The Redskins have a short week coming into a Thursday Night Football against the New York Giants. This is the second division game in a row for the Redskins after a close loss to the Eagles last week. Both team's are coming into this game at 1-2, both teams have installed a new offense this year, but only one team has a top 5 offense and defense...
I spoke to Ed Valentine of Big Blue View fame, and asked him 6 questions leading up to tomorrow's division game. You can view my answers to his questions, and ask anymore questions that I missed in the comments.
1) Is this going to be Tom Coughlin's last year as head coach, and do you think the team needed more than a change at OC after last year?
Ed: I don't think anyone really knows the answer to that question, not even Coughlin. So much depends on how this season turns out, so we have to wait and see. As the the part about whether more change was necessary, absolutely not. I am a Coughlin believer. I don't care what the record is/was I think he is a terrific coach and that he is not part of the problem. Last season the Giants badly miscalculated on a lot of personnel decisions and handed Coughlin a terrible roster. As of now, I'm not sure about this team, either. Coughlin has a two-year contract. Whether he finishes it or not is anybody's guess at this point. He might, he might not, he might coach for five more years. We'll just have to wait and see.
2) How is the Giants interior OL playing? A lot of Redskins fans had interest in Richburg and obviously J.D. Walton was picked up by Washington last season.
Ed: The offensive line was a huge issue for the Giants last season, and it was in flux all throughout the preseason due to the retirement of Chris Snee, the recovery of Will Beatty from a broken leg and the toe injury suffered by Geoff Schwartz.
The line has been a work in progress, but played exceptionally well Sunday against the Houston Texans. They opened holes for Rashad Jennings and kept Eli Manning clean in the pocket. Now, the question is can they do it consistently?
As for Richburg and Walton, both played their best games vs. Houston. Richburg is going to be an excellent player. He is at guard now, which really is not his spot. He is a center, but the Giants like Walton's experience. At some point -- later this year, maybe next year -- I believe Richburg will slide to center where he really belongs.
3) Rashad Jennings is the top guy in the Giants running game right now, what do the Redskins need to do to stop him?
Ed: Jennings isn't shifty. He does have good vision to find holes, but one-one-one he won't make a lot of guys miss. He will hit holes. He will put his foot in the ground and cut to the back side if you leave him a gap. He will lower his shoulder, break tackles and push the pile. So, stay disciplined and be ready to be physical. Question is, after carrying 34 times Sunday how much can Jennings actually do in a Thursday night game? You might see a lot of carries for rookie Andre Williams, another back who isn't afraid to be physical.
4) Is JPP back to his old self, and how good has the 2014 version of the Giants defensive line been?
Ed: JPP has been very good, but I would not say he is back to his old self. I'm not sure that 16.5-sacks in a season guy exists any more. Pierre-Paul plays the run as well or better than any defensive end in the league. He is an immovable force against the run and has the athleticism to make plays other players can't. He's been getting pressure as a pass-rusher, but I don't see the pure, unblockable explosiveness of 2011. He's a handful, but maybe not quite what he was.
The defensive line in general has been very good, with the pass rush getting better and better. JPP, Robert Ayers, Mathias Kiwanuka and even Damontre Moore are doing a nice job on the ends. Johnathan Hankins, a second-year guy, is going to be a tremendous defensive tackle.
5) The Giants defense is allowing over 100 yards per game on the ground. Are the Giants LBs going to be healthy, and are you worried about Morris/Helu having a big day on the ground?
Ed: It's funny because I think the Giants run defense is actually not bad at all. I think the defensive line, as I said above, is very good against the run. More than anything, the Giants have gotten burned a few times by giving up contain on the edge.
As for the linebackers, we don't know yet if Jon Beason (foot/toe) will play. My guess is he will, although how much and how effective he will be I can't say.
6) Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has had success against Kirk Cousins and DeSean Jackson in the past. How have he and the rest of the Giant's secondary performed this season?
Ed: DRC has been terrific in three games. Prince Amukamara on the other side has been outstanding, better statistically even than DRC, though maybe not matching up against No. 1 receivers as often. The Giants lost slot corner Walter Thurmond for the season, but Trumaine McBride is a solid replacement and Zack Bowman is solid depth.The weak spot has been safety Stevie Brown, who has been giving up some big plays. Brown got benched during Sunday's game, and there is an expectation that either veteran Quintin Demps or rookie Nat Berhe will start in that spot Thursday night.
Thanks to Ed for taking the questions and answers this week.