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Mailbag: Impact of Blake Martinez; DJ's leadership


Earl in Texas: Do you think we have thoroughly addressed the linebacker position?

John Schmeelk: Blake Martinez played a great first game for the Giants, leading the team with eight solo tackles and 12 total. They were also meaningful tackles. Seven held the Steelers to a gain of 2 yards or fewer, including one tackle for loss and another for no gain. The Giants opted to play a lot of three safety formations in the game, which meant Devante Downs was only on the field for 14 defensive snaps. Meanwhile, Julian Love played 64 snaps, Jabrill Peppers played 63 and Logan Ryan played 38. Ryan played safety more than he did nickel cornerback, with Darnay Holmes playing 47 snaps. It is just one game, but so far Martinez looks like he was an excellent signing.

Brandon in New York: What do you think of this year's captains and how well do you feel Daniel Jones will break out as a leader, specially with the role of co-captain?

John Schmeelk: It is only natural for the team's starting quarterback to be a captain due to the natural leadership required of the position. With that said, it is important that Jones' teammates felt the confidence in him to name him a captain in just his second season. Jones is more vocal than he appears publicly, and he has the personality to represent the franchise well on and off the field.

I also suspected Saquon Barkley would be named a Captain. He is very vocal on the practice field, and takes on more of an emotional leadership role. His teammates rally behind him. Like Jones, he also has the character a team wants in one of its leaders. It doesn't hurt that he also might be the most talented player on the roster. He has a lot of natural leadership qualities.

On defense, Dalvin Tomlinson is the longest tenured Giant and he will play nose tackle in the middle of the defensive line. He is a steady presence. Blake Martinez was an easy selection since he has the coach-player communication device in his helmet and seems to lead with ease as the team's MIKE linebacker.

I thought Jabrill Peppers would be a captain, but was surprised it was for special teams and not defense. He leads with emotion and energy. If the first game is any indication, he has the chance to be one of the best punt returners in the NFL. Nate Ebner was also a natural selection given his presence on all the coverage teams and his veteran experience coming from New England.

View photos from the Week 1 matchup between the Giants and Steelers on Monday Night Football.


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