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Mailbag: Strength of schedule, Toney's role


Dan in Maine: The Giants are 25th in strength of schedule for 2021, how many wins will that equate to?

John Schmeelk: You shouldn't completely ignore the strength of schedule metrics, but take them with a pound of salt. They are based solely on team's records from last season. The Giants play the Saints, but they are going from Drew Brees to Jameis Winston at quarterback. In the NFC East, the Cowboys will be far healthier and Washington will have Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback. They play other young quarterbacks like Justin Herbert and Tua Tagovailoa who might be much improved in 2021. A lot of things change from year to year, which makes that strength of schedule metric a bit misleading.

Greg in New Jersey: With Kadarius Toney adding another weapon to the improved receiving core, when will we see the most of Toney considering the starting receivers are Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton? Do you see the Giants perhaps trading Shepard or Slayton as the season goes on if Toney outperforms them?

John Schmeelk: To start the season, we'll likely see some plays put into the offense designed to get the ball to Toney. As he hones his craft as a wide receiver, he can be mixed in more as a traditional receiver in the slot. If the Giants get to a point where the organization decides there are too few snaps to go around for their receivers (more likely in the off-season than in-season), they may need to re-think their equation. But remember, Slayton has speed and has proven to be a real perimeter deep threat, Shepard is excellent at getting separation and is Jones' most reliable target in the short-to-intermediate areas of the field. They are both good players.

Kevin in New York: What is the likelihood that Kyle Murphy takes one of the guard spots this year?

John Schmeelk: There will be an open competition at guard. Murphy did not play one regular season snap last season, and the media is not allowed access to regular season practices, so there is no way to know how much he improved/progressed during the season. Coming from Rhode Island as an undrafted free agent in 2020, he was taking a huge jump in competition coming to the NFL. Pads do not come on with full contact until August. Until we see him at camp and during the preseason, there's no way to know where he may land on the depth chart.

Kenneth in Florida: With the addition of Kyle Rudolph, how much will the run game use two tight ends and a fullback?

John Schmeelk: The Giants already used 12 personnel (1 RB, 2 TEs) the eighth-most times in the league last year (27.3% of their snaps). You could expect it to tick up a bit in 2021, but you're unlikely to see much of two tight ends and a fullback at the same time because the Giants are deep at receiver.

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