Even though the Giants are coming off their most successful regular season since 2008 and their first playoff berth since 2011, their season-ending, 38-13 loss in Green Bay in the wild-card round left a bad taste in everyone's mouth. It also left the Giants heading into the offseason with plenty of difficult questions.
You asked them, so I'll answer as many as I can in two installments of the first offseason edition of my SNY Giants Twitter mailbag. Here is Part II:
Is it time for the Giants to draft their next franchise quarterback? -- @kennyg825
In a word, no. I actually wrote about this here last week, and my opinion remains unchanged. I believe the Giants should keep their eyes open for an opportunity to find their next franchise quarterback, but they shouldn't move on it this early unless the opportunity is too good to pass up. Yes, if the next Aaron Rodgers fell to them at 23 they should pounce. But as of right now, I don't see the next Aaron Rodgers in this draft. Some scouts aren't sure there's a franchise quarterback at all.
Could the Giants see someone they think will be a franchise quarterback someday? It's possible. But Eli Manning is 36 years old, which even GM Jerry Reese said isn't "ancient" for a quarterback. He's got three more years left on his contract and, barring a surprise injury, is likely to play them out. He's also not exactly a quarterback in obvious decline. No, this wasn't his best season, but let's be real: It's not like his ability and numbers fell off a cliff. If this is the beginning of a decline, it's starting pretty slowly.
So I don't know why the Giants would want their next franchise quarterback sitting on their bench for two or three years. It worked eventually with Rodgers in Green Bay, but remember it was really messy for a while. Rodgers didn't want to sit. Brett Favre never actually warmed to the idea. Fans were divided and a controversy was created every time Favre struggled. Eventually, a legend was essentially forced to "retire."
I believe the Giants should wait until they know Manning is at the end, whether it's the end of his contract, or when it's crystal clear on the field that he just can't do it anymore. Who knows what opportunities there will be two, three years down the line when they're looking for a quarterback? Maybe they'll find themselves at the top of the draft again. Maybe someone will be available in trade. Maybe by then they'll have identified a Dak Prescott in the later rounds.
So wait for it. There's no reason to rush now and start the slow push of Manning out the door.
Will McAdoo stop calling offensive plays? -- @robcube
I doubt it. I think he'll consider it during the offseason. I think there might be one or two people in the front office who might even suggest it to him. I think they are going to take a long, hard look at why this offense plummeted from being in the Top 10 to 25th overall, 26th in scoring, and why it couldn't score 30 points in a game all season long or even 20 in a game over the last month.
In the end, though, I think he believes that since it's his offense, he's the best one to call the plays. I also think the Giants will defer to him on that because he called the plays in 2014 and 2015 when they were a Top 10 offense. It's not like he suddenly forgot how to do that. They have to figure out the reason those play calls didn't work.
Is it because he was somehow distracted by his other coaching duties? That since he had to oversee everything and worry about the flow of the game, the clock, etc., that he lost his feel for the offense? I guess that can't be ruled out. But there's not really a lot of evidence to support that. For one thing, he's not on an island. He does have an offensive coordinator (Mike Sullivan) who has input.
For another, they review things every week. A big complaint from fans was that the Giants used the same sets -- three-receiver formations -- most of the time. That wasn't because McAdoo was distracted or overwhelmed or somehow lost track. That's something they'd see on the film every week and discuss it for six days leading up to each game.
So ask yourself why that happened? It's because of personnel. It's because he had no good tight ends, no fullback. It's because that was, by far, the Giants' most effective personnel group. And look deeper at why McAdoo's plays didn't work. Were they bad calls? You can't say they were bad just because they didn't work. You have to ask why they didn't work.
And for that, look at all the drops. Look at the terrible blocking that killed running plays before the running backs hit the line of scrimmage, or the amount of times Manning was forced to rush his throws. It's not fair to be myopic about this.
In the playoff game in Green Bay alone, McAdoo's play calls should have resulted in touchdowns on the first two drives. But Odell Beckham, Jr. dropped an easy third-down pass on one drive, then Beckham and Sterling Shepard dropped passes in the end zone on the next one.
That wasn't a problem with the play-calling.
That's not to say McAdoo's play-calling was perfect. I would've preferred to see him get more creative with Beckham, who had a lot of catches and yards, but as far as impact had a quiet season. Defenses ganged up on him and maybe they could've done a better job of finding ways to get him open. Of course, it would've helped if Victor Cruz and the tight ends could've gotten open consistently too.
I believe that's the same conclusion McAdoo and the Giants will reach this offseason. That with better personnel on offense and better play overall, McAdoo's calls would've been just fine.
Any idea if the Giants plan to truly address TE or LB? Been reluctant to use high picks on those positions & it shows -- @EddyLongview
I'm not sure if "reluctant" is fair. Remember, last year, linebacker Leonard Floyd was atop their draft wishlist before the Bears jumped over them to grab him. There have been other linebackers they've considered in the past. Same with tight ends, though they've definitely been more reluctant to take those high for a variety of reasons.
Plus, they've tried to address linebacker. They have a couple of promising young players they like in Devon Kennard and B.J. Goodson. They brought in some underrated veterans like Jonathan Casillas, Keenan Robinson, and Kelvin Sheppard. They don't want to overspend on that spot because they are very often in nickel or dime defenses, so they're only using one or two linebackers at a time. That's a reality of today's pass-happy NFL. They'll prioritize a linebacker if he's a pass-rusher, and there aren't a ton of those readily available.
Their reasons for not fully addressing the tight end spot are different. They had a philosophy for a long time that they could develop a good tight end. They got great production out of Kevin Boss, who was a fifth-round pick. They developed Jake Ballard, an undrafted free agent. They got production out of Martellus Bennett, who at the time was a free agent that nobody wanted because he had done nothing with the Cowboys. They even turned Larry Donnell, another undrafted free agent, into a guy who caught 63 passes in 2014 and was on his way to 60-ish in 2015 before he got hurt.
Obviously Donnell regressed and Will Tye has issues with blocking and receiving so that plan has hurt them for the last season and a half. But that's still the reason they haven't spent a high pick on the position -- the feeling that they can develop tight ends.
Anyway, to answer your question about whether they plan to "truly address" the positions, I get the sense they like the linebackers they have, but they are very open to improving at tight end during the offseason. It's hard to say right now if there is a player they'd consider with the 23rd pick in the first round of the draft. There are a few interesting free agents set to hit the market -- Jordan Cameron, Jermaine Gresham, Jared Cook, and Bennett.
It's too early to say for sure, but I wouldn't be surprised if they dip into that free agent pool.