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Mailbag: Fits for new offensive & defensive schemes


Mike in Massachusetts: Successful teams build their rosters with players who best fit the systems that are in place. How do you see the fit of the current players, especially on defense, with the schemes these new coaches have used in the past?

John Schmeelk: If you listen to Bob Papa’s interview with offensive coordinator Mike Kafka, Kafka stresses the need for explosive plays. His ideas fit in well with what Kadarius Toney, Kenny Golladay and Saquon Barkley bring to the offense. In 2019, Golladay was third in the NFL in yards per reception. He isn't your traditional speed-based deep target, but he is a downfield weapon due to his size. Toney has the elusiveness to turn short catches into big plays and the speed to win on passes down the field. Barkley has the ability to turn any touch into a big play, so you could see his usage in the passing game increase.

Defensively, Don Martindale's system requires long and fast cornerbacks to play press-man on the perimeter. Bradberry has the physicality and length to play that role, and Adoree' Jackson has the speed and experience to play man-to-man. Xavier McKinney and the Giants' other safeties have the versatility to do the different things Martindale likes to do in the secondary.

Up front, Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence can attack gaps and get up field. The team needs to decide who fits at nose tackle. The Giants will have to figure out the edge position, where Lorenzo Carter is a free agent and Azeez Ojulari is the other returning starter. Carter's ability to set the edge in the run game could be valuable to the new staff.

Alan in Connecticut: Assuming a contract is reworked to push money down the road, how many years are usually added?

John Schmeelk: There's a breakdown on the salary cap in a recent mailbag, detailing how restructuring contracts works. Years are not usually added to the contract (though they can be annexed as voidable years) rather money is put into later years in the form of guaranteed money.

Matt in New York: What will a Wink Martindale defense look like?

John Schmeelk: Martindale uses an attacking style on defense and prefers to dictate the terms to the offense. He will risk giving up a few big plays over the top if it means keeping the offense uncomfortable and out of what they like to do. Martindale uses 3-4 alignments as his base defenses, but that is far less important than what he does in sub packages (five or more defensive backs), which are used in the majority of defensive snaps. Martindale also likes to disguise where the blitz is coming from and what the team is doing behind it. Are the linebackers coming? Is the cornerback or slot cornerback coming? There are no obvious bad fits on defense with the personnel currently on the roster. There is a larger focus on man-to-man cornerbacks in Martindale's system since he often puts them on an island in blitz situations.

Chris in New York: Since the Jaguars are on the Giants' schedule in 2022, will they meet at Wembley Stadium in London?

John Schmeelk: The NFL has not announced its international schedule for the 2022 season yet.


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