New York Giants Reader Mailbag: Odell and All Else

Let’s see what’s on the minds of New York Giants fans.

Pull up a chair and grab yourself a cup of coffee as its time for another New York Giants reader mailbag.

From Ed J.

Been very impressed with what I’ve been reading about backup CBs Michael Hunter and Donte Deayon. What are chances that they both make the 53? Also, at tight end. With our 2 new guys plus a good rookie showing by Adams and LaCosse looking like a stud, might Tye be the odd man out?

Thanks for the letter Ed. While optimism is high that Matt LaCosse has finally conquered the injury bug, let’s not forget that last year, there was similar optimism about his chances of sticking around and we all know what happened. I wouldn’t discount Will Tye just yet, but I do agree that he’s not a lock for the roster.

As for the cornerbacks, let’s remember that during the spring, we don’t get to see the corners and receivers engage in press coverage. I’d like to see how both Hunter and Deayon do in that regard. If you remember, one of the concerns with Deayon last year was his lack of size (he’s listed as 5’9”, 158 pounds on the Giants roster sheet).

Ideally, you’d like for your slot corner to also be able to play outside in an emergency, but if he goes against a receiver who, for example stands 6’4” and weighs 230 pounds like Brandon Marshall, that might be an insurmountable challenge.

I know there is much optimism about Deayon—both Steve Spagnuolo and Ben McAdoo have spoken highly of him and how hard he’s worked, so I’d say he definitely has a chance.

Hunter, meanwhile, has been described by teammates as being “smart”—if a defender I smart, that’s half of the battle right there because it means he’s going to be less likely to blow assignments that lead to the breakdown of plays.

From Rick B.

Please explain what is meant by the four-minute offense.

Thanks for the question Rick. In a nutshell, the “four-minute” offense is generally run by a team that is trying to protect a lead and run out the clock.

There are different approaches and strategies to the four-minute offense, depending on the opponent faced, but a couple of applicable core components regardless of the opponent include staying in bounds (sacrificing yardage if necessary to keep the clock running), and throwing shorter and quick passes (high percentage throws and not throws made into tight windows or deeper throws).

From Morgan K.

Beckham looks poised to become a recurring distraction, and as Mike Florio says, it’s probably only a matter of time before he demands to be traded. Now is the time to explore trade possibilities for a top LT.

Morgan, I’m not familiar with Mike Florio said as far as the entire context (I looked but couldn’t find it), so I don’t want to comment on something I haven’t seen/heard.

But I am perplexed as to why Beckham’s failure to show up to a voluntary OTA is still a story, yet barely a peep is made over the fact that Olivier Vernon and Owa Odighizuwa are not there either.

Could it be that they recognize how restrictive the CBA is in terms of what the team can and can’t do to get their players ready and that each guy wants a more challenging workout? If that’s the case, can we really find fault with that thinking?

If there wasn’t such an interest, would there be this “distraction” that people seem to think exists, or would Beckham’s absence be merely a blip on the radar like that of Vernon’s and anyone else who has missed a OTA workout or two?

If Beckham and/or Vernon don’t show up for the mandatory minicamp and are not excused by the head coach, then yes, it’s a story and yes, now it is a distraction. Until then, nothing to see here. The past is the past. It’s all about moving forward.

Finally, I don’t get why people think the answer is to execute a trade. Why would you want to create a hole on your team?

Brandon Marshall is here for two years tops. Sterling Shepard’s performance dropped off last year as the season went on. You really want the team to blow open a hole just because a player is executing his Article 21 rights under the CBA his team ‘s management and his union leaders signed off on before he even got into the league no less?

And do you really think a team is going to hand over its starting left tackle, a premium position, creating a hole on their roster? I’m afraid it doesn’t work that way.

From Joe M.

Re the Odell Beckman issue…here are two suggestions: 1/ John Mara have a spine to read the riot act to Beckman informing him this is a team of 53 players, not one player. The Giants will no longer tolerate his antics on & off the field. Present him with a contract extension which would not be available for signing until season’s end but contains $$ reductions for misbehavior. 2/ Hire Derek Jeter as a consultant to teach Beckham how to act as a professional on & off the field. Your thoughts, please.

