If you'd like to submit a question for the mailbag, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. We reserve the right to edit letters for clarity and conciseness.
From Art S. - How is it that the Giants, year after year, have deluded themselves into thinking that their O-line will suddenly come together without making significant personnel changes?
What's up, Art? This is an easy one. The Giants feel that experience and Rob Sale will be the best teachers of this offensive line. Many people seem to forget that humans can improve in what they do as they become more experienced.
I've been writing professionally for 30+ years, and every so often, I look back at my early work and see a significant difference across the board that has come from repetition and practice. While I still think I have a long way to go, I like to think that I've gotten better as I continue to hone my craft.
The Giants have the same thinking when it comes to their offensive line. And for what it's worth, everyone seemed to scream about the Giants not drafting a lineman.
Can we sit here and say that a rookie lineman would have been better than any of the guys they have now? It's not like there were any Jonathan Ogdens or Walter Joneses in the draft.
So we are clear, I have concerns about the offensive line unit, starting with Wil Hernandez's success in switching to the right side after being a career left guard and extending to the depth behind the youngsters.
From Dan D. - If the Giants finish the 2021 season with a record of 8-9 or worse, do Mara and Tisch make wholesale changes starting at the GM on down, or do Mara and Tish make the same excuses they have been using for the last 10 season about losing?
After Mara's ultimatum about winning now and all the money spent in free agency, how can they possibly defend their management staff with another losing season, and will the reporters covering the Giants hold them to their word about fixing this team?
What's up, Dan? As I said a few weeks ago to this very same question, it all depends on the circumstances. If injuries wipe out key players and leave the Giants under.500 I don't see wholesale changes being made.
If everyone stays healthy and they finish under.500, I could see this being the end of Dave Gettleman's tenure. I think Joe Judge and his staff are safe regardless of what happens.
As for reporters holding ownership accountable, I think you're giving us a little too much credit. I can't remember a time when something any of us wrote resulted in a significant change.
The closest we came is when Ben McAdoo benched Eli Manning, and that was aided by public outrage. Will we write of the need for a change? I know I will if the circumstances warrant it, but I can't speak for others.
From Mike C. - The expectation that all five offensive linemen improve goes against the odds. So who is most likely to make a big step up, and who is most likely to regress?
Great question, Mike. You're probably right in that all five won't improve all at the same rate--that's virtually impossible to do. I want to think all will show some degrees of improvement. However, if you're grading it on a scale of one through ten, I can't see all five guys getting a ten.
Okay, so to answer your question, I think Will Hernandez has the steepest curve right now because he's moving from being a career left guard to the right side. I have no doubts he can accomplish it, but I think it's fair to wonder how long it will take for him to feel comfortable playing on that side after spending his entire career on the left side.
I think Andrew Thomas is the one they need to make the most significant step forward (actually, they all do). I'd like to see him lock down the quarterback's blindside and help with blasting holes open for the running game.
From a technical standpoint, I think Nick Gates will take a huge step forward as this year I expect him to be even more comfortable in his role identifying blitzes and making the correct line calls.
From Joe G. - I'm an Evan Engram fan. News media and fans are generally down on him, focusing on the negative. You have said many times the Giants don't use him properly. I agree.
He has appeared in more games percentage-wise in the last four years than Shepard, more than Barkley in three. He has fumbled only once in 4 years. He gained more yards rushing last year than any other TE. He ranked higher than Kittle, Ertz, and new Giants Rudolph, plus many others, last season. He has more speed than perhaps any other TE who played last season. Selected as a Pro Bowler.
People like to focus on the ball he did not catch against Philly that went off his fingertips, in my view, totally uncatchable since Slayton and Shepard both could not catch the same type of pass last season--I don't think ANYONE could.
Lot's of talk to trade him, but the Giants don't have anyone near as good to replace him. Trading players where there is no one as good behind him hurts the team, not helps. I believe that he is the only player on the Giants offense that every team would want over any other player, excluding perhaps Barkley because of injury status.
Why is there so much negativity surrounding him when they just need to find a way to use him properly? So far, the Giants haven't figured that out? He's a weapon!
Stats, Snaps, and Other Numbers from New York Giants’ Week 2 Loss
Some takeaways from the Giants Week 2 snap counts against Washington.
New York Giants Mailbag Week 2: Super Sized Edition
We have a jam-packed mailbag for you this week, so let's dive right in.
