Giants Mailbag: Will Daniel Jones really be pushed by Drew Lock?

All offseason events are over. The Giants‘ roster, aside from a minor addition here and there, is set. Joe Schoen’s job is done. Now it’s on Brian Daboll to craft New York into something that keeps him on the sideline beyond just this year.

With organized team activities around the corner, we thought it would be a good time to open the mailbag and field your questions on the state of the Giants.

On tap: Evan Neal’s future at right tackle, if Drew Lock can push Daniel Jones for the starting job, an update on Wan’Dale Robinson, and much more.

Do you think Evan Neal has the right tackle spot secured? Is it up in the air? – @KxngLenny_

The Giants will give Neal every opportunity to be their right tackle because they invested such a significant resource in him (seventh overall pick). It’s a bad look for the organization if he needs to kick inside to guard – a position he hasn’t played since his freshman year at Alabama – which is why it’s a last resort.

Whether or not Neal can succeed there is another question entirely. I have my doubts. Coaches I touched base with don’t believe he has the balance needed to make it outside. The analytics back that up, too. Seldom do players who grade out this terribly to begin their careers turn it around.

Andrew Thomas, now an all-pro for the Giants, is often used as an example. Thomas had a 62.4 ProFootballFocus offensive grade in his first season with the Giants. Neal finished with grades of 41.8 and 39.8 in his first two years.

Do you believe Darren Waller will eventually retire? – @Megastarvibez

It seems headed that way. Waller, as he’s said multiple times, hasn’t officially decided. But it’s rare for a player to take this long to figure out what he wants to do if he intends on playing again.

The Giants continue to state they’ll give Waller as much time as he needs before he makes a formal decision. That’s nice of them, but not smart business. If Waller wasn’t ready by the start of free agency – fine. The Giants should absolutely have put their foot down and demanded his decision before the draft.

Waller expected to be a major part of the Giants offense. He was third on the team in receptions (52) and second in yards (552) despite only playing 12 games. It’s tough to just lose that the same offseason Saquon Barkley bolted for Philadelphia.

The Giants could have enacted a contingency plan if they knew Waller’s intentions. Instead, we’re weeks from the start of OTAs and Waller still hasn’t told the team what he wants to do.

What does Daniel Jones have to achieve this year to not have them hit the “must obtain new quarterback” button? – @88_Jets

Win. It’s that simple. The Giants wanted a quarterback in Schoen and Daboll’s first year. C.J. Stroud, to be exact, and were prepared to move on from Jones after the year. That’s why they didn’t pick up his fifth-year option. Then Jones played the Giants into the playoffs and beat the Vikings, effectively eliminating any chance they had of drafting his replacement.

They weren’t in a position to draft anyone of note organically and couldn’t trade up because they needed their draft assets to continue rounding out the roster.

That, essentially, is what Jones will have to do again this season. He needs to play so well that the Giants can’t acquire his replacement.

Who is going to call plays? – @Omurray271

I talked to a handful of people at the Senior Bowl and came away feeling like the Giants preferred Mike Kafka call the plays so Daboll could continue overseeing the operation. Fast forward to the NFL’s annual meeting and Daboll sang a very, very different tune.

Daboll usually relishes the opportunity to say nothing when recorders and cameras are in his face. The subject of play-calling snapped him out of that real quick. Daboll sounded very much like a man who wants to, and expects to, run the offense this coming season.

ew York Giants head coach Brian Daboll (right) and general manager Joe Schoen (left) talk before a game at MetLife Stadium.

ew York Giants head coach Brian Daboll (right) and general manager Joe Schoen (left) talk before a game at MetLife Stadium. / Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

You get that, too. There are legitimate questions regarding Daboll’s future with the Giants if this season goes poorly. Remember: While Kafka called the plays for (most) of the last two seasons, this was still Daboll’s scheme, playbook and, in turn, plays. Kafka was just the one picking which the offense ran.

Why would Daboll want to potentially lose his job — the head-coaching opportunity he’s worked decades for — listening to someone else call his offense?

The Giants (Schoen, John Mara) might prefer otherwise, but if Daboll wants to call the shots, they should let him.

Is Drew Lock’s willingness to push the ball downfield a reason why they would look to him as the starter? Or is it simply tied to the health of Daniel Jones? – @APscerbo

There’s a reason the Giants didn’t pick up Jones’ fifth-year option. He won many over when he led the Giants to the playoffs and an upset victory over the Vikings, but his hard-lined, give-me-every-penny stance during contract talks rubbed many the wrong way again. It was a bad look to follow that up with some pretty horrible play.

The Giants will publicly blame the offensive line and various other injuries, but Jones did no one any favors. He went 1-5 as a starter. He was among the reasons the Giants lost in most of those defeats. He regressed in near every statistical category. There were loud rumblings this offseason, confirmed by the Giants’ pursuit of Drake Maye, that more than a few wanted to move on.

Seahawks GM John Schneider’s remarks after Lock signed that the Giants promised him an opportunity to compete for the starting job were telling. He didn’t lie or make that up, despite what some want you to believe. There’s more and more coming out now that backs Schneider’s remarks.

Personally, I have my doubts Lock can beat out even a semi-healthy Jones. He’s not very good. But, at the very least, the Giants appear to be keeping their options open.

How’s Wan’Dale Robinson doing? – @Ark_Signal

Robinson is one I’m excited to see this season. Think about his first two offseasons with the Giants. The first was spent preparing for the draft and the second rehabbing. This is the first time he’s been able to focus specifically on what the Giants want him to improve on. That should lead to a jump after a promising 2024 (60 catches, 525 yards, touchdown).

The Giants haven’t had an elite passing attack since Odell Beckham Jr. split wide, and that was largely a one-man show. They have some really interesting prospects now in Robinson, Jalin Hyatt and rookie first-round pick Malik Nabers. All three seem to complement each other’s games well. It will be fun to see how Daboll deploys them.

The big question: Do the Giants have a quarterback capable of getting the most out of them?

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