New York Giants Reader Mailbag: Spring Wrap-up

It’s time for our final reader mailbag covering the spring OTAs and mandatory minicamp. We’ll probably do another mailbag just before the start of training camp, so keep watch for a call for questions on that.

We’re also going to try to have some new and original content for you over the next six weeks, so please don’t be a stranger.

How many Tight Ends will they keep?

The Giants have 5 TEs who all look like they can make an NFL roster. I’d say 3 of them look like old-time TE who can block and catch some passes. Two of them look more like pass catchers than blockers. If the 4th TE grades out as a better football player than the 6th WR, and I think that’s a real possibility, why not keep 4 TEs and 5 WRs? We know that Engram will probably spend most of his time split out anyway. – Sam K.

Thanks for the question, Sam. I can certainly see a scenario where the Giants keep four tight ends and five receivers, but let me remind you that injuries might force them to give up a spot that they otherwise might have staffed.

We see this every single year—a rash of injuries hits a position and then suddenly the team is forced to keep more at a position than they normally would. Regardless, it’s going to be a very interesting competition this summer.

Hope for the offensive tackles.

I believe our offensive line especially the tackles are just starting to emerge as a strength on the Giants, fans tend to forget how young the line is, I look for big improvement this year, your opinion? – Tyrone R.

I’m with you on this, Tyrone. Ever since it was first revealed that Ereck Flowers and Bobby Hart had spent their time in the team’s weight room, I took that as a very positive sign. now of course, the proof is in the pudding and we will need to see them get it done on the field.

But based on what little I’ve seen so far in the practices open to the media, I see a noticeable difference in how much quicker both Flowers and Hart are with coming out of their stances, and I think they are going to surprise the fans if they keep this up.

Revisiting an old roster rule.

I don’t understand why the teams, when the 53-man roster is formed, have to have 7 not dress on game day. The teams are paying them anyway and it seems a way to put a better product on the field if there are injuries during the game –Howard F.

Thanks for the question Howard. I think the league introduced the inactive list right around the same time the took away unlimited temporary injured reserve.

The inactive list gives teams a chance to sit guys who wouldn’t play due to injury—I think I you were to look at the composition of the weekly inactive list, most of the names on there are guys who are banged up.

The weekly inactive list also saves teams the hassle of having to put a guy who might be out for fewer than six weeks (the minimum they have to sit on injured reserve before they can be returned to the regular roster) on season-ending injured reserve.

Improved Defensive Backfield?

I’m interested if you think the backfield will be an improved unit this year after having a year together (DRC, Eli Apple, Jackrabbit, Landon Collins and Andrew Adams) and the return of the injured ‘Thompson Twins’ – Mykelle and Darian. Plus do you see any others getting significant playing time? – Mark M.

Thanks for the question Mark. There’s no question that last year, members of the defensive backfield were able to build a foundation, something they’re going to add to this year.

In watching Eli Apple before he was injured, he looked more sure of himself. Collins looked more aggressive and I thought Janoris Jenkins was flying around faster. Add back Darian Thompson, who’s a ball hawk, if he’s healthy, and the sky’s the limit for this backfield.

As for others who might get significant playing time, it’s still early in the process—I’ll have a better feel for things after the first few days of training camp.  

What about the running game?

There seems to be a far greater emphasis on the passing game than the running game, at least in the reporting. Is that a focus of the Coaches, or just typical of what the team(s) want to work on at this time of year? –Mitch

Thanks for the question Mitch. The Giants worked on both the running game and the passing game. However, the running game is a bit more physical in terms of contact, which is a no-no this time of year.

That’s why we can’t give you any definite opinions on the offensive linemen, for example, because until the pads go on and the drills more closely resemble what you’ll see in a game, all we have is a much-watered down version of things.

Reason to Hope?

From the info you’ve reported on the Giants offensive line, I’m optimistic that the talent, coaching & play calling will be much more reliable in 2017. Am I dreaming? – Rich

It’s okay to be optimistic Rich. I think everyone is this time of year. now with that said while things are looking up, remember all it takes is for a rash of injuries to strike and it can all get thrown out the window in a hurry.

So let’s hope for another relatively injury-free camp this year because I do think all the new talent added is going to allow for that creativity and versatility fans have been waiting to see from the offense.

Early offensive strategy?

