You ask, we answer. The Post is fielding questions from readers about New York’s biggest pro sports teams and getting our beat writers to answer them in a series of regularly published mailbags. In today’s installment: the Giants.
What would be the best-case and worst-case scenarios for the DeAndre Baker situation as far as the Giants organization is concerned and what backup would there be if he cannot be a part of the team by the time the season starts? — Daniel D.
It’s a sticky situation. The best-case scenario for the Giants is the charges get thrown out entirely. That would clear Baker from any legal entanglements. The NFL, even if the case is dismissed, still is allowed to administer discipline based on the personal conduct policy in the collective bargaining agreement.
It would be best for the Giants if the league were to determine Baker did nothing to warrant any discipline, considering the case is thrown out in this scenario. That could happen, but it is unlikely. So, I suppose the next best-case scenario for the Giants is for Baker to get suspended for a game or two. He would be allowed to practice with the team. At this point, I believe the Giants would sign up for that. Baker was going to have to compete for a starting job even if none of this happened, most likely with Sam Beal. Don’t forget, there is a new coaching staff on the scene and everyone has a clean slate.
Do you believe that the owners and the GM are resigned to another poor won-loss record in 2020, considering the Giants lack a pass rush and an A+ receiver? Is this another building year for the Giants? — James Lutfy
No, I do not believe Giants ownership is resigned to a bad record this season. I do not think John Mara nor Steve Tisch is under any illusion that this is a Super Bowl team, and they probably do not evaluate this as a playoff team, either. This does not mean their expectations are very low. Let’s face it, this franchise is coming off seasons with three, five and four wins the past three seasons. There must be signs of progress. There cannot be empty seats (if fans are allowed back at some point) or loads of Cowboys or Eagles fans at MetLife Stadium late in the season. Yes, it is another building year for the Giants but the bar is not set very high. If they win seven games it is tangible progress. If they win six games and look like a much-improved team it could be a sign of progress. Don’t forget, they have a first-time head coach and they will be patient with him.
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I noticed that Saquon lost a step last year because of his injuries. Is the training staff working with him to get that step back year? — Dewey Johnson
I would not say Saquon Barkley “lost a step’’ last season. He was dealing with a high ankle sprain. He came back earlier than he should have, which was commendable on his part but clearly left him less than 100 percent. A running back cannot hide a high ankle sprain. The injury happened Week 3 and Barkley was not fully himself the rest of the way. He said last week at some point this offseason the ankle felt back to normal. He needed rest to heal up. I suspect he will have not lost a step at all when we next see him on the field.
Which of the 2020 NFL Draft picks that the Giants selected do you think will play on Sept. 14 against the Steelers? — Chris Fiegler
If the Giants indeed play that game Sept. 14, I would expect Andrew Thomas to be the starting right tackle and Xavier McKinney as the starting free safety. I would think third-round pick Matt Peart will probably be inactive and cornerback Darnay Holmes will be active for special teams and maybe in some defensive sub packages. Maybe Shane Lemieux will be a reserve guard/center. I would not anticipate any of the other draft picks playing in the opener. But there is always the potential for surprises.
Do you see Joe Judge replacing Dave Gettleman when he retires as the GM like Bill Belichick is with the Patriots (both coach and GM)? — Mark Joseph
I do not. Giants ownership strongly believes in a separation of power. They have a structure that includes a general manager at the top of the football operation and there is no reason to believe they will stray from that. The head coach for the Giants has plenty of input on his roster but he does not have final say; that rests with the general manager. Dave Gettleman is 69 and he will not be on the job forever. It will not be Judge as the replacement. Bill Belichick is the exception. Usually a coach/GM role in the NFL does not work very well — too much on one person’s plate. I could see Kevin Abrams, the longtime assistant GM, as Gettleman’s possible successor.
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