New York Giants Reader Mailbag: Memorial Day Weekend Edition

OTAs, roster questions and more headline this week’s reader mailbag.

The Giants are off for the long Memorial Day Weekend—their next OTA is scheduled for Tuesday, with the media back in the building on Friday. So before we get ready to welcome in what many consider the official start of summer, let’s take the latest temperature check to see what’s on the minds of Giants fans.

From William B.

Hello, I am interested in Kevin Snead and how fast he looks out there? Does he have any chance of landing a roster spot?

Hi William;  thanks for the question. I didn’t make any notes about Snead but not to worry. You can only tell so much during the OTAs and I do try to keep watch on as many players as possible, so hopefully I’ll have something for you in a future practice report.


From Eric B.

Any chance the Giants rotate Jerry and Fluker at guard – taking advantage of what each does best? Use Fluker on 1st, 2nd and short, goal line etc where running is a primary option; use Jerry on 2nd & 3d and long when the Giants are in obvious passing situations. Would make a lot of sense to me.

Thanks for the question Eric. I don’t think the Giants are looking to rotate offensive linemen. When you do that, you disrupt the continuity that’s so important on that unit, so very few, if any teams at any level really do that. I think what the Giants will do is gauge everyone’s strengths and weaknesses and match that to how they will build the offense moving forward.


From Hal L.

Who will have the most rookie success in the NFL: Wayne Gallman of the Giants, Donnell Pumphrey of the Eagles or Samaje Perrine of the Redskins? I predict Perrine. He is a beast and will be among the league leaders in rushing. And Pumphrey is a clone of Darren Sproles who is also adept at punt and kickoff returns.

Thanks for the question Hal. I’m afraid I can’t answer this because my crystal ball is out for cleaning. Okay, seriously now, I think it’s way too soon to be having this discussion.

What happens if Perrine suffers an injury or struggles? Do we know how each team is going to use the three players you mentioned?

“Success” is a very tricky word here. If the Giants ask Gallman to be a short yardage back and he converts 95 percent of his attempts but has the lowest rushing yards of the three, does that make him a failure?


From Karl

Everyone seems to be writing off Matt LaCosse in the TE battle. He showed a lot last year in pre-season but unfortunately cannot stay healthy. Any updates on him from OTA’s?

Thanks for the question Karl. I’ve always liked Matt LaCosse as a prospect, and yes, it’s been very unfortunate that he can’t stay on the field. Hopefully this year he can. With that said, he’s got some competition at his position so we need to see how things play out—can he beat out Jerell Adams for a spot?

We really won’t be able to tell until the pads go on and contact is allowed. As for what I saw, LaCosse looks quick and healthy running his routes. But again, practices are run at half speed this time of year given the non-contact nature, so now it’s best to take everything with a grain of salt.


From Kevin L.

Pat you mentioned that Engram will be exciting to watch but when you think back to Odell’s rookie camp there was a sense by reporters right away that he would be a problem for defenses. What indication do you get from Engram?

Thanks for the question Kevin. If I remember correctly, Beckham had a hamstring issue as a rookie that spilled into the first four games of the season, so we weren’t really able to get a good feel for what was to come, though there were some signs watching him work on the side with a trainer, especially when he rarely dropped a ball and made some catches at weird angles.

As for Engram, I think he’s going to be a much-needed missing piece to the puzzle, a guy who can help break up Cover-2. I haven’t gotten a sense just yet a how much of a problem he’ll be for pro defenses–I’m reluctant to put heavy stock in his college tape given that pro offenses are more complex–but I’m optimistic that his presence, along with Beckham’s and Marshall’s, is going to make covering that Giants passing game a lot tougher.

As the OTAs and camps go on, I’ll probably get a clearer picture, but for now, I sense there is a lot of excitement over the new options Engram offers the offense that might not have been there last year.


From Charles F.

Is tryout RB candidate Johnathan Gray, U. Texas, still with the team?

