New York Giants Reader Mailbag: The Hope Springs Eternal Edition

What a difference a week and a win makes for New York Giants fans. There is a lot more optimism than a week ago after the Giants’ impressive win over the Denver Broncos. This week’s questions more or less center about sustaining the complete effort by all three phases of the game that the Giants put on display last Sunday night.

Pat Says: Just because a player has requested a trade doesn’t mean the team is going to accommodate him. Second, if he’s looking for a big pay day and you’re the Giants, how do you justify carrying a new contract for Bryant and Beckham and re-signing Pugh, Richburg, Kennard AND adding more players at positions where you’re lacking to the mix?

So I say “nay”—let these kids develop and find out what you have. Get Beckham back healthy next year while Shepard will have another year under his belt. And see if you can come up with another receiver to round out the trio since I doubt Brandon Marshall will be on this team next year.

Pat Says: They have to play solid contain on defense and get off blocks. The defensive players just can’t afford to get lost in the wash. It would also help if they plug the running lanes and if I’m Spagnuolo, I would seriously consider assigning a spy on Wilson, maybe a third safety in this case or perhaps the weak-side linebacker.

As for the running game on offense, it’s simple. Get the man in front of you blocked, move guys out of the holes and let Darkwa and Gallman do their things. The Giants had better balance running both left and right last week, so while I don’t know if they’ll be able to do that again this week, I would probably send more of the runs to the right behind Fluker and Pugh.

Pat Says: Trade who or what for whom? The Giants already traded away their seventh rounder for cornerback Ross Cockrell. I don’t see them trading away any more draft picks, not with all the needs they will have this offseason.

If this team were one player away, then maybe I’d see a trade happening, but otherwise, this obsession with making trades in-season that fans seem to have about this team is mind-boggling. That’s not how Reese and company operate so why would you think this year would be any different?

Pat Says: I would be surprised if that isn’t the case given that Weston Richburg is still in the concussion protocol. Even if he wasn’t, if I’m the coaches, I wouldn’t mess with what’s been working, at least not until I see otherwise or have an injury to deal with.  And I would want to see if the line fielded last week can continue to do what it did–one game does not make a trend.

Pat Says: Ben Mcadoo hasn’t made any announcements about that, but I can’t see why after last week’s success Sully wouldn’t get the play calling duties again.

Pat Says: I think they’ll look to address this position in the draft and in free agency. I’m curious to see who among those unrestricted free agents they have coming up they bring back. B.J. Goodson and Calvin Munson are the only two linebackers I believe are under contract next year.

If I’m the Giants, I look to get a pass rushing outside linebacker, similar to what they were reportedly targeting when they were said to want Leonard Floyd.

I think they move on from Jonathan Casillas and possibly Keenan Robinson. I also suspect they finally move on from Mark Herzlich, who is currently on injured reserve. My guess is they look to bring back Devon Kennard.

Pat Says: A lot? Seriously, you’re getting back an experienced slot receiver for your offense. You don’t think that he’d have significant value given that the rest of the current receivers have limited experience among them, especially after last week?

Pat Says: I think both sides will come to an agreement. If anything, if I’m Odell, I realize just how fragile an NFL career is and I maybe back down on these grand illusions of becoming the highest paid player.

Now with that said, if I’m the Giants, I wait to see how Beckham is progressing in his rehab before I do anything. I know there is optimism he’ll be all right, but now I don’t’ see any need to get the contract done immediately after the season is over.

Beckham will be getting a nice pay bump next year anyway, so in my mind, that takes the pressure off them to get something done in 2018. I personally would see how well he responds before I go crazy with opening the vault for him—remember how Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks and Steve Smith were never really the same after their respective injuries, which were also to their legs?

Pat Says: I don’t get the impression the play calling on defense was simplified; rather I think it was a combination of things.

First, the execution as definitely there. The number of missed tackles and blown assignments significantly dropped, which was huge.

I also think Steve Spagnuolo came up with a brilliant game plan against the Broncos. Lastly, not to detract from the effort put forth by the Giants, but I also have to wonder if maybe Denver was looking past them if just a bit.

I know teams claim they never do that, but Denver looked flat across the board as if they were sleep walking through that game. And you had a Giants team desperate for a win that was a bit more fired up.

Pat Says: So far so good. When asked what Engram brings to the offense, tight ends coach Kevin M. Gilbride said, “The obvious one would be in the pass receiving game. Speed, quickness, good hands, agility, run with the ball after the catch, his explosiveness. That’s what he brings to the table as far as being dynamic.

“What he does still pretty well and can continue to improve is his run blocking. Whether if it’s at the point of attack or on the back side. Where he does need to improve is his finish and that’s certainly been addressed. He knows it, he understands that our team needs him to finish better and certainly he takes everything to heart, so he will finish better.”

What I am curious to see as Engram’s role expands is how well he does when teams start to adjust to him more, especially in fighting off the jam.

I’m in no way trying to compare Engram to Larry Donnell, but one thing I remember saying after Donnell had his big breakout game a few years ago was that I didn’t’ think he’d be able to keep it up once he started getting jammed, and I was right.

I do think Engram will fare better than Donnell in this area, but it’s going to take some time for him to adjust.

Pat Says: I’ve always admired LaCosse and have been wanting to see him get a bigger slice of the pie. Injuries curtailed his development though and I think in terms of the depth chart, he’s behind Jerell Adams, who by the way has quietly put together some solid showings as both a receiver and a blocker.

I’ll leave you with this quote from tight ends coach Kevin M. Gilbride because it aligns with what we wrote in last week’s issue about LaCosse’s play: “He had nine plays. I thought he played pretty well. The one ball that was thrown to him was a low throw, but maybe he could have made a catch, potentially make a play on that play. But I thought he could have gotten out of that route a little faster.”

That quote, to me at least, suggests that LaCosse, who is really in his first full season now that he’s finally shaken the injury bug, is still trying to gain a feel for the speed of the regular-season game. The good news is he’s a smart kid and a hard worker, so I think if he stays healthy, he’ll pick it up.

Pat Says: Very interesting question and one I have wondered about myself. I think once Richburg is healthy, he’ll return as the starting center and Jones will kick outside to guard, possibly replacing John Jerry. But I would agree that Jones’ development at center might give the Giants a fallback plan if they decide to let Richburg walk.

My only concern with Jones is that every year he’s gotten dinged and missed time. Richburg, at least until this year, has otherwise been solid and consistent.

With that said, there’s another offensive lineman on the Giants who can play that guard/center swing role—Jon Halapio. This is a guy we were very high on during the summer, so we’ll see if the Giants’ brass agrees, especially if they have limited salary cap space and want to get Justin Pugh, D.J. Fluker and Odell Beckham Jr. locked up long term.

Pat Says: Sure, why not? Anything is possible, right?