Richard in Texas: They didn't have any crowds at MLB exhibition games, but piped in a little crowd sound to make it feel normal, without gaining any advantage. Do you want the NFL to do that as well?
John Schmeelk: If I approach this as a producer/announcer, I am in favor of artificial background crowd noise being added to the on-field sound effects feed during the broadcast to make it sound more natural. Listening to game broadcasts with no ambient sound is too odd. In college, I was forced to call an NYU-Brandeis basketball game in Waltham, Mass., from what can best be described as a sound proof isolation booth. There was no sound feed heading into our headphones. It felt so bizarre doing a game with absolute silence around us that it unnerved my broadcast partner, Matt Brown, and I. It hurt the broadcast.
Chris in New York: Do you really believe the new coaching staff will make some adjustments to the team that could make the Giants playoff worthy?
John Schmeelk: I am not trying to downplay the importance of a new coaching staff. They can make a real difference with their teaching, schematics and strategy; but when all is said and done, it comes down to the players on the field. The most important thing for the Giants this season will be for their young players to continue improving. The players on their rookie contracts (dating back to the 2017 draft) need to become the foundation of this team. The new coaches can help with it, but it is a player's league and the results will be dependent on them.
Frank in New York: I am surprised that the Giants did not choose a wide receiver in this year's draft. The draft was full of them, especially some sky scrapper-type players that the team could have used. Our three starting WRs are not that tall and Golden Tate is aging. I thought they could have picked one between the 5th-7th rounds. Why do you think one was not drafted?
John Schmeelk: The generic answer is that Dave Gettleman didn't think a receiver was the best player on the board when they came to make their picks. Since it was such a deep class, the Giants got Austin Mack as an undrafted free agent, someone with a big wing span that many predicted would be a sixth- or seventh- round pick. They also signed his teammate, 6'4 Binjimen Victor as a free agent. According to experts, believe it or not, next year's receiver class is supposed to be just as good so they could attack it then.
Jacob in Connecticut: With Xavier McKinney being drafted by the Giants, what role do you see Julian Love playing in the secondary?
John Schmeelk: Love's versatility should allow Patrick Graham to use him all over the field. He can compete with McKinney for snaps as the center fielder in single-high defenses. He can move into the slot, where he played in college. He can also play closer to the line of scrimmage, like he did when he replaced Jabrill Peppers late in 2019. In three safety looks, he could be a Swiss Army knife for the defense.
Jeff in Arizona: Do you think Will Hernandez has the stuff to play center? He's aggressive, but not the biggest guy in the room. There are other options at guard, including Nick Gates and Shane Lemieux.
John Schmeelk: The last thing you should be worrying about with Hernandez is his size and strength. He is fully capable of moving people in the run game at guard, which is where he will stay. There will be an open competition at center, featuring Spencer Pulley, Lemieux and Gates.
View photos of Giants second-year defensive back Julian Love.
Ken in Florida: Will the Giants be less predictable with the play-calling this year?
John Schmeelk: No matter who the Giants' offensive coordinator has been in the 14 seasons I have worked with the team, fans have complained the offense is too predictable. And fans of other teams constantly have the same complaint about their coordinators. This is an easy criticism that too often has very little basis in fact. It's just an easy way for fans to place blame.
Tim in New Mexico: How long do you think it will take both units to gel, given the lack of on-field work this off-season?
John Schmeelk: This is the million-dollar question. I don't know. Nobody does. I feel confident the players will arrive in-shape and prepared, given most of the roster's character. But how long will it take the new systems and schemes to become second nature as guys execute them at full speed? I just don't know.
Based on some reports, the first true unpadded practice won't be until the middle of August. Walk-throughs will be extremely important to learn the playbook. Perhaps the coaching staff might reduce some of the schemes on both sides of the ball? Maybe the offense will come along quickly because most of the players on that side of the ball are returning. There is no way to know, given the unique nature of the off-season.
View photos of the Giants' active roster as it currently stands.