in a few years. So I’m optimistic.

Darian’s Return

Hey Mike, what’s going on? I’ve said since day one that I think Darian Thompson, if healthy, is going to reclaim the starting free safety job. He’s shown himself to be more of a ball hawk than Andrew Adams (I think Adams is probably more of a strong safety than a free safety, by the way).

The thing with Thompson is to stay healthy. But so far, his foot doesn’t seem to be an issue when dropping into coverage.

Hart and Flowers

Hey JB. I’ve written extensively about Hart here and in my daily camp reports, which you can find here.  I believe he’s the most improved on that starting offensive line in terms of putting things all together. That doesn’t mean I have him making the Pro Bowl just yet, but he’s taken a huge leap forward in his technique, his understanding of the game, and his intensity level.

If Hart does in games what he’s done in practices, I think fans are going to be very pleasantly surprised.

What’s up General? Yes, the Giants offense has been very diverse this year so far. I’m still not sure what of the different formations will make it to the regular season, but among the various looks include two running backs (fullback and half back), two tight ends,  and various combinations involving a trip formation that are perhaps the most intriguing of the lot given how guys are moved around.

Then of course you have old faithful–11 personnel. So yes, different looks have been tested out and we’ll find out what makes the cut over the next four games.

3-Safety Looks

What’s up Andrew? I see you’re a faithful podcast listener, eh? Anyway, while I’m sure we’ll see more 3-safety looks in certain spots, I still think three CBs is going to dominate the nickel package, unless there is an injury.

Perhaps in Dallas, against that running game (assuming Elliott isn’t suspended for that game), you could see more use of the big nickel, but otherwise, I believe the days of relying heavily on the big nickel have passed  for ow.

Locked on the Offense

How is the tight end competition looking? How are the running backs other than Vereen catching the ball out of the backfield? What is Darius Powe doing that is allowing him to get open, winning with speed or strength?  — Kevin L.

What’s up Kevin? The last tight end spot appears to be down to Matt LaCosse and Will Tye, and I found it interesting that Ben McAdoo, when asked about Tye, didn’t mention him by name, but did let it be known that some young players on offense are on the bubble. I do think so far that LaCosse is ahead of Tye in the competition.

Vereen hasn’t really been out there due to an injury. We haven’t seen too many passes to the running backs, but I’d say Perkins looks the best out of those who have been able to practice. And Darius Powe is winning with a combination of speed and strength, in my opinion.