NEW YORK GIANTS MAIL BAG | The “Snow Day” Edition

It’s time for our weekly temperature check to see what’s on the mind of New York Giants fans.

As the New York Giants head into the final quarter of a disappointing and lost season, the team will attempt to repair itself  in a stretch of games that features three contests with division foes starting this weekend against the Dallas Cowboys.

Meanwhile, the general temperature of the fans this week has been about the future of the team’s leadership. Let’s get right into the questions.

From John G., (via e-mail): The future of Flowers and Hart

As we know, both Ereck Flowers and Bobby Hart elected to stay at the Giants training facility last off season. What do you think of that decision? Other linemen have gone to one of those specialty linemen training camps. Attending those camps seems to lead to much improved linemen, both in technique and strength. Do you think it would have been better for Ereck Flowers and Bobby Hart to have gone to one of those camps?

Pat Says: John, hindsight is always going to be 20-20, but I will say this. Considering both were believed to have spent their respective offseason at home where there are any number of distractions that might tempt a young man to do the minimum, I thought their decisions to workout at the team’s facility was a step it he right direction int heir maturity.

Do I think they should have worked with an offensive line school/guru? Yes, because unlike the teams, which are limited by the CBA about what they can and can’t ask their players to do, these schools don’t have any such limitations that I’m aware of.

In addition, we saw how well D.J. Fluker played when he got into the lineup. Fluker worked with Duke Manyweather, a well-respected offensive line consultant and scout (and a heck of a nice guy, I might add).

Fluker highly credited Manyweather for helping to get him right and I believe his plan is to go back with Duke this offseason. So yes, I would be highly in favor of Flowers and Hart going to a school or at the very least working with a consultant to get themselves even better.


From Daniel I (via e-mail) – Is Eli in decline?

A coupon days ago Jordan Raanan and some other reporter said that there are some Giants execs that feel Eli is done or really close to done.

Of course, if that’s what they think, then Eli can probably play until he’s 50, because those are the same executives who thought Andrew Whitworth was toast and couldn’t play (now best left tackle in NFL) as well as some other boneheaded decisions.

My “question” I suppose is, have you heard the same thing? When I listen to experts, Greg Cosell from NFL films for example, nobody seems to think that. Seems to be that he’s under pressure so much and just can’t get anything going – happy feet, throwing off backfoot because he doesn’t want to step into pressure and take big hit, etc. Have you heard Giants execs say they think he’s done like that report says?

And that being said, by the way, if they do think that and let that get out, doesn’t that make it harder to trade him since other execs will use that as ammunition to try to get less for him from NYG? Just seems like a strange scenario…

Pat Says: Daniel, I think it was pretty obvious given the chirping that came out of the front office (and I include the head coach) that there was some concern that Eli’s skills have declined. You  even had Jerry Reese at one point saying Eli was on the “back 9” of his career.

And how many times did Ben McAdoo have something negative to say about Eli’s skills? So this really isn’t a news flash.

Now with that said, Manning is still the best quarterback they have on the roster right now, and I’m not yet convinced they move on from him.

I do get the sense that they like Davis Webb a lot, but my very early guess is they’ll look to keep Manning next year, especially if Webb doesn’t get any meaningful snaps, and let him continue to mentor the kid.

I think come 2019, the final year of Manning’s contract, then we might see an official changing of the guard. But again, that all depends on who the new general manager is and who the head coach is.


From Michael R., via e-mail: Can Spags win the head coaching job?

Over the next 4 games, is there anything Spags can do to become the full-time head coach? A

Pat Says: Well, winning all four games would certainly help, but again, all the coaching staff is in limbo because we don’t know who the next general manager is nor do we know who the head coach will be.

I don’t see Giants ownership mandating to the next general manager that Spags be the next head coach. I do think Spags will be afforded an opportunity to interview for the position if he wants it, but I’d say he probably isn’t going to be the next permanent head coach of this team.


Getting a jump on the next general manager.

Pat Says: The Giants need to make sure they make the right decision, so if this means waiting, then they should wait for the season to end.

Look, this is a team that prefers the general manager be here for the long haul. They’re not going to turn over the spot every other year, so it’s of the utmost importance that they do their due diligence and get this decision right.

Could they ask for permission to interview someone on another team? Sure. They’d have to do that anyway if a guy was in the midst of a contract.


Pining for Jon Gruden

Pat Says: I don’t know but can we move on from Jon Gruden? I really think that’s a pipe dream. I mean the guy hasn’t coached in what, 10 years? And there are many other qualified guys out there I think they will eventually look at.


Ben McAdoo’s Future

Pat Says: By “he,”I’m assuming you mean Ben McAdoo. and the answer is yes, I do. I think, however, he needs to go to a team where there is strong leadership and gain a little more seasoning on how to be an all-around solid head coach.

When he came here, all he really knew is how to do things as Mike McCarthy did them, and I said right from the start that was going to catch up with him if things went sour. McCarthy’s way might work in a smaller media market, but as we have all seen, it doesn’t work in the new York market.

