One of the great parts of writing for the Fansided Network is having the chance to work and interact with all the other fan site writers. Ryan and I had to chance to answer some questions for the NY Giants fan site GMenHQ. We put together some questions to bounce back to Andrew that we though Eagles fans would like to know about our New York rival
Will Perry Fewell change the defense? What can we expect to see?
He already has changed it. But don’t expect a Tampa-2 either just because that’s what he had with Buffalo, expect multiple looks and a very dynamic game plan with Keith Bulluck with freedom to change everything from the huddle. That’s how it’s been, all about the players thus far. Based on passion and emotion out on the practice field this week, he’s been just like one of the guys – celebrating touchdowns after pick-6’s, yelling and screaming, challenging players to step it up. He played hot potato with them on the first day to get them thinking differently. In short it’s been nothing like the Bill Sheridan defense he inherited. Scheme-wise you can expect defensive backs, linebackers, and safeties to be hawking after the ball much more. Instead of strictly press coverage, Fewell has instilled a more deceptive look and a gambling attitude with the players being encouraged to read the quarterback, watch his eyes, read the formation, and then react. Not just press up on your man, but be deceptive and aggressive with the read. Corey Webster, Aaron Ross, and Terrell Thomas are all players that have had great camps up to this point defending the pass under this direction. Antrel Rolle, the former Cardinal has enjoyed the transition to the Giants as well. In short, the emphasis on defense is back for the Giants.
Reports on Jacobs have been inconsistent. Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride basically said he didn’t see anything extraordinary from him yet – but that may have just been him playing it down. Hard to tell with him. But Jacobs himself thinks he has an opportunity here to get back to where he was a couple of seasons ago at 1000+ yards and 5 ypc… we’ll see. Bradshaw though has been ahead of schedule and has been doing 2-a-days from the start of camp last weekend. He’s got his quickness and cutting abilities on full display thus far, and he’s even been taking most of his snaps with the first team. I’ve been high on Bradshaw since 2007, so I’m a bit biased when I say that he deserves to be the featured back for the Giants, and if he stays consistent he may very well get there this year. He’s that versatile. Jacobs may still start in the beginning, he always has been that vocal fire starter for the offense to get things going, but I think Bradshaw is the guy that needs to get the majority of the snaps and its likely he steps into that role this year. Jacobs would then return to the more battering ram persona he once had. Danny Ware, Andre Brown, and Gartrell Johnson are all competing for the third position.
On offense, other than the RB situation I just mention there is LT and WR. The offensive line starters from the last 3 seasons believe they are still going to be the 2010 starters, there are no major soft spots there. But Will Beatty is putting up some competition with David Diehl for the Left Tackle spot and Diehl is not thrilled about it. If Beatty out-shines him and moves into that role, Diehl would then likely push out Rich Seubert at guard. That is an interesting one to watch, but continuity at offensive line and the intangibles of having a solid group of guys there is a high priority for this team. Wide receiver, who takes the #2 spot. Steve Smith is unquestionably going to be the #1, and he’s primarily going to be used in the slot. But Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham have both emerged as threats, and are consistent enough to get that second staring position. They both have improved and can get seperation, Nicks is the slightly more imposing receiver of the two though. He’s built more like Miles Austin, has great hands, and lightning break away speed. Manningham has significant quickness too though, consistently gets open, and can shake tackles. They both have got to polish the finer points of their game though in terms of catching everything that comes their way, and refining their route running. Nicks dropped several wide open touchdown balls last year, and Manningham ruined about 3 critical passes that were reviewed to be incomplete on the sideline with only one foot down – he needs to adjust to the ball better and not tear down the sideline so much in his routes. Eli has been working with them this year though and I expect another surprising year from the young Giants WR group.
AP retired. So at one time thinking a rookie was going to replace him, I’d agree with you and I’d be nervous about it. But they just brought in all-pro LB Keith Bulluck to run the MLB spot from Tennessee. He’s a veteran play caller, a 3 down player, and he’s a good pursuit LB which is not something AP had ever really been good at. So in many ways that’s an upgrade. He’s coming off a knee injury so we’ll see how he does through camp — he’s supposedly at 90% right now. But the very athletic Michael Boley is healthy and looks to have a better year. Virginia standout Clint Sintim will likely start as well and be pass rushing threat. So in the last month with the addition of Bulluck, I’d say this unit has been taken care of well. I predict a solid year from this group.
