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Mailbag: NFC East ratings, tight end roles


Abe in Florida: With all the new additions, many fans feel the Giants are good for 9-10 wins. How can they currently be rated third in the NFC East?

John Schmeelk: Who is doing the rating? It should always be the first question everyone asks. The best advice is to either ignore any power rankings in June before training camp starts, or just don't take them seriously. At such an early stage, you can't even call something like this a prediction; rather consider it more of a guess.

There are strong plausible arguments for the Giants, Cowboys or the Washington Football Team to win the NFC East. Dallas has the best quarterback and depth of veteran talent across their offense. Washington's defense was a top unit last year, and the young defensive line may only improve. The Giants, meanwhile, have a strong defense and a young core on offense that could become a strong unit given all the perimeter weapons added this off-season. It's also important not to discount Philly, who can be tough if Jalen Hurts has a strong sophomore season.

In other words, it's June. Don't worry about the predictions of other people. Soon, everyone will know which team is the class of the division.

Anthony in Pennsylvania: Will Evan Engram see less snaps with the addition of Kyle Rudolph?

John Schmeelk: Rudolph's addition won't likely impact Engram's snaps, but you can expect his signing to impact the snaps of fellow tight ends Kaden Smith and Levine Toilolo. Although Engram and Rudolph can both catch the football, Engram has more field-stretching speed and big-play ability that's unlikely to be taken off the field very often.

Anthony in North Carolina: Can you explain to me why a quarterback would be charged with an interception when the receiver clearly causes the pick by mishandling or tipping a catchable ball? The receiver should be credited with the interception instead.

John Schmeelk: The quarterback threw the pass. If you start asking game statisticians to make judgment calls on plays such as interceptions, there will be statistical inconsistencies throughout the league. Stats measure the result of a play, and don't explain why it happened. This is why it is so important to judge players not just by looking at their statistics, but watching their performance on game tape. It's the only way to truly determine how they are playing. There are also analytics sites such as Pro Football Focus, which track things like "turnover worthy plays," which assign blame to categories (including interceptions).

Kris in New Jersey: Will the Giants use a 4-3 scheme this season?

John Schmeelk: You can expect the Giants' most common base defense to be a 3-4, much like it was last season. It fits their personnel – including their large stable of powerful interior defensive linemen, and stand-up edge rushers (including Lorenzo Carter). They do not have many traditional 4-3 defensive ends who would set the edge on early downs. It is important to remember that Patrick Graham will use multiple fronts and four-man fronts will be seen often on passing downs when five or six defensive backs are on the field. So there's no need to be overly concerned with the structure of their base defense.

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