Friday Fan Mailbag: Who's to Blame for This Year's Debacle?

Patricia Traina

From Tom:

I was surprised that you were "confused about the direction of the club" in one piece because, specifically, they were not playing Love and Ballentine.   

We see players for about 2.5% of their week, yet we derive all kinds of conclusions from that extremely narrow viewpoint. It seems to me if DG and PS want to change the culture, players must earn their field time first and get that field time second.   

Is it so confusing to conclude Love and Ballantine as yet have not met that prerequisite during the 97.5% of the time we are not observing the team?   

Also, I refer to the competitive logjam at CB that likely factors into Ballentine's field time.

As for Love: 1) even during the 2.5% pre-season window, it became apparent to my eye that he is too slow for CB and 2) at S, he would supplant only Bethea, who was brought here, ostensibly, to act as the QB on D.

Tom, I understand your point, and I agree that snaps shouldn't be handed over to a player because he's young or because he's a draft pick

And while the media doesn't get to see practice during the regular season, I''m having a tough time believing that Julian Love hasn't made enough progress to at least warrant a few snaps here and there at safety. I've spoken to many people inside that building, and they're just as stunned as I am.

I know all about the struggles Love, and Ballentine had in the preseason--we documented those in the preseason issues of Inside Football.

And I get it that regular-season games count in the standings. Still, the point I was trying to make here is, wouldn't you want to see what you have in Love after a certain point to determine whether he's a potential answer at safety, especially in a lost season?

From Dave K:

My biggest beef is with the play calling. As we noticed last night when the Cowboys had a play that worked they used it until it didn't, the Giants didn't. One swing pass to Barkley for you yards and not again not did they try it until late in the game. Two reverses that went for good yardage, then not back. 

But run Barkley up the middle 12 times for 24 years, 5 or 6 passes to Engram for about 3 or 4 yard,  trying to go long instead of 10 yards for a first down while Jones was getting his handed to him by the defense. Watch Brady or Rodgers, how many short 5 to 10 yard passes before they set up a run or long pass.

For sure, a long answer, but couldn't Shurmur hand that off to Shula? It is terrible.

Dave, thanks for writing, and yes, I feel your pain. Trust me; I don't like covering a losing team any more than the fans like watching it. It makes my life a lot harder, so I try to do the best I can.

I agree with you regarding the play calling. I've been very vocal in my opinions about head coaches who are their own play-callers.

Unfortunately, I don't think management is going to force Shurmur to hand off the play calling to someone else, at least not yet. And I don't see Shurmur willingly giving it up.

Maybe I'm overly dramatic, but I suspect an argument in Shurmur's favor is the on-going development of Daniel Jones and how, as part of the overall plan, Shurmur knows just how much to give him.

I don't buy that--as head coach, he can have his say over that as well. But maybe he wants to have more control over that process.

From Bruce F.:

With regard to the possibility of James Bettcher being fired if the Giants lose to the Jets, might Mara and Tisch need to look a bit closer at their choice of GM also. After all, he is the top of the food chain and he influenced the hiring of Shurmur, and Bettcher.

Doesn't Gettleman bear a great deal of responsibility for his player and personal choices? He has boasted about fixing the O-line with "hog mollies" but his fixes, Solder, Remmers,Omameh have been just short of disastrous, and giving up draft capital for Leonard Williams, a player who has regressed since 2016 was just plain mystifying.

Drafting Barkley before they had an O-line to run behind was a waste of a pick and drafting Jones instead of Quenton Nelson only compounded the error. Gettleman just doesn't understand that you can't put a cement block here and there and expect it to hold up the house. Just look back to last Sunday, the Cowboys built their O-line then drafted Zeke. The Giants got Barkley and 28 yards, it just doesn't make sense.

Hi Bruce. No, I don't see Gettleman being in any danger of losing his job. I believe the talent on the roster is better than it was last year, and that the coaching is a big reason why this talent hasn't come close to reaching its potential. 

I think it's too soon to say for sure that Williams wasn't a smart move as we really haven't seen the plan for how he'll be used. And give Gettleman credit for cutting his losses on guys like Omameh. (Remember, given the timing of when everyone was hired, Gettleman, at times, had to fly by the seat of his pants until the coaching staff put the football program together.)

Regarding last Monday (not Sunday), Barkley is still hurting and the Giants had some injuries up front, as we eventually found out (plus while I can't prove this, I 'would be willing to bet that Nte Solder's ankle is still bothering him just based on how he's been setting up his pass block to establish an anchor.)

Gettleman hasn't been perfect, but I don't think he's been quite as bad as some people want to believe. Does he still have a lot more work to do? Absolutely. Remember, it took several years of bad drafts for the Giants organization to fall into despair; it's going to take at least three years to fix the mess Gettleman inherited.