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Mailbag: Mixed bag of questions heading into bye

MAILBAG

This mailbag features inquiries via Twitter, but please keep submitting questions via the Mailbag portal on the website (giants.com/mailbag).

@cillejones When the Giants struggle running ball, why don't they throw in an extra blocker (a lineman or Kaden Smith?)

John Schmeelk: The Giants do this very frequently. Since Week 2, no team has played a higher percentage of their snaps in 12 personnel (2 tight ends, one running back, two wide receivers) than the Giants. They've used that formation 183 times, which is 31.3% of their snaps. They've used an additional offensive lineman 12 times this season.

@lambdamanVP: Is it too early to start thinking about 2021 free agents? What are some positions the Giants should target, and how much magic will be needed to acquire new talent while staying under the cap?

John Schmeelk: Yes, it is too early, but here are some thoughts. There are three positions to consider targeting in the off-season, whether in the draft or free agency: edge rusher, wide receiver, and cornerback. All three are considered premium position by most evaluators, which will make it hard to get a top player at all three spots in one off-season. It is always preferable to build a team through the draft, if possible.

The salary cap is a tough question to answer because we don't know what the NFL salary cap is going to be set at in 2021. It could drop as low as $175 million, depending on the losses the league takes due to the appropriate attendance restrictions taken as part of the pandemic crisis. The Giants also have to make decisions on pending free agents Leonard Williams, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Logan Ryan. Can they free up some more money by letting other players go? It will be balancing act for them and nearly every other NFL franchise.

@thechegwin: With Xavier McKinney coming in how many three-safety sets will there be? Also would love to see Jabril peppers blitzing a lot more …

John Schmeelk: Even without McKinney on the field, the Giants have been using a lot of three-safety formations with Julian Love as the third safety. We've seen this anywhere from 25-35 times per game, depending on the week. I would expect McKinney to take some of the snaps from Love in that third safety role as he gets healthier and slowly expands his role. I would expect to see McKinney primarily as a deep safety. Ryan's versatility and Peppers' ability to play near the line of scrimmage makes this possible. Peppers has been used more frequently as a blitzer in recent weeks. He has blitzed 20 times in the past four games, accounting for 2.5 sacks and two quarterback hurries, according to PFF.

@GiantThings: Do you feel the Cameron Fleming/Matthew Peart platoon will continue as is after the bye or will the snap share start to shift in Peart's favor?

John Schmeelk: Honestly, it is impossible to know. Peart has made the most of his opportunities and has shown he can handle spot duty. That does not mean he would be just as effective in full-time duty as teams get more runs at him and begin to scout his weaknesses. The coaching staff sees him in practice every day and should have a good feel for what they think he can handle. He has shown good feet, and his length impacts defenders. He needs to continue to work on his punch and keeping his hands inside on opposing pass rushers.

@dman_wwe: After the bye, what does the injury update look like for Xavier McKinney and Oshane Ximines? Could they play vs. the Bengals?

John Schmeelk: We don't know about Ximines or McKinney yet. We will know more next week as the team practices to get ready for Cincinnati.

@Dark_Dignitary: A little more than halfway through this season, what's the No. 1 need the team must address in next year's draft?

John Schmeelk: It is supposed to be another extremely deep wide receiver class, so the question that you face is whether you take one of top receivers in the class early or wait until Day 2, when other very talented players will still be available. Some early reports indicate indicate it is not a strong edge rusher class. Another cover cornerback is another possibility because good corners can be found in most draft classes.

@fyrecracker05 Do you think the Giants should make a playoff push with the situation they are in?

John Schmeelk: The Giants will do all they can to make the playoffs. You play to win the game, right Herm?

@meat1968 Can you compare Saquon Barkley and Wayne Gallman running the read-option with Daniel Jones? Who is more suited to run this play or do you not see a significant difference?

John Schmeelk: It's hard to see much of a difference. Neither play is very dependent on how the running back performs his role. But Barkley and the threat he presents to break a long run on every play obviously draws more attention from the defense.

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