New York Giants Reader Mailbag: Early Training Camp Edition

With three training camp practices—the acclimation period—in the books, it’s time to see what’s on the minds of New York Giants fans.

You’ll probably see me say this a lot, but it’s still early and the team still hasn’t put the full pads on to where we can fully assess certain areas of improvement. The Giants will return to the practice field Tuesday wearing uppers for that practice and will hit the field Wednesday in what’s their first full-padded practice.

Be sure to keep visiting Inside Football for camp updates and make sure you’re following me on Twitter @Patricia_Traina for live updates during camp.

And now on to your questions.

Cornerback Depth

What’s up Nick? Based on the lineups shown so far, Michael Hunter and Valentino Blake are the outside guys with the second team defense, and Donte Deayon has been working in the slot.  Nigel Tribune and Ryan Murphy have been working with the third-team defense.

And Mykkele Thompson has received snaps at both the outside and slot as well, some with the first-team and some with the second.

My guess is the last two spots on the depth chart (assuming they keep five corners) will come down to Blake, Hunter and Deayon. I think if Thompson stays healthy, he becomes the swing guy as he can play some safety as well. So stay tuned because the corners are going to have their work cut out for them against this receiving corps.

Tight End Usage

Howdy Reggie. Thanks for the question. Without giving away any formation secrets, I can tell you that Evan Engram and Rhett Ellison have lined up all over the place—in-line, in the backfield, out wide and the slot.

Ben McAdoo must be drooling uncontrollably over the prospect of having so many puzzle pieces that he can swap in and out, and I think as training camp and the preseason go on, we’re going to get a better idea of how these guys are going to be used and in what situations.

The Return of the Big Nickel?

Thanks for the question Robert. On the surface, no, not yet. Remember, the three-safety was used back in the day when the cornerback depth was average to below average. These days, the Giants have a solid three-headed attack at cornerback that doesn’t necessarily warrant the use of three safeties.

Now something to keep an eye on is their dime package where we could see three corners AND three safeties used at once. Steve Spagnuolo is just getting started unwrapping what he has planned for this year, so it’s going to be fun to watch for sure.

Engram as a Blocker

What’s up Andrew? I think Evan Engram will be a functional blocker. I don’t think he’ll crush people the way Howard Cross used to do, but all he has to do is get in a guy’s way to slow him down and I think that will do the trick. As for his impact on Sterling Shepard’s snaps, you might see a slight dip, but I don’t think it will be too eye-popping.

Again, it’s too soon to tell how McAdoo plans to deploy the personnel–will they put Engram in the slot only inside of the red zone or will he be used in the slot in other scenarios. as we go through the preseason games, we might get a better sense of what’s what.

Kicking It With Aldrick

What’s up Phil? It’s Aldrick Rosas’ job to lose, and from the sound of things, this young man is as cool as a cucumber and has been taking advantage of every opportunity to work with former NFL kickers and punters to make sure he sticks on the roster this time.

You can read more about Aldrick’s work with 20-year NFL veteran kicker John Carney in this article.

Looming Disappointment

Wow, Nick. Way to dash the optimism that is running high in camp! Seriously though, this is a valid question. I think all eyes are on the offensive line, which the Giants really need to step up and play much more consistently than they did last year.

This is a team that cannot really afford to scheme around the offensive line, as doing so might deplete what they can do with some of their assets.  Now I’m not saying the offensive line is my answer to your question, but I will say that expectations are really high for that unit to come together and become dominant.

Herzlich the Tight End

So far so good Nick, though most of his work in this camp at the tight end position has come in 7-on-7 drills. I don’t recall seeing him block just yet, so the jury is still out. But I also think that Herzlich at tight end is a backup plan in case injuries hit the position again.

Odell Contract Talks

What’s up Coach. I have said this before and will say this again: I do not see the Giants giving Odell Beckham Jr his new contract this year. They do not have the cap space for one, and I don’t care what people have said–you are not going to ask any of the eight big-money players already on your roster who have guaranteed money due them this year to restructure, which would be the only way I can see them clearing more space.

You also have Pugh and Richburg to do next year and, eventually, Landon Collins. So you have to find a balancing act, one that I believe will happen after this year when the list of guys with guaranteed money drops to two, I believe.

Then there is another reason no one is really discussing. Do they make Beckham the highest paid in terms of guaranteed money? Overall contract value? Do they look to make him the top-paid receiver? And how might the end of the current CBA, which comes in 2020, affect things?

I’m sure both Beckham’s agent and the Giants might want to get a feel for whether there is going to be a work stoppage and if so, will contracts toll? Is there a chance of fully guaranteed contracts occurring?

The bottom line is now is TOO SOON to do Beckham’s contract. He apparently gets it and isn’t concerned about it to take action where he’s holding out or dogging it on the field. I don’t think any of us should be concerned at this point either.

Running Back Check

What’s up Andrew? I don’t have a solid feel yet for the running backs after three days of camp, again, because I want to see them crashing through holes which will come this week.

One thing that did sort of stick out to me is I thought Wayne Gallman ran a little too upright, and I didn’t like how he took his secondhand off the ball when rushing through traffic. I didn’t really hone in on Paul Perkins yet in this camp, but give me a few more practices to gather up some more notes and observations.

More on the O-line

Hey Adam, thanks for the question. Status quo right now on the offensive line as we’re only three days into camp. but do keep an eye on the right guard spot where D.J. Fluker is aiming to challenge.

Also let’s see how Adam Bisnowaty shapes up on that right side. I believe the plan for him is to play tackle, but I’m curious to see if they use him in the jumbo package as well.

Secret Twins?

No. I can tell you that I saw both in the same room at the same time. Okay, seriously, I get what you’re asking, Zain–do they have the same skill-set. I’m not sure to be honest.

LaCosse has been injured his first two seasons so I haven’t really gotten a strong enough feel for what he can do just yet. I’m also still learning about Ellison who, remember, wasn’t able to work much in the spring.

I know what he did in Minnesota, but I always like to see how players are going to be used in their current team’s system before I say that there is a duplication of skill sets.

I know that doesn’t answer your question, but if you circle back with me after the first couple of preseason games, I will have a better feel for where there might be duplication on the roster.

Flowers Update

How are you, Mary? I miss your tweets and thought you left my time lien. Anyway, hope all’s well. Not to sound like a broken record, but once the pads go on, we’ll get the full story.

What I have noticed, though, with Flowers–and I wrote about this in my July 30 training camp report–is to my eyes, he doesn’t yet look comfortable in trying to execute whatever technique tweaks were made to his technique.

By that I mean I saw him bending at the waist, getting his hands outside his opponent’s frame work and flailing his elbows outside on some of his drill work. Those are all poor habits that need to be erased. Now maybe with more practice reps they will be, but we won’t be able to tell until the pads come on and we see him in games.

I was chatting with podcast partner Ed Valentine about Flowers and I completely agree with a point he made about Flowers.  All the weight training and cardio work done by Flowers in the offseason is a great start, but at some point, you have to apply that to your technique.

I don’t recall offhand what the exact offseason rules were as far as the coaches being able to work with the players on that stuff–I think they couldn’t actually coach them until the spring.

But both Ed and I thought it might behoove Flowers to get to either LeCharles Bentley’s school or to work with Duke Manyweather on developing his skill set during those times when he’s not allowed to work with his coaches, as maybe that training will help him become more comfortable with breaking some of the habits he’s relied on throughout his college career.