You ask, we answer. The Post is fielding questions from readers about New York’s biggest pro sports teams and getting our beat writers to answer them in a series of regularly published mailbags. In today’s installment: the Giants.
Why on earth did (Dave) Gettleman want Pat Shurmur to win that Redskins game? Chase Young will haunt us for a decade. — Marc Edelman
C’mon Marc, do you really believe Dave Gettleman had the power to walk into Pat Shurmur’s office and say, “Lose this game so we can draft Chase Young.’’
That directive would have to come down from ownership, and that never was going to happen. You cannot tell your football team to lose on purpose.
Sometimes a coach can manipulate the roster to take a look at a young player, and if that leads to a loss, so be it. Shurmur and Gettleman were fighting for their jobs in Week 16, and though it is true Shurmur was already going to get fired, no matter what happened in Washington, if ownership wanted the team to lose, John Mara and Steve Tisch would have had to get rid of Shurmur before that game.
The bottom line is, you do not direct your team to lose. Everyone last year assumed the Dolphins were Tanking for Tua. What happened? They got better, won more games than anyone expected and still got Tua. I agree Chase Young looks like a stud. Maybe the Giants have an answer by taking Andrew Thomas in the first round.
Will Ryan Connelly be back with full speed in a Giants uniform? Love this guy. Full of potential. — Ash
Connelly tore his ACL on Sept. 29 vs. the Redskins, and the only positive to his lost 2019 season is that getting hurt so early gives him a good chance to be ready in time for the start of the 2020 season.
Last I heard, Connelly’s rehab was on schedule. He initially planned on staying in New Jersey and rehabbing at the Giants’ facility, but obviously that is not happening, which is unfortunate.
If the Giants are able to get on the field sometime in August, I would expect Connelly to be limited in what he does but he should be ready, if not for the first game, soon after. I agree, he showed a ton of potential. There will be serious competition, though. Blake Martinez was signed and he will start at one inside linebacker spot. David Mayo was re-signed. Four linebackers were taken in the draft. Hopefully Connelly comes back at full strength and is able to pick up where he left off.
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Do you agree that the Giants have more quantity than quality in the secondary? — Joe Savoia
Well, I don’t necessarily disagree with that at this point. James Bradberry is an established NFL player, so he is proven quality. Jabrill Peppers is a proven NFL safety — though he needs to take another step forward this season. After that, yes indeed, there is more quantity than quality. I would list DeAndre Baker as one of the most important players on the entire roster. He was a first-round draft pick and he did not look like it as a rookie, though he did improve after a terrible start. Baker has to develop into a solid player. Has to. I have very good feelings about safety Xavier McKinney, taken in the second round. After that, it’s a lot of hoping and wishing. I have no idea if Sam Beal can be a strong NFL cornerback. Same with Corey Ballentine. So, for now, there is more quantity than quality, but the potential is there for a very respectable defensive backfield.
Why did the Giants keep (Evan) Engram and not draft a tight end like Cole Kmet, a (Mark) Bavaro type? Engram has not done the job. — Steve
There’s a very good reason why the Giants kept Evan Engram. He is really cheap ($1.9 million in base salary in 2020), and when he is healthy he can be a dynamic receiver.
I am not going to go on and on here about what a weapon Engram is in the passing game, because I realize he is a very frustrating player. Mainly, this is because he is not available enough with his assortment of injuries. And yes, at times he drops the ball more often than he should. But he has talent, honest-to-goodness talent, and it will be very interesting to see if this new coaching staff has planned for Engram.
Jason Garrett with the Cowboys always involved his tight ends, and I am sure Garrett has already put in plays to utilize what Engram does best. Also, behind the scenes Engram is a terrific guy in the locker room and that counts for something. There is no doubt Cole Kmet is an interesting prospect — I would refrain from comparing him with Mark Bavaro just yet — but answer me this: For the Giants, would you rather have Kmet or safety Xavier McKinney on the roster? McKinney is a far greater need and, quite frankly, more of a top-notch prospect.
What are the Giants doing about the lack of speed of the receivers and linebackers? The team annually seems much slower than all of their opponents in the last 20 years. — Len Gunther
You make a good point. Lack of team speed has been a problem for the Giants. Did you notice Dave Gettleman and Joe Judge both mentioned speed as a factor when talking about the four defensive players they took in the seventh round of the draft? At receiver, Darius Slayton has good speed and the expectation is he will take a step forward in his second season. Maybe speedster Derrick Dillon from LSU, an undrafted receiver, can make the team. At linebacker, Blake Martinez is not a jet but he moves better than Alec Ogletree. Kyler Fackrell, another new player signed in free agency, can also get around the field.