New York Giants Mailbag: Expectations and Regrets

With the bulk of free agency done and he draft in the books, what can we realistically expect from the Giants and what regrets still linger? It's all in this week's mailbag.
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Why didn’t the Giants re-sign RB Gallman? – @GregPare1

What’s up, Greg? From the Giants’ perspective, I think they felt it would be cheaper to draft a rookie rather than pay both Devontae Booker and Gallman.

From Gallman’s perspective, I think he just wanted a fresh start with another team.

Now that the picture about free agency and the draft is clearer, and the schedule is out, what do you think our floor is, and where is our ceiling? Also, What is your prognosis of DJ and his final stat line? – @MrTreeAmigos

As far as the Giants' initial won-loss record goes, in this article, I have them going 10-7, which I think is the ceiling. But I don't like to make this kind of forecast this soon because I don't know what the final roster looks like, and there are just so many variables to consider.

The same holds for Daniel Jones. I don't know what his final stat line might look like--will the Giants be behind a lot this year necessitating he throw the ball more, or will they be able to balance the run/pass ratio?

But while I don't want to guess numbers, I do think Jones will throw for more touchdowns than he did last year, and I would venture to guess his interception total won't' be that much higher than it was last year.

Does Daniel Jones have more arm talent than Eli Manning, or did Eli have more, or are they equal? – @guacamoto

I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "arm talent." Are you talking arm strength? Then I'd say they're equal.

 Are you talking about being able to fit balls into tight windows? I'd say that Eli was better at that, though Daniel is improving in that area. 

Are you talking about if they can make all the throws? The answer is yes. I hope that answers your question.

Which defensive players offer the most reason to hope, and who has the greatest risk of regressing? Do you buy or sell on the D improving?--Neil V.

Hi Neil. I buy that the defense will be much improved IF (yep, there's an "if") they stay healthy. I think Dexter Lawrence and B.J. Hill are two guys I'd look to for improvement.

I want to think Leonard Williams will hit double-digit sacks again. And I am hoping Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines come back healthy and much improved. I also like Ifeadi Odenigbo as a pass-rushing prospect.

As for who is at the highest risk for regression, I'll go with Ximines on the basis that some of the snaps he would have otherwise seen had he stayed healthy are going to be distributed to others, including Azeez Ojulari and Odenigbo.

Should the Giants limit what Toney does early to not overwhelm him and give him time to adjust and learn and focus on being a receiver at the NFL level? – Adam Z.

Absolutely not. Why would you want to see that? At the end of the day, how hard is it for a receiver to run X-number of yards according to the route tree and catch a ball?

Yes, he's still relatively new to the receiver position, but with some coaching, he'll smooth out his route-running issues. I do think that maybe he'll share time in the slot with Sterling Shepard, but if I'm the coaching staff, there's no way I limit what I ask from Toney.

Do you think Jason Garrett will open up the offense in his 2nd year? Either by his own volition or because Judge/Jones forces him to. If he can't adequately use Toney/Barkley, will he last the year? – @JesseKolodkin

Hi Jesse. Yes, I do think the Giants will open up their offense this year. I also believe that barring a major catastrophe such as a rash of injuries, if the unit isn't more productive across the board, Judge will initiate a change at offensive coordinator. (My money would be on Freddie Kitchens being promoted to the role if Garrett doesn't work out).

Do you think the giants regret drafting Saquon? they’d be better off if they drafted either o-line or d-line? -- @p+j_rich

Rich, hindsight is 20/20. Do you think the team knew he would tear his ACL or have a high ankle sprain? Come on--that's just not fair. That said, should they have traded down and gone in a different direction?

In retrospect, I think it makes sense, as I suspect the Giants tried to build around Barkley rather than build up a nice little support cache for the next quarterback. But they didn't, so it is what it is.

How do you envision B.J. Hill's 2021 season going? Is he more than a rotational piece? -- @NashingtonD

What's up Washington. B.J. Hill is in a contract year, and usually, players in contract years bring it because they want that big payday. that said, I think Hill will be part of a rotation as no one on the Giants defensive line plays 100% of the snaps anyway.

I saw a brief note the other day that the Giants have added a coach to the defensive group. The term ( I think attributed to coach Judge ) was that the guy brings a level of " defensive genius" to the unit. Know anything of this? – Ted M.

What’s up, Ted? I’m not sure who you’re referring to—was it one of the two defensive quality control coaches, Ryan Anderson and Carter Blount, or senior defensive assistant Jeremy Pruitt?

