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.
How much input will Joe Judge have in Jason Garrett’s offensive game plan? — Ian Brecher
Good one, Ian. Joe Judge will have his hand in everything but he will not micromanage. Garrett is an established offensive guy, and Judge will give him the space and authority he needs to put together his system. Remember, Judge has never called an offensive play at any level.
Now then, Judge will definitely be a part of the installation process each week and will sync up with Garrett, as far as what the goals are that particular week. Once the game begins, Garrett will call the plays. Judge will be listening in and making certain suggestions, such as, “We don’t want to put the ball in the air here and risk anything right before halftime,” or, “If you get the look you want, feel free to go for it here.” Judge will not call the particular plays, but he will have great input in the overall approach and philosophy.
I hate the 3-4, but with G-men running it again and [defensive coordinator Patrick] Graham known to be creative and put 5 guys at the line, what’s a potential starting lineup look like? — Stephen Farrell
I think any discussion about the defensive line starts with Leonard Williams, Dalvin Tomlinson and Dexter Lawrence. Anything other than those three on the field at the same time for the bulk of the snaps will be a big surprise. All three are young and healthy, and Williams and Lawrence are versatile enough to move around on the line, though both are best-suited on the outside in a three-man line. This is a huge year for B.J. Hill, as he was a forgotten man in the second half of last season. He showed pass-rush ability as a rookie, and I would bet Graham sees something in him to cultivate. Otherwise, I would guess veteran Austin Johnson gets a look when Tomlinson needs a break in run-heavy situations. It remains to be seen how Graham utilizes his outside linebackers up at the line of scrimmage. The word to remember with Graham’s defense is “multiple.’’ He will not be set in one base defense for long stretches.
Why don’t they redo the schedule to eliminate long-distance road trips? The Giants could play each division team 3 or 4 times and the AFC East. Or the AFC Central. Of whatever works best. Why go to L.A. and Seattle? Why should the Niners come here? — Richard Klayman
This all sounds wonderful, Richard. However, the NFL, more than any other sports league, has charged forward, perhaps too aggressively, insisting the league can function, start on time and go through a normal schedule while adhering to COVID-19 protocols. Thus, there is no bubble and no schedule adjustment. That the travel in the NFL is less frequent than Major League Baseball is a factor here. Once the Giants get on a charter flight, does it really matter if they land in Cincinnati or San Francisco? If their flight is safe and abiding by all the safety requirements, how far they fly is probably not an issue. Having the Giants play the Eagles, Cowboys and the Washington Football Team three or four times this season would be bad for TV ratings, and the NFL was not going to go down that road. There are risks as well with bus trips, as there are hotels and visiting locker rooms to deal with. When the NFL schedule was made, the coronavirus hot spots were much different than they are now. In another month, they could shift again. Everyone is playing with fire here and hoping for the best.
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If [Saquon] Barkley can throw a football 50 yards from his knees, why not use him in Wildcat plays. Defenses would try to stack the box leaving single high coverage for one or both of the wide receivers to go deep. — J Kushnick
Is there anything Saquon can’t do? Probably not. Using him in the Wildcat? I am not sure I see that in the playbook. I do not want to expose him to any more pounding than necessary, and putting the ball in his hands 20-25 times a game is enough, without lining him up as a Wildcat quarterback. Yes, his arm strength is impressive, but I am not sure how accurate a passer he is, or how quickly he can deliver the ball. Odell Beckham Jr. was a great option, as he had a quick release and an absolute cannon for an arm. Leave this to guys like Taysom Hill.