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Mailbag: What will offense, defense look like?


Richie in Florida: My only fear with the Jason Garrett hire was if he decides to use the same playbook from his previous years with Dallas. A Dak Prescott/Ezekiel Elliott combo is very different from what he has now in Daniel Jones/Saquon Barkley. Jones will have seen his third playbook in as many years. He is a gifted passer and runner. Will this be a playbook based on his optimum skill set rather than on Dak Prescott's?

John Schmeelk: I wouldn't let this worry you, Richie. It's important to remember that Garrett coached Dak Prescott and Tony Romo in Dallas, so he understands how to customize an offense to his quarterback. He also had many different play-callers there, including Bill Callahan, Scott Linehan, and Kellen Moore. Each of those coordinators, plus Garrett when he called plays himself, brought different wrinkles to the offense.

I'm also not sure there are as many differences between Daniel Jones and Dak Prescott as you think. Both players can run and pass. Prescott has never missed a game and always finished between 277 and 357 rushing yards in a season. Jones had 279 rushing yards last year in only 12 games. Both players are adept at running the read-option and RPO's. Jones is probably more accurate in short areas and Prescott's better throwing the deep ball. Prescott protects the ball better, is a bit bulkier and can probably take a little more of punishment.

Elliott and Barkley are an interesting comparison. Both players are weapons as a runner and receiver (Barkley had 143 receptions over the past two years, Elliott 131). Barkley is a bit more explosive and elusive than Elliott, while the latter is more of a grinder that rarely gets stopped in the backfield. In Dallas, Garrett varied his preferred running scheme from year to year. He would shift between inside and outside zone, to a gap or power scheme, based on his running back and offensive line. I would expect him to find the right balance to suit Barkley's skills.

Wayne in Connecticut: Will the Giants play a 4-3 or a 3-4 on defense?

John Schmeelk: We do not know for sure, but Patrick Graham used a 3-4 more often than not as his early-down base defense when he was Miami's defensive coordinator.

It's more likely he does the same here, but he and head coach Joe Judge have been clear the defense will change weekly, based on the opponent. We could see some 4-3 fronts if the coaches think it will give the defense an advantage against a certain opponent. The majority of defensive snaps will be in sub-package, when extra defensive backs are brought onto the field for passing situations. On these plays, a four-man front will be more likely, though Graham was not shy about standing up a lot of his Dolphins players at the line of scrimmage to disguise who was rushing the quarterback or in coverage.

Paul in Florida: Is there some reason the Giants can't put the offense in one locker room and the defense in the other for training camp? That should help with social distancing.

John Schmeelk: Metlife Stadium has multiple locker rooms that would allow something you are suggesting, but the Quest Diagnostics Training Center - the practice facility where training camp is held - has just one permanent locker room.

Christopher in Maine: The role of the tight end is generally thought of to be more of a receiver or a blocker. Why isn't there a position of a receiving offensive tackle? He may block better and his receiving skills may be less, but it's a teachable trait.

John Schmeelk: The Giants' Eric Tomlinson or Levine Toilolo, would be good examples of an oversized blocking tight end – each is listed at over 260 pounds. But more to your point, you will often see one of the eligible receivers on a short yardage or goal-line offense get replaced by an "XO" (or extra offensive lineman). The "XO" is considered an eligible receiver when he checks in with the referee upon entering the game to confirm his status. These players, however, are rarely thrown the ball.

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