You guys have New York Giants questions, and you asked them with the #nygmail hashtag on Twitter. So here's my attempt to answer some of them:
- Ibleedbigblue (@tmerritt51) March 19, 2015
@DanGrazianoESPN: Anyone who reads me regularly knows I'm very tough on Giants GM Jerry Reese. I don't think his record as a drafter and a roster-builder matches up with the mythology that the Super Bowl titles have bestowed upon him. However, it's important to note that I consider Reese a man of high character and believe tat he makes his decisions with the best interests of the franchise in mind. There has been a lot of talk this offseason that 2015 will be a "win or else" year for those who run the Giants -- that coach Tom Coughlin and his staff are out if they miss the playoffs again (which is likely) or even that Reese himself could be in danger of losing his job (far less likely). But I think it's a mistake to assume that Reese or Coughlin will operate any differently just because that might be the case. Reese's job is to make the best decisions for the Giants' franchise, factoring in its short-term and long-term health. He might not always make the right decisions, but his decisions are governed by his sense of responsibility to his job and his employer. I don't think anything he's doing right now is being done in an effort to save his own skin or position himself to replace Coughlin. Likewise, I'd be stunned if Coughlin coached any differently in 2015 just because there was supposedly more pressure on him. The one-year extensions for Coughlin and the coaching staff are the result of the failures of the past few years -- put simply, Coughlin hasn't done anything since his last contract extension to justify another long-term deal. So they keep going year-to-year because they like him and hope he can turn it around and give them reason to allow an all-time franchise coach to go out on his own terms. Could they eventually lose patience? Sure. Could it be this year? Yup. But I don't think they're operating in that frame of mind.
@DanGrazianoESPN: I actually think the odds-on favorite to play right guard is Geoff Schwartz, who was signed last year to play left guard because that's where the hole was and Chris Snee hadn't yet retired. Schwartz has played more on the right side in his career, and with both spots open, my guess is he moves over there, assuming he comes back healthy from his 2014 injury problems. But then your question would become "Who in the world is playing left guard next year? Jerry?" And yes, at this point, if they do nothing else, John Jerry would be a candidate. So would Marshall Newhouse, a bench lineman they signed last week. And if Canadian center Brett Jones were to beat out Weston Richburg for the starting center job in camp (I doubt it, but it's not impossible), then Richburg would be a candidate to go back to left guard as well. It's an uninspiring list of candidates, I grant you that. And if I were a Giants fan, I'd surely be hoping there's another viable starter on the horizon in the draft or in free agency. But as of now, given the state of the roster, Jerry looks like a candidate to start at guard again, yes.
- Ben Rosenberg (@BenRNJ) March 20, 2015
@DanGrazianoESPN: I see your point, but let's not forget how far behind Dallas and Philadelphia the Giants were in 2014. They finished six games worse than the Cowboys and four games worse than the Eagles, and they went a combined 0-4 against those teams. That's a lot of ground to make up. Dallas still has the division's best offensive line, best wide receiver and best quarterback. (Yes, I know about the Super Bowls, but Tony Romo is playing the best at this point in time.) I don't know how many games Greg Hardy will be allowed to play, but the last time the Giants saw him he was helping Carolina's front four sack Eli Manning six times in the first 17 minutes of a Week 3 game in 2013. Dallas will find a running back in the draft and be favored to repeat as division champ, and justifiably so. And the Eagles... well, I think Chip Kelly knows what he's doing. He just needs to keep all of those guys healthy, which he thinks he can do, and the Eagles should be a strong contender to once again win the 10 games they've won in each of Kelly's first two years. If you want to believe the Giants will improve and contend, that's fine, and you could be right. But don't overlook how far they have to go from where they were last year in order to do that. This division is not the weakling it was two, three and four years ago.
@DanGrazianoESPN: That's a good question, and not an easy one. They obviously have a lot of depth at linebacker now, but I question the overall quality and a lot depends on Jon Beason's ability to stay healthy (which history says is no sure thing). They like their running backs a lot, assuming a healthy year from Rashad Jennings, continued development from Andre Williams and a dynamic contribution from Shane Vereen as a pass-catcher. So running back might be the answer. I'd probably say wide receiver if I knew Victor Cruz was going to come all the way back from his serious knee injury, but we don't know that. So I guess you can pick Beason, Jennings or Cruz, tell me which one you feel most confident about, and then their position group is your answer. Still a lot of question marks on this roster.
Thanks for all of your questions, and enjoy the rest of your Saturday. I'll catch up with you early next week from Phoenix and the NFL owners meetings.