Can you see more cohesion with the first-string defense, with a lack of mental errors with being in the defense for a second year for most of these guys? Also does it look like the offense is particularly attacking the defense in a certain way (i.e.. in the middle of the field)? – Kevin L.

Thanks for the question, Kevin. I do see the defense flying around a lot quicker, but again—and I hate to sound like the broken record—until the pads go on, you can’t really get a clear picture of what things really look like.

As for the offense attacking the defense a certain way, understand that the spring is used to teach and experiment with different looks. What we saw in the spring might not make the cut in the summer.

So no, I don’t think you can draw any conclusions based on the spring practices. Also you need to remember that the offense’s plan of attack will change depending on the opponent. Anyway, if you want to ask me this again after I’ve had a chance to watch about 4-5 padded practices, I’ll be happy to revisit the topic.

A Day in the life of a reporter.

Pat, from your time covering the NYG, what is the most (i) fun, (ii) exciting, (iii) sad, (iv) challenging, (v) curious, (vi) unexpected, (vii) boring and (viii) enjoyable part of your job? – Felipe

I love your questions, Felipe. Thank you so much for contributing! The most fun is probably the element of surprise—you never know how your day is actually going to go or what stories might pop up unexpectedly, so you really have to be on your toes.

The most exciting would probably be the games because of the action and then the rush I get having to write on deadline (boring I know, but exciting to me because I have to think quickly about what angle to take and what plan I need to have before I hit the postgame interview areas.

The saddest? I would say when I have to miss a day either due to a previous engagement that I couldn’t avoid or a personal emergency. I truly love my work and realize it’s a privilege to be there. And I really don’t want to miss a thing.

The most challenging is having to adjust an interview in mid-stream. I generally try to pre-script my questions, but if a player doesn’t give a lengthy interview or if he covers multiple questions at once or if he goes off on a totally unexpected angle, I now have to adjust on the fly.

The most curious is getting to know people. Fans seem to think interviewing is easy. It is not. You have to observe how a person carries himself, how he communicates and adjust if you want decent answers. Some guys are also long-winded while others are not, so when you only get 10 minutes to do an interview, you need to make every minute count.

The most unexpected would probably be those breaking stories. Thank goodness they don’t happen a lot where you walk in and something totally unexpected is dropped in your lap, but when they do, they’ can re-route your entire day.

The most boring part of my job hands down is transcribing. I hate it. The funny thing is my interview tapes generally are long, so I don’t do myself any favors in that area.

The most enjoyable is the feedback I get from readers (yes, good and bad). I still pinch myself when I see people respond to what I write and it’s a responsibility I take very seriously. I try to be your eyes and ears, and I hope I do it somewhat justice.

Backup Quarterback Battle

Thanks for the question Edmond. I think it’s still too early to get a sense of who’s leading in what competitions, backup quarterback included.

I don’t believe Geno Smith was a full participant throughout the entire spring, so if you’re going off this spring alone, then no, nothing to see here yet.

However, if you want to get technical, you could argue that Josh Johnson has a lead given that he’s already spent a year in the system.

Anquan Boldin, anyone?

Thanks for the question, Heng. I don’t see the Giants adding Anquan Boldin or another veteran receiver to the mix right now. They’re LOADED with young talent right now and I just do’t see receiver as a priority positionof need.

Now if we’re talking cornerback, then yes, I could definitely see a veteran probably joining the team at some point before the start of the regular season. 

Finding Roger Lewis

Thanks for the question. Yes, Roger Lewis did attend the mandatory minicamp. I believe he had a court date last week on a Wednesday, which was a day of from the OTAs, but has otherwise not missed any of the offseason workouts.

Tye’s Roster Status

AP, what’s happening? I’m not sure where you’re hearing things from, but right now no one is considered the “odd man out.” As I said in response to the first question in this mailbag, et’s see how the injury situation affects the roster numbers—and it will.

Now do I think Tye is a lock for the roster? No. But  I won’t go so far as to say he’s the odd man out midway through June.

Sack King

What’s going on Tim? This is a tough one to answer because , as with any “predict the stats” questions, you don’t know about injuries, game plans, etc.

If I had to take a guess, I’d say Olivier Vernon because I think–and I could be wrong–that Jason Pierre-Paul might see more double-team blocking on the left side, leaving Vernon to best whoever is at left tackle in a one-on-one matchup.