Tom Coughlin believed in eliminating the opportunity for punt returns for touchdowns, or even good field position. Having one of the best directional punters in history, the best, it played right into the Giants way of thinking about it. Placing the ball inside the 10 yard line, it fires up your defense and if they make a stop there your offense is then in good position. In so many ways that is how the Giants like to win football games — all the little, totally non-sexy, boring details that add up to a lot. So losing Feagles is big in that way… although he has been coaching the new punter Matt Dodge at camp this week. However, Feagles averaged less than 40 yards a kick, so if the Giants were buried in their own territory – he became a liability. There was no way not to take a bad field position on defense in that sense, and so that combined with sub par special teams coverage, it did put extra pressure on the defense all of last year. It may be one of the unspoken factors that led to such a defensive collapse last year.
C Shaun O’Hara is a rock and among the best in the league, and RG Chris Snee is a top 2 or 3 guard. I see no problem there. The questions are Kareem McKenzie, David Diehl, and Rich Seubert. McKenzie went out with an injury last year. He’s getting older. And even though his protection and run blocking were consistently good last year, he may not have a banner year this year. It’s a question mark in my mind. If he can get back to opening the holes he and Snee did last year or the year before, it’s all good. Diehl made the pro bowl, I’m not sure how. He was awful all year in run blocking – the Giants could NOT run left! Do you know how frustrating it is to watch Kevin Gilbride call the same play three times in a row on the goal line and have it stuffed each time? Pathetic. But the real weak link in most peoples eyes, if there has to be one, is Rich Seubert. He’s 31, he may have lost his edge, coming off an injury, not great in run or pass blocking… it might be time to have him at backup. And if that happens, Diehl moves over to Guard and the former second-round pick Will Beatty may move up to starting Left Tackle.
I think there will be a rotation, but not movement to other positions. Tuck and Kiwanuka are the starters right now at DE. Umenyiora got moved to 3rd down pass rushing specialist and he only recently (today) embraced his role coming off the bench. Kiwanuka is much better in run support though, and out played Osi last year to take over that starting role. However, Tuck will often move inside to tackle and they’ll play with 3 or even 4 DE’s on the line to try and get some extra pressure on the QB. It’s a recipe with a lot of success, and I expect to see that in the mix this year. With Pierre-Paul coming in, I’m not sure he’s ready to step into that role beyond the exhibition games. He’s had his moments at camp so far, but he’s not as consistent as they’d like him yet.
I would think NY fans don’t care, Jets fans love it, and Giants despise hate it, but at the same time Giants fans see right through it. Are there things to be admired? Of course, but calling it Jets Stadium is out of the question. Now I can’t speak for all Giants fans when I say this next part, but I really balk at the Jets for making an issue out of this. After one season they think it’s that easy to come in and take center stage? Let me be clear about this — pay your dues before you start writing those kinds of checks. Look at the Giants recent history. Tom Coughlin took his team to the playoffs 4 of 5 years as head coach and won Superbowl 42 against one of the best teams of all time. Nothing the Jets have done in one year with Rex Ryan, Revis, and Sanchez can compare to that. They’d have to go all the way this year, and it still might not compare. It’s going to take some time for Sanchez to emerge, and everyone needs to remember that. Eli Manning knows what it’s like to go through the ringer in NY and come out golden on the other side, it takes more than two years unfortunately. Having bravado this early is one thing, but humility shouldn’t be that far behind come game one of the preseason. Go Giants.
Thanks again to Andrew at GMen HQ for answering our questions. If you wanna know more about the Giants I’d suggest you check out his blog, he’s been doing some great work over there. We hope to have some input from other teams in the NFC East, so if you have anything you’d like to know about the Cowboys or Redskins, let us know and we’ll make sure to ask them. You can leave a comment in this post or tweet us on twitter @InsideTheIggles !