Joe, at best, the Giants can, in their discretion, fine Beckham for conduct detrimental to the team, but what among the stuff he’s done (all of which I don’t agree with, so we’re clear) qualifies as such?

He didn’t break any team rules that the public knows of, at any rate. He hasn’t been arrested.  He’s within his right to skip the OTAs that are VOLUNTARY as per the current CBA that his team’s management signed off on, I might add.

Yes, the optics are bad, but what’s worse is that people seem to put him on a pedestal of being a leader, as pedestal he has yet to earn at this point in his career.

The biggest mistake the Giants made with Beckham is not yanking him from that Carolina game. I think that would have sent a clear message that his antics would not have been tolerable. But then you have fans who sit there and scream that he’s the only one who cares about winning and losing, so where’s the compromise?

Jerry Reese, who is normally tight-lipped about his dealings with the players, sent a message loud and clear to Beckham when he told the press that Beckham needs to grow up and that they had a conversation.

The ball is in Beckham’s court. If he doesn’t show for the mandatory camp, then this situation becomes a distraction. If he does, then is anyone really going to remember or care that he skipped out on OTAs?

From Stan K.

It looks as if the Giants may have picked up some interesting OLs in the draft and undrafted group. know that it’s really early and hard to evaluate OLs without pads but do you have any early thoughts on how this will all shake out and how many they intend to keep? I realize this may be unfair to ask but if you have any gut feelings I’d love to hear them.

Stan, you’re right, it is hard to fully get a picture about what the Giants really have on the offensive line until the pads go on. I do think what the Giants have now that they didn’t have last year are options to where if someone struggles at his position or if there is an injury, the coaching staff isn’t stuck without any options.

Whether those options are indeed an upgrade, well, stay tuned. but the early sense I’m getting is that they like this crop of guys they have this year, though the expectation is they are developmental projects.

From Rich B.

It seems to me that both of our lines have improved since the 2016 season. That, plus a few standout 2016 draftees & defensive players, who should be improved. Then add signings this year. The spotlight should be on McAdoo and his coaching staff to produce. What does your crystal ball say may be expected this season?

Rich, I’m always optimistic, though I do try to keep it real. So with that said, I believe that if the Giants stay healthy, I think the offense is going to be much improved and I do think this team is going to be able to overcome their schedule and make it back to the playoffs. The key thing for me is the health aspect.

From John M.

Love your coverage. Long time subscriber Which UDFAs, if any, have made a strong early impression? While too early to draw conclusions, have any draft picks displayed any causes for concern?

Thank for the question John and for your support. Several people have asked me about the UDFA and I have to say that based on the two practices I’ve seen, no one has really jumped out at me. Looking back over my notes from this time last year, I think I said the same thing—it wasn’t until the pads went on that guys started to separate themselves from the pack.

With that said, I do have a few guys I’m keeping an eye on as the weeks progress—cornerback Nigel Tribune, tackles Chad Wheeler and Jessamen Dunker, and linebacker Calvin Munson are just a few names off the top of my head.

I don’t know if any of these guys will make the 53-man roster—it’s too soon to make that call—but these are guys who could have a shot at the practice squad. I’ll have a better idea about battles in the pit or how receivers and corners are executing via press coverage so at that time I can probably give you a better answer to this question.

As for the draft picks, I’m not sure what you mean by “cause for concern.” From all I’ve seen and heard, everyone seems to be making progress in learning the playbook and fitting in. There will be mistakes made by the rookies—there always are. But if your question is along the lines of “Are they regretting any of the picks made?” then I’d say the answer is no.

From Bill M.

I’m an old “shut-in”, and I look forward to these updates. I like to read about the new guys, Gallman, Webb,[especially], and the rest. Thanks for your good work!

And thank you for reading Bill. Let us know if there’s someone you want to hear more about.

