Several years ago, good friend Ed Valentine of Big Blue View and I used to do a feature called “the Friday 5” in which we would each answer the same five questions. After discussing with Ed the possibility of relaunching the feature, we decided to give it a go and see how it works out.
Below you will find Ed’s responses to the questions. You can find my responses to these same five questions at Big Blue View.
If you have an idea for a Friday 5 question, be sure to send it to either Ed or myself.
How surprised are you given how the Giants head coaching search has played out?
Ed V.: I wasn’t surprised all that much, to be honest. I know that you had been beating the drum for/predicting that Pat Shurmur would get the job. I’m not all that surprised that he did. John Mara wanted head-coaching experience, and the Giants needed someone who could address their offense and handle the upcoming quarterback transition. Shurmur checks all those boxes. I guess was I would be primarily concerned about is whether or not his personality fits New York, and whether or not he can command the respect of some of the bigger personalities on the roster.
I was never really sold on the idea that the Giants were really in love with either Matt Patricia or Josh McDaniels. Patricia didn’t fit what they said they wanted, and McDaniels never really seemed to want the job. I wasn’t sure how McDaniels and Gettleman would get along, anyway.
One thing that might not qualify as a surprise, but that I do wonder about is this: The Giants hired Dave Gettleman as GM to chart a new course, to fix this mess. They gave him personnel control. Then they turned around and shot him down on the first major decision of his tenure. It was pretty apparent Carolina Panthers’ defensive coordinator Steve Wilks was Gettleman’s guy. I just wonder if that says anything about how much authority/autonomy Gettleman is going to have.
Peek into your crystal ball. What’s the one potential move you think could see coming for the Giants that either doesn’t make sense now or no one is talking about?
Ed V.: Only one? I can think of a few, and since I can’t make up my mind I’m going to give you three:
- Saying goodbye to Justin Pugh. It doesn’t seem to make sense to start the rebuild of your OL by letting your best guy go, but the Giants might. Pugh is a good, but not great player, and as a free agent he is going demand great player money. He has been hurt too much the past couple of years to deserve it. If you can work out a contract that makes sense, fine, but you just can’t overpay for him.
- Keeping DRC and playing at safety next to Landon Collins. I believe the Giants could save $6.5 million against the cap by cutting him, but DRC is a better player than Darian Thompson.
- Cutting Janoris Jenkins. If the Giants decide to keep Eli Apple and need to make a bold move to clear cap space, Jackrabbit would seem the most vulnerable of the highly-paid veterans. Per Spotrac, the Giants would take only a $2 million hit and would save $11 million vs. the cap by making Jenkins a post-June 1 cut.
Forget about who the next head coach is for a moment. Who would be your dream coordinators on offense, defense and special teams?
Ed V.: I would love to see John DeFilippo of the Eagles get the offensive coordiantor job. He has been lauded for his work with Carson Wentz, and has gotten some head-coaching interest. This will be Shurmur’s offense, though, so I don’t see them working together. I’m thinking along the lines of a position coach who would be a first-time OC and maybe grow into a head-coaching role someday. Maybe Eagles’ running backs coach Duce Staley, though I’m sure there are others who also fit that description.
For defensive coordinator, Sentimentally, the choice would be Steve Spagnuolo. I keep coming back tot he reality, though, that Spags has coached just as many, if not more, bad defenses than good ones. The guy I’m really intrigued by right now is New England linebackers coach Brian Flores. He has already gotten come head-coaching buzz and is probably the replacement for Matt Patricia as Patriots’ DC. Some of that Patriot defensive flexibility would be nice.
On special teams, anyone not named Tom Quinn! It’s time for him to go after all of the breakdowns of 2017. If I could convince Dave Toub of the Kansas City Chiefs to make a lateral move I’d do that in a heartbeat. Otherwise, I think my pick would be Larry Izzo. He did that job in Houston the past two years, and was really impressive during his time working as an assistant to Quinn with the Giants.
The East-West Shrine game is coming up this weekend. Give me some prospects that you’ll be watching and why.
Ed V.: An honest answer here is that I haven’t studied these guys enough to give you educated answers on three prospects. What I will say is that I am mostly interested in the “hog mollies.” Gettleman has been clear about his intent to revamp the offensive line, and clear about the fact that you don’t always need to spend big or use the highest picks to do it. The guys in this game are the mid- to late-round types who, if you hit on one, can make a GM look really good. I will be anxious to see if a couple of these linemen can put themselves on Gettleman’s radar.
Do you think Eli Apple can repair his image and reputation with his teammates?
Ed V.: He can, but I don’t think anyone can be sure that he will. It is really hard to give up on talent, especially first-round talent, but if I’m Gettleman and Shurmur I’m not at all sure after the dysfunction of 2017 that you are being brought in to fix that I want to take the chance.
Apple is still very young. He appears to have been very sheltered. He has a mom who seems to be very dominant, and might be enjoying the spotlight more than her son is She’s definitely too opinionated and drawing too much attention to herself for my tastes. He reportedly went through a very difficult family situation over the past year, one that would have bothered anyone.
You just can’t, though, quit on your teammates. You can’t throw them under the bus to the media. You can’t challenge authority and refuse the directions of a coach. You can’t be so thin-skinned that you threaten to leave because you got criticized.
People grow up. They change. They learn from their mistakes. They have to first recognize that they have made mistakes, though. I just have yet to see signs from Apple that he has learned, or thinks he needs to change. That is what would make me worry about bringing him back.