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Mailbag: First half MVPs, second half expectations 


John in Chicago: How can the Giants keep their schemes fresh post-bye week?

John Schmeelk: I would be careful to assume that after one game there is a simple blueprint out there that everyone can just copy to slow down the Giants. Few teams in the NFL have a deeper or thicker playbook than the Giants, and as teams study their tendencies and frequent plays the coaches will come up with new counters and looks to give them more things to consider when lining up against the Giants. There are limits to this given the best ways to use the Giants personnel, but there are different ways to use Daniel Jones as a runner that other teams have not seen, for example. The Giants are constantly studying themselves to make sure they do not become predictable on offense. Defensively, Wink Martindale already makes a lot of adjustments week to week (as does the offense), so his defense is not something that can necessarily be figured out. 

Overall. I wouldn't expect huge changes. The Giants are still going to feature Saquon Barkley on offense and pressure on defense. You cannot completely shift the character of a team over a bye week, but I would expect similar themes to the gameplans with slightly different ways of achieving the ultimate objectives the team sets for itself on both sides of the ball. 

@RobFoord1990: At the halfway point (sorta) who is your offensive and defensive MVP on the team?

John Schmeelk: Saquon Barkley is the easy answer on offense, and I don't think I even have to explain why. He makes the majority of the team's explosive plays and has produced around a third of their yards from scrimmage. Defense is tougher, and I'm going to go with Dexter Lawrence. He has been the team's most consistent pass rusher and is difficult to move in the run game. 

@AJMarshall3: What are your expectations for the second half of the season?

John Schmeelk: My expectations for the Giants are for them to keep playing sound football and not to beat themselves. This will be good enough to win some weeks and not good enough to win in other weeks. I'm not going to put win, yardage, or ranking scales against any of this. They need to just keep playing good football and I think this team will win enough games to make it into the NFL playoffs. 

Tony in North Carolina: Is there any chance this season that we can Makai Polk get a chance at playing time? We see others and he's a rookie so what are those odds?

John Schmeelk: Brian Daboll nor any of the offensive coaches have been asked about Makai Polk, so I don't have a great answer for this question. Polk is a 6-foot-3, 197-pound receiver out of Mississippi State that was signed as un undrafted free agent by the Ravens before being put on their practice squad. He was released by Baltimore on Sept. 27 and signed with the Giants the following day to their practice squad. Polk has only been with the team for six weeks and is probably still learning the system. He caught 105 passes for 1,046 yards in the SEC as a junior after transferring from California after his sophomore season. He ran a 4.59 40-yard dash at the NFL combine.


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