Five Plays That Doomed the New York Giants in Week 2
There was a lot of good to come out of the Giants 30-29 loss to Washington, but unfortunately, the bad, such as these five plays, were too much to overcome.
Whoa, Joe! I must say most people would probably stop reading after your first statement about being an Engram fan, as that sets the tone for your entire argument, which is grossly one-sided, by the way.
You write, Engram "ranked higher than Kittle, Ertz and new Giants Rudolph, plus many others, last season." First, according to who? And second, color me unimpressed since Kittle, Ertz, and Rudolph missed time due to injuries, whereas Engram didn't.
And the Pro Bowl nod you mention? Please. Talk to me when an All-Pro selection is involved rather than a popularity contest vote.
That ball he didn't catch against Philly? Why didn't he dive for it or extend more? I'm sorry, Joe, but that was a catchable ball. And what about the other passes that hit him in the hands or went through his hands? How do you explain that?
If we're talking stats, how about the fact that Engram and Kittle tied for the league lead in dropped passes (8) or that when it came to contested catches, Engram converted a league worse 19% out of 14 tight ends who were targeted at least 70 times?
I could go on, Joe, but the bottom line is your argument lacks objectivity. Engram did NOT have a good year last year, and I don't want to hear about the Pro Bowl, which means NOTHING (it's a popularity contest--always has been and always will be).
That all said, I like the young man. I respect that he works his tail off. But don't sit there and tell me that he had a good year last year when the numbers--and more importantly, the tape--say otherwise.
From Pat R. - I hope they don't do with Saquon what they did with Daniel Jones last year. He was good to go, and he couldn't protect himself. If he can't start the season and is still not ready after a few games and they go 0-2, will he be rushed back?
Hi Pat. Joe Judge has already said numerous times they're not going to rush Saquon Barkley back to action and that they will wait until he's ready so I don't think you have to worry about that.
From Rich B. - With an offensive line that is considered weak, what would be viewed as its strength, and what plays could we expect to see that would accommodate this strength?
Great question, Rich, but I'm afraid I don't have an answer just yet because we haven't seen this unit in pads and hitting. File this question away, and if you remember, ask me again after the first couple of weeks of training camp when they finally get in some padded practices, and I can see for myself where the strengths might lie. Then we can revisit this question
From John B. - Can we officially worry that Kadarius Toney is a likely recurring problem?
What's up, John? You can think whatever you want, but I'm not worrying about Toney being a recurring problem yet. Let me rewind and give you the details as I understand them.
The kid had a cleats issue that was causing blisters on his feet during the minicamp. Not sure how that's his fault, but as someone who has dealt with blisters recently, I can confirm they not only hurt like hell, they also change the way you move. So imagine what they'd do to an athlete who is running around out there.
Do you honestly think it was worth it for him to pushy through with ill-fitting shoes that were causing blisters that could have, in turn, caused him to change how he ran? I don't, and apparently, the Giants didn't either.
The contract issue? I did find that a headscratcher, but then in doing some research, I'm guessing the kid listened to his advisors, who probably suggested he not partake in OTA practices until the deal was done. Although he had a waiver agreement that ensured he'd receive the same contract dollar amount if he suffered an injury before signing his rookie deal, the guaranteed money was at stake.
The family emergency? We don't know what it was, but obviously, head coach Joe Judge had no problem excusing him to attend to it, so why should anyone else hold that against him?
This latest issue with COVID? Until I know the facts, e.g., was he hanging out in a club with a bunch of unmasked and unvaccinated people, or did he catch it from a relative who didn't realize he/she was a carrier, I'm chalking this up to a bad stroke of luck.
If the kid had decided to skip camp or acted like a primadonna or turns out not to accept coaching or earn his playbook, then I'd say there was a problem. But right now, I'd say this kid has been a victim of bad luck and bad timing more than anything.
From @FreddyJ_23 - Do you think the Giants extend Peppers before the season starts, or do you think they wait?
What's good, Freddy? In all honesty, I don't think the Giants will be able to extend Peppers now or after the season, which is a shame because I think he's a player on the rise.
From Rob - Would you be surprised if the Giants signed an OL before preseason starts?
What's up, Rob? Given the news this week that Matt Peart and Jonotthan Harrison are starting camp on the PUP list, no, I wouldn't be surprised, especially if those injuries turn out to be long-term or worrisome.