Hi Charles. No, Gray wasn’t signed to the 90-man roster. There’s always a chance he could be brought back later in the summer if he’s not signed elsewhere, though.


From Dave K.

Do you think this team can be successful without a true FB? I personally think it hurts the pass protection and takes something away from one of Eli’s strengths, the play action pass.

Thanks for the question Dave. The short answer is yes, because most “true fullbacks” are one-dimensional, where a tight end gives you a few extra options you can build into the offense.

Now if you’re fortunate enough to get a John Kuhn in his prime on your roster, then you can get away with having a pure fullback on the roster. However, those players are very hard to find which is why you see more tight ends being asked to fill that role.


From Felipe F.

At this time of the year, a lot of people talk about “finding the team’s identity.” Why is it so important for a team to have an established identity? And if the NYG do have one, what is their identity in your opinion?

Excellent question, Felipe. Let me start with your second question. I think Ben McAdoo wants his team to be known as playing tough, fundamentally sound and smart football, all key ingredients of a winning program. I know that sounds like a cliché, but it sure does beat “weak, sloppy and stupid,” doesn’t it?

Regarding your first question, think of an identity as a reputation. You want to be known for something, especially in a competitive environment.

There are some who might ask, “Well isn’t it better to keep the opponent guessing about the team identity?” To a degree yes.

The problem begins though internally. If your players don’t know what’s expected of them then how is there to be any team unity?

On the flip side, if everyone is aware of the expectations and eats from the same dish, then the team has a better chance for success. Think of past teams whose seasons went nowhere and ask yourself if they had an identity. My guess is if you go through the list, your answer will be no, they did not.


From Kito:

If I recall correctly (sorry if I’m wrong) you always wrote Shockey should have been participating in the offseason program to develop a rapport and bond with Eli. I know the OTAs are voluntary but you don’t seemed to beating the drum quite as hard with Beckham. In your opinion what makes the situations different?

Kito, I don’t remember exactly what my position was on Jeremy Shockey since it was so long ago, so I don’t want to misquote or misrepresent the circumstances. I believe the bulk of Shockey’s career was covered by the very first CBA so the rules were probably a lot different back then.

And now for some Twitter questions…

Thanks for the question, “AP.” I happened to catch one play in which I thought Brett Jones looked quicker than I can recall seeing him.

I also liked how he stayed low to the ground, creating almost like a bowling ball effect which I think is going to help him in his battle against bigger defenders.

 

What’s going on, Coach Matt? Thanks for the question. This time of year, I think optimism is running high, and rightfully so. There are no major injuries to speak of, teams are coming off the draft and coaches are experimenting with all the new faces they’ve gotten from the front office.

My sense, though, is the Giants are more focused this year, especially after last year’s 11-5 season. I think for many of the players on the team, winning and the postseason was a new experience for them.

Now that they know what it took to get there (and presumably what to do and what not to do to stay there), I think they’re going to be more dialed in on doing the little things (yes, even those who have skipped the voluntary OTAs).

I won’t sit here and tell you there aren’t some question marks or concerns—there are every year. I will say that if everything falls into place as expected, this team is going to make a lot of Giants fans VERY happy.

 

David, so far, I’ve LOVED what I have seen from Aldrick Rosas. This kid has a cannon for a leg and I think what started to really sell me on him was how in windy conditions at the rookie minicamp, he was nailing his field goal attempts right down Broadway. With that said, I want to see how he does on kickoffs, which was a problem for the team last year.

I did get to speak to Rosas for  a bit during the rookie minicamp and I like what I heard from him. He’s a very humble young man, very quiet but rather engaging once you get in front of him.

Special teams coordinator Tom Quinn raved about Rosas–you could actually see and hear the excitement he has for him. Ben McAdoo also let a sparkle or two slip out when talking about Rosas. So I get the sense that they’re very high on him.

Obviously they have to put him in a game situation to see how he responds. If he delivers the goods as he’s done in practice, he might just turn out to be one of the most underrated Giants free-agent signings of 2017.