Can you explain why the San Francisco 49ers were so secretive about who they were going to with the number three pick in the draft? -- Scott H.

What’s up, Scott? I won't sit here and pretend that I know how the 49ers organization thinks since I don't cover them. 

But the only explanation I can come up with that makes any sense is they probably figured that the fewer people who knew of their draft plans, the less likely for leaks and hence the likelihood of someone trying to jump them for their desired target.

Maybe an OL answer is in the building. Kyle Murphy was an under-the-radar UDFA in 2020. He spent most of the 2020 season on the practice squad but was added to the 53-man roster towards the end. Is he an OL asset? – Victor R.

What’s up, Victor.? That’s certainly a possibility. I don’t have anything new to report on Kyle Murphy, but I’ll share with you what we’ve written about him at Inside Football if that helps. …

This primary signing as a 2020 UDFA was a victim of cutdown day but immediately added to the Giants practice squad. The organization promoted Murphy to the roster on 11/13, probably to keep him away from other teams who were sniffing around. Murphy never did see the field the rest of the way but his ability to play multiple positions, which he did at Rhode Island where he dominated, makes him an ideal depth fit on this roster. Murphy will need to get much bigger this off-season, but we suspect that the Giants like what they saw in practices. We can’t wait to see how this competitive small-school talent performs in 2021 training camp.

Murphy, by the way, is not eligible for this minicamp so I don't have nay new information about where he is in his development to pass along. 

Assuming there are no significant injuries to the offense, what sort of results do you think the organization is looking for in determining what to do about Daniel Jones? Would a playoff berth with average/slightly above average passing numbers be enough to convince them that he's "the guy"?

Or do they need to see significant improvements (similar to Josh Allen in his 3rd year)? With two 1st round picks in next year's draft, they will have the ammo to go up and get one of the top QBs, so I would think they need to be 100% sure that Daniel Jones is their franchise QB if they're not going to take advantage of their 2022 draft capital. – Steve B.

Hi Steve. When it comes to Daniel Jones, it’s probably safe to say they’ll want to see his career path follow that of Josh Allen’s in Year 3. If Jones doesn’t show forward progress, I believe the Giants will be back in the market for a new quarterback next year.

You recently outlined the troubles the receiving corps had last year and how the Giants addressed those issues in free agency and the draft. Did Joe Judge also add any coaching help for the receivers? I know that Tyke Tolbert is well respected, but the numbers (the bad ones, that is) speak volumes. Perhaps more input is needed? – Zach P.

Hi Zach. Yes and no. There is no assistant wide receiver coach, but you do have a few assistants whose titles include “consultant” and “special projects” and “senior assistant,” so make of that what you will. 

The issues last year with the receivers weren’t so much on Tolbert and the coaching as it was on the injuries that affected Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton. I mean, Tyke Tolbert is an excellent receivers coach, so you can’t tell me that all of a sudden, Slayton, who looked so good as a rookie, forgot how to play.

What can the GIANTS expect in return when they trade Engram at the trade deadline? – Henry J.

Hi Henry. Boy, you sure sound convinced that Engram is a goner, don’t’ you. If they move him, my guess is he’ll fetch a conditional fourth-rounder at minimum—it would depend on what kind of season he’s having at the point when (if) he’s traded.

Joe Judge said he would not send out a player if he could not protect himself. Now Judge says Daniel Jones was hurt a lot worse than was first reported. Why did Judge send him out there in that condition? Also, with Kadarius Toney can the Giants develop packages to take advantage of QB/running skills? – Pat R.

Pat, I’m still wondering about this myself. Look, there wasn’t much that Judge said or did last year that I disagreed with. But I did disagree with his insistence Jones could protect himself, especially after my eyes told me a much different story.

I suspect Judge let Jones persuade him—but I agree that Judge made a big mistake in green-lighting Jones to play and that he’s damn lucky things weren’t worse than they turned out to be.

As for your second question, I expect to see the Giants design a few trick plays that take advantage of Toney’s ability to chuck the ball down the field. Still, I don’t see them designating him as the third (backup) quarterback—I think they’ll carry a third quarterback on the practice squad.

What are the practice squad rules for 2021? Can the active roster go up to 56 again on game day in 2021? -- @ DrewKochTweets

Hi Drew. I don't know what the practice squad rules are just yet as I don't think that's been decided. I do believe that the teams promoting two players to make the game day roster 55 was initially agreed to in the current CBA ratified before COVID forced some policy changes.

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