So many questions … Here are a few more you asked me in this week's edition of the SNY Giants mailbag:
Which NFC East team is going to be the Giants biggest hurdle in winning the division and why? -- @AlbiRightBack
Even though the Philadelphia Eagles won the NFC East last year, I kept thinking the Dallas Cowboys were the best team in the division. I mean, they had the NFL's top-ranked offense and a Top 10 defense and they still finished 8-8? That's some pretty bad coaching, and basically the reason why Jason Garrett (now the Giants offensive coordinator) was fired.
New head coach Mike McCarthy will be better for them, I think, and their offense won't miss a beat. And while their offensive line isn't what it used to be, the offense itself is still pretty loaded with Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and Amari Cooper. And now getting explosive receiver CeeDee Lamb with the 17th overall pick? If he's as good as everyone thinks, they'll be hard to stop.
Keep in mind, though, that won't be the Giants' only hurdle. The Philadelphia Eagles are probably still better than the Giants too. The good news is the Redskins are still in the division and a mess, so the Giants shouldn't finish last.
What's with all the QBs?? -- @ihatedeadends
Are five too many for you?
I wouldn't worry about the high number right now, when rosters are set at 90 during the offseason. Yes, having Daniel Jones, Colt McCoy, Alex Tanney, Cooper Rush and Case Cookus seems like a lot. But not when you put it in context. They brought Tanney back because he's a good guy who has a relationship with Jones and they wanted a veteran backup. Then they signed McCoy to compete with him for the backup job. They signed Cookus as an undrafted free agent to mostly be a camp arm and maybe a guy who can be on the practice squad. But that was before Rush was waived, and he's a Garrett favorite from Dallas.
Maybe they'll keep all five in camp. Maybe. But when the regular season starts there will only be two or three. It'll be McCoy vs. Tanney for the backup job. Maybe Rush can sneak in there, but he seems a lock for the third job, at least. Cookus figures to be the odd man out.
Do you think the Giants will make a stronger effort to run the ball and be a run first team this year or is that impossible given that they don't have a great defense and are likely chasing points in the majority of games? -- @FiscellaNicolas
I'm not sure it has anything to do with their defense, and they're certainly not going to concede that the defense is going to give up a lot of points. But I have gotten the sense that Joe Judge wants the Giants to be a strong running team. He shares a philosophy with Dave Gettleman that contending teams need to be able to run the ball in big spots, especially late in the season.
Also, they've got an all-world running back in Saquon Barkley, so it wouldn't make a lot of sense to run a pass-happy attack.
However, here's a quote from Judge on his offensive philosophy: "Our philosophy is going to be to put pressure on the opponent to prepare for multiple things. … So while there may be some games that we throw the ball 50 times, there's going to be other times we may throw it 10 times and run the ball 45 times. So, I don't have a crystal ball. Miss Cleo can help you better with that. But we're going to look for the best system to help us week by week."
It doesn't take Miss Cleo to tell you some of that answer is because Judge doesn't want to give up any secrets. But part of it is the Bill Belichick philosophy he learned in New England. There's no reason to pin a team down to a particular system. If they can do many things well, why not figure out what works best each week? It's certainly a good way to keep opponents guessing.
Who is the second outside corner if Baker isn't starting material for Judge at the beginning of the season? -- @_Ramble_On
There's not really an answer to that yet, just like there's not an answer to who the third corner (or slot corner) will be. It's basically an open competition between Sam Beal, Corey Ballentine, rookie Darnay Holmes and maybe even Grant Haley too.
Of those, Beal probably has the edge, at least at first. Gettleman invested a third-round pick in him so he believes in his talent, but Beal's first two NFL seasons have basically been ruined by injuries. Don't rule out Holmes, though, since Judge was part of the decision to draft him in the fourth round.
But keep in mind the Giants have a lot invested in Baker. He's a first-round pick and they had to trade back into the first round to get him, so any decision on him not being "starting material" isn't likely coming soon. He's going to be the starter opposite James Bradberry this season, barring injury. And his leash is going to be very long.
How many of our coaches are going to get new gig offers after a year with the Giants? What's the effect? The staff, while experienced, will also want to continue their careers in head coaching. -- @Giants_4_Lyfe
That's a real interesting question and certainly a valid one considering Judge added four former head coaches to his staff - offensive coordinator Jason Garrett (Dallas Cowboys), tight ends coach Freddie Kitchens (Cleveland Browns), offensive assistant Derek Dooley (Louisiana Tech, Tennessee) and outside linebackers coach Brett Bielema (Wisconsin, Arkansas). In fact, Bielema flirted with jobs at Colorado and Michigan State while the ink on his Giants contract was still wet.
Surely they all still have ambition to be a head coach again. Dooley and Bielema could certainly get another college job at some point. And I'd imagine if the Giants' offense is really good next season, Garrett and maybe even Kitchens could end up on the NFL interview cycle in 2021.
Head coaching opportunities aren't easy to find, though, so it's not like the Giants are planning to replace all four of them next year. But if they become hot names on the coaching carousel, so what? That's the price of success and it's a good problem to have. Lots of good teams lose assistant coaches and they always find ways to move on.