With the Giants coming to town this weekend, we went to Big Blue View in search of knowledge about Eli & Co. Ed Valentine was kind enough to answer five of my ridiculous questions. My answers to Ed's questions can be found here. His answers, and the insipid queries that prompted them, lay beyond the jump.
1. How has the change of defensive philosophy under Perry Fewell worked out thus far? What should we be looking for out of the 2010 Giants defense that we wouldn't have seen in '09?
BBV: Well, Bill Sheridan was a complete disaster as defensive coordinator. I think I would have been an improvement. In all seriousness, though, I think Sunday night showed that the Giants are back on track defensively. Will we see that kind of performance every week? No way. Despite being 2-2, the Giants have played well defensively in three of four games (Indy being the exception). Turnovers and special teams have killed them, not defense. Fewell is energetic and creative, and after last year's meltdown, the players are buying what he is selling. Giants fans just hope they continue to get better.
2. How do you feel about Eli Manning? He is a Super Bowl winning QB, but I think it's fair to say that he is not widely considered to be in the upper echelon of NFL QBs. In 2010, is Eli Manning all that he's ever going to be? If so, is that good enough for Giants fans?
BBV: "All he's ever going to be?" I would say that "all he's ever going to be" is already quite a lot. If you don't consider him to be an upper echelon quarterback, I'm not sure what you are asking the guy to do. He is a Super Bowl MVP. He had the best season of his career individually in 2009. The guy has thrown the ball fantastically so far this season. He has six interceptions, but five of those are balls that deflected off receiver's hands and should have been caught. Despite those drops he is completing a career-best 64.4% of his passes. The guy isn't flashy, he isn't sexy, he doesn't have the larger than life persona. It doesn't always look pretty with Eli, and the guy will throw some ugly ducks once in a while. He will never be Peyton. That said, I'll give you Peyton, Manning and Brees. After that, I would argue he is in that second tier of QBs after those guys. It's plenty good enough for me, and I hope he's taking snaps for the Giants for another 10 years.
3. Imagine that you've just been hired by the Texans. Gary Kubiak asks you to tell him the three (3) areas/players/things he should focus Houston's attack on in Sunday's game. Assume with me that you're not a double-agent and actually intend to do right by your new employer. How do you answer Kubes' question?
BBV: Well, first of all the Texans would have to pay a high price to get me to turn over info on the Giants. I can, however, be bought! So, here's the scoop:
1. I would come at the Giants with pressure, and with a lot of different looks along the front seven. Pro Bowl center Shaun O'Hara is out, and his backup, Adam Koets, did not practice Wednesday. If Koets can't play the Giants could have three players on the line at unfamiliar positions Sunday -- Rich Seubert at center, David Diehl at left guard and Shawn Andrews at left tackle.
2. Put the heat on rookie punter Matt Dodge. He has been wildly inconsistent thru four games. He has had a punt blocked (not his fault), and Sunday he dropped a snap from center. The Giants special teams are far from special, and heat on Dodge might get you a big play.
3. Attack Ahmad Bradshaw. As good as he is, he has been loose with the football and has lost three fumbles already. Hack at it enough, you will pop it loose.
4. Brandon Jacobs had his best game of the young season last week, though it seems clear that Ahmad Bradshaw is still RB1, health permitting. What sort of split workload, if any, should Texans fans expect to see in the Giants backfield on Sunday?
BBV: Split? You will most likely see a lot of Bradshaw and a little bit of Jacobs. It's clear that AB (75 carries, 382 yards) is a better back than Jacobs (26 carries, 131 yards) at this point. Bradshaw can make people miss at the line of scrimmage and get yards on his own, which Jacobs can't do. The offensive line has not been as dominant as it was a couple of seasons ago, and that makes Bradshaw the better runner. He doesn't need as much help.
5. Put your name on it: The final score of Sunday's game will be Giants ____, Texans ____. Come the end of the regular season, the Giants' record will be ___-___, and they will appear in ___ playoff games.
BBV: I hate making predictions. But, I'll say Giants 21, Texans 17 on Sunday. As for the season, this game will tell me a lot. Right now I will say 9-7 and one playoff game. I would not be surprised by 10-6, though. Shoot, I wouldn't even be stunned by 7-9.
Sincere gratitude to Ed for putting up with me.