Since the Redskins are in OTA's this month and stories are light, I thought I'd steal borrow Ed's idea, the Giants' SB Nation blogger, to ping our NFC East foes on the status of their team. Here's is my Q & A with Big Blue View friend, Ed Valentine:
Hogs Haven: Will Osi Umenyiora be 100% to start the season? Also how is your DLine looking and are the early reports for Canty good?
Big Blue View: The Osi question is a great one. At the end of last season he said he was about 80%, and actually thought he could have played at that time. He believes he will be 100%, but we just have to see. With the additions of Chris Canty and Rocky Bernard at tackle, and Osi back at end the Giants believe they will have a dominant, 7-player deep rotation up front. Depth was an issue last season with Osi hurt and Strahan retired. The line wore down by season's end. That should not happen this season.
Hogs Haven: Eli was only the 14th rated QB last year despite the fantastic Oline The Giants have. Do you have any concerns with Big Blue's offense with Plax and Derrick Ward gone?
Big Blue View: Not really. Eli is what he is, a very good quarterback who is a winner. He'll never look pretty or put up great completion percentage numbers. He's not a 'pinpoint' passer and with the wind and nasty weather conditions the Giants play in so often his numbers will always suffer. I don't worry about replacing Ward. The Giants are still four deep at running back (Brandon Jacobs, Ahmad Bradshaw, Danny Ware, Andre Brown). I'll deal with the Plax part in my next answer.
Hogs Haven: The Giants drafted Hakeem Nicks to replace Plaxico, yet Hakeem is 3 inches shorter. In addition, WRs usually have a 2-3 year window before maturing as an elite WR. What are your thoughts on this season at the WR position and did you like the Nicks selection (versus trading picks for Edwards or Boldin)?
Big Blue View: I was surprised that the Giants didn't pull the Braylon Edwards trade. But there are so many question marks around Edwards (hands, attitude, the money he wants) and he would have cost so many picks I couldn't blame GM Jerry Reese for passing on him. Only time will tell if the Giants made the right move. What they did, though, is the very simple, solid Giant-like 'don't make a big splash, just get a good player' kind of move.
Nicks comes with the rep of having excellent hands, running excellent routes and being 'NFL ready,' if there is such a thing. We are also extremely excited about Ramses Barden, the 6-foot-6 monster drafted from Cal-Poly in the third round. This guy could give the Giants a physical presence in the red zone that could really help them. We are also hoping to see Mario Manningham take a step forward this season. There is plenty of talent, we just have to see which players step up.
Hogs Haven: The Giants host the Redskins this year to start the season, do you see this as a good thing or bad thing?
Big Blue View: Probably a bad thing -- for the Redskins. Seriously, though, I see it as an 'it makes no difference to me' thing. Gotta play everybody in the division twice, so it really doesn't matter when.
Hogs Haven: Giants had a quick exit from the playoffs last year by the Eagles, who improved so much this off-season...do you think the Giants are better suited for a SB run this year and if so, why?
Big Blue View: Most 'experts' are calling the Giants and Eagles the best two teams on paper in the NFC. Today, I would agree. But, today is meaningless. The teams just have to get on the field and see what happens. That said, I love this Giants' team on paper. The defense is soooo much better with the line depth I mentioned earlier. The linebacking should be better with free-agent Michael Boley and second-round pick Clint Sintim adding playmakers there. Kenny Phillips could be a star at safety, and the Giants are solid on the corners. That defensive improvement is the biggest reason for Giants' fans to be optimistic. Shoot, the Giants went 12-4 last year with a defense that was gassed and an offense that lost its way at the end of the season.
All the pieces are in place with the improved defense, terrific running game, depth at wide receiver and a proven big-time quarterback. Will they get it done? I sure don't know. I do know I feel very good about their chances.
Hogs Haven: If you had to choose an owner to replace the Maras (which we all know are the best in the business and well-respected by even Skins fans), if you had to, who would you choose and why....Jerry Jones or Dan Snyder?
Big Blue View: Ugh!! What an awful thing to have to think about. Going from the Maras, who operate one of the best-run franchises in the business, to either of those guys. I think I'd swear off my allegiance to football altogether. Jerry's problem is he wants to be the star and get all the credit. Snyder's problem is he means well and he's willing to spend the money, but he doesn't really know what he's doing.
Hogs Haven: Do you miss the Hefty Lefty?
Big Blue View: LOL!! Actually, I think we all miss the Hefty Lefty at BBV. Best QB sneak in the business. Last I heard he was making $200 a game quarterbacking for the Kentucky team an af2. A long fall for the big fella!
Thanks again to Big Blue View. I don't feel much better about the Redskins chances of winning week one, however, I like the under whatever it's going to be.