McAdoo’s communication skills were sorely lacking, and not just with the media either—you can’t throw players under the bus when things aren’t going well. You also can’t sit there and expect your players to show empathy to one another when you don’t practice what you preach.

I also believe that McAdoo blurred the lines of confidence with arrogance—I sensed he got a little too full of himself after last year’s 11-5 record, so he needs to grow out of that and understand that last year means squat.

With all that said, I do think he’s still a brilliant young mind and I could see him getting another head coaching job down the line and succeeding.


Spags’ Impact n the Media

Pat Says: Put it this way. Spags is a better communicator than McAdoo and it’s not even close. Spags is not as contentious and in fact is quite pleasant and personable. (Plus I jut find that thick Boston accent absolutely charming, but that’s me.)

Personally, I didn’t dislike McAdoo because he always gave me as much of an answer as he could when I asked a question and he was never rude with me, which I appreciated.

But it was also clear to me that he was uncomfortable handling the media and that led to some unnecessary provocation that could have been avoided had he used more honey instead of vinegar.


Untangling the quarterback Webb

Pat Says: There are a lot of things a head coach can plan for, but playing time is something you just have to let unfold. How many times in the preseason, for example, did we hear McAdoo say he intended to get a look at a specific player only to not be able to do so because of how the game unfolded? More than you think.

Well, in this instance, he tried to apply a hard and fast rule regarding when to get another quarterback into the game, but unfortunately for him, that quarterback wasn’t Davis Webb. And unfortunately, McAdoo laid down a hard and fast cutoff for Manning’s play time to end which is what didn’t go over well with the veteran.

So here’s what I think will happen moving forward. First, I don’t get the impression Webb will be active this week. The Giants’ injury situation just doesn’t afford them the luxury of having all three quarterbacks active. But I could see future weeks where maybe Geno Smith is inactive and Webb is active, and the Giants turn to the rookie if the game’s score is lopsided.


Blast from the past?

Pat Says: My position on this, not that it matters since it’s not my call, is I want to see them hire a general manager and a head coach with no prior ties to the organization. I think they desperately need fresh voices across the board.


Team Ownership

Pat Says: Look, sometimes you have to make tough business decisions and this was certainly one. And for bad would it have looked if management would have allowed things to remain status quo?

If anything, kudos to ownership for doing something now rather than allowing McAdoo and Reese, who were both clearly lame ducks given how things transpired, to continue to twist in the wind.


Fixing the team

Pat Says: I’m on board with most of that with one exception—I try to make a run with Eli next year and if that doesn’t happen, I move on from him in 2019. And you forgot to mention the need to address linebacker, which I think is what’s keeping the defense from being a top force (well that and injuries).


On last question.

Pat Says: That’s an easy one. I’d want to know what they’ve learned from their mistakes and how they might be better if they get another opportunity down the line.


Tom Coughlin Part II?

Pat Says: I’m fairly confident when I say he’s not coming back. Coughlin has always had a place down in Jacksonville and I always got the impression he wanted to retire down there anyway.  Why would he give that up as well a sweet job with a franchise that is on the rise to come back here?


Could Spags Surivive the Next 4 Games?

Pat Says: I don’t think so. John Mara has said that will be up to the next general manager, so I really think these questions about Spags’ future after this year or the head coach are premature.


Pick ’em: The Next General Manager

Pat Says: I don’t have one, but I will say this: I don’t want someone with prior ties to the organization nor do I want anyone promoted from within. This team DESPERATELY needs a fresh voice from the outside to shake up more than what’s already been shaken.


Two-for-one Candidates?

Pat Says: Not really. I think John Mara just said that so as to not rule out anyone, but I firmly believe that this team will have two separate people filling the general manager and head coach positions.


Wayne Gallman as the Starter?

Pat Says: No. First, Gallman is nursing a hip injury. Second, as I’ve said before, the “starting” running back is a matter of semantics. You can give a guy the first snap of the game, thereby making him the “starter” but then you can easily not give him another snap all game long.

Unless the Giants are getting a Zeke Elliott or a Saquon Barkley, I suspect this team will always have a committee approach where the snaps are typically spread evenly among two or three guys.


Will Eli be a Giant for life?

Pat Says: That’s to be determined, but I do get the sense that both sides would like for that to happen. But again, until we know who the new general manager and head coach are, these questions are very premature.


Pretty Flowers

Pat Says: He’s been better, but for a No. 9 overall draft pick, he’s also still been underwhelming. With a decision coming on his option year after this season, I’m not so sure that if it were my call that I would pick that option year up, But again, he’s been better this year, even if he has’t always been consistent.


John Greco?

Pat Says: For this year, sure. I mean if there is another injury or if Jon Halapio struggles, I could see Greco getting some snaps as a starter. If you’re talking about next year, again, it depends on if the Giants re-sign Greco after this year, and who the next head coach is.