From Ben N.

Do you know why Brandon Marshall was working on the side? Should this be a concern since he spent most of last season battling injuries with little production. What about Rhett Ellison?? If he is really just “sore” then why is he taking so much time off?

Hi Ben. Marshall had an undisclosed “soft tissue” injury which is not believed to be serious. Remember, he had a knee injury last year, so it’s possible that whatever flared up on him could be related to that. Neither Marshall or head coach Ben McAdoo went into details so let’s hope that whatever it was isn’t serious.

Ellison mentioned he had a calf issue. I asked him if it was related to the knee injury he suffered at the end of the 2015 season and he said it wasn’t.

Maybe so, and I’m not trying to drum up panic, but that’s what we were told with Victor Cruz’s calf problem a couple years ago, which if I’m not mistaken turned out to be related to his knee injury.

Now with all that said, the thing to remember with these injuries is that it’s only early June. It’s better to hold guys out who are hurting than to risk them getting worse. I wouldn’t worry about this just yet. The time to worry is if we see these guys start training camp on PUP.

From Tyler J.

Shane Vereen seems to be a forgotten piece in the backfield. Can we expect to see a healthy Vereen? What’s his role if Perkins succeeds? And if Perkins flops or gets hurt?

Thanks for the question Tyler. I think regardless of what happens with Paul Perkins, Vereen is going to play a big part in the third-down package. I’ve cited this before, but last year, with Vereen in the lineup, the Giants converted 46.5 percent of their third-down attempts and just 26.7 percent without him.

If Perkins should stumble, I think what happens next will largely depend on how far along Wayne Gallman is in his development. I’m also curious to see if Orleans Darkwa is finally over his lengthy lower leg issue to where he can finally make a serious push for a bigger role on the offense.

And I’m curious to see if Shaun Draughn hangs on of if youngster Khalid Abdullah managed to push him off the roster.

From John S.

Will Ben McAdoo give up play calling and turn it over to Mike Sullivan? IMO, HC needs to focus on the entire game and not just part of it.

John, I don’t get that sense, John. As I’ve noted in the past, if I’m McAdoo and I see what happened when Steve Spagnuolo got some legitimate talent to work with, I think to myself that if management does the same thing for me on offense, I can help lead the offense from the bottom third of the league back toward the top 10.

From Tony T.

Would love to see what your feel is at this stage for the difference in general feel and functioning brought about by the change in coaching as well as anything that seem to be revised since last year.

Tony, I’m not totally clear about the first part of your question given that McAdoo is starting his second season as head coach.  (I’ll refer you to this article I wrote last year about the notable changes between McAdoo and Coughlin.)

As for the second part, I’ve only been in the building for practices three times for practices, so I don’t yet have a good feel on all the changes made since last year.

There have been some little things—the shrubbery that used to separate the patio from the grass fields has been replaced by a landing wall as part of the overhaul of the grass fields earlier this year. There were also a few minor tweaks made to the practices such as adding crowd noise in during the most recent OTA

I think I’ll be better able to answer this question once we get a couple of weeks of training camp in the books as I’ll be there more often. Be sure you send this my way again later this summer.

From Christian

Can Evan Engram have the same impact on offense that Jeremy Shockey did in 2002?

Thanks for the question Christian.  In 2002, Jeremy Shockey finished second on the team in receiving yards (894) and receptions (74), behind team leader Amani Toomer (1,343 yard on 82 receptions).

I don’t know that I would go so far as to say that Evan Engram is going to finish second on the team in receptions or receiving yards, and I’m not sure that he’s the blocker that Shockey was, but I do think Engram is going to have a positive effect on this offense.

The biggest thing he’s going to bring, besides speed and the ability to exploit the middle of the field, is he’s going to force opposing defenses to cover him with a safety or athletic linebacker, which can present a potential mismatch.

Engram, I think will also allow the other Giants receivers more one-on-one situations. So yes, I think Engram will have an impact on the offense, but I wouldn’t say that it will be identical to what Shockey had as a rookie.