Looking ahead to Monday's exhibition game against the Cleveland Browns, here is a 'Five Questions' segment with Dawgs By Nature blogger Chris Pokorny.
1. Big Blue View: I will be honest. I am still not sold on Romeo Crennel as a big-time head coach. What do you think of Crennel? Does he have a long-term future in Cleveland?
Crennel is a likable guy, and the players seem to gravitate to him. When he was on the hot seat prior to last season, there wasn't a lot of outspoken resentment from the locker room. Most, if not all of the resentment, came from the fans, and rightfully so. When a team is re-building and it seems like the general manager is making wise decisions, the head coach takes the blame for the losing record. Losing only built the irritation from a fan's perspective during Crennel's first season (i.e. he always threw the challenge flag on plays that had no chance of being overturned). I think you'd understand this as a Giants fan somewhat (fan irritation), considering how everyone called for Tom Coughlin's head the year before they won the Super Bowl.
I think two men helped prolong Crennel's stay with the Browns, for at least several years: QB Derek Anderson and offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski. The offense made our team last season; Chudzinski put together a solid playbook and system, and Anderson executed it (and Anderson deserves credit -- see what Charlie Frye did in Week 1). I'm not sold on Crennel as a top-notch coach either, but after last season, I'm confident to say that he's bought at least one-two more years of safety, even if the team has a losing season this year.
Day by day, the fan support is building for Derek Anderson. That's a result of three things:
-- Quinn hasn't had a lights out camp (though he's done fine still)
-- Anderson's chemistry with Braylon Edwards, Donte Stallworth, and Kellen Winslow has looked in midseason form throughout camp. That's a far cry different from last year, when he didn't do enough to win the starting job in camp.
-- The feeling is new. We finally have a quarterback that has done something positive in Cleveland (since returning to the league), and we're tired of the quarterback controversies.
Of course, if Anderson is throwing ducks in the opener, I wouldn't be surprised to hear the "Brady" chants starting. In my personal opinion, I think we'll eventually end up the opposite way of the Chargers' storyline: we'll keep the veteran and trade the youngster.
...we win the battle at the line of scrimmage on defense. Again, I think this is something the Giants know all too well about. We invested all of free agency into the defensive line basically by acquiring both Shaun Rogers and Corey Williams, two potential Pro Bowlers. The Browns have never been able to dominate the Steelers or the Ravens in the trenches when our defense is on the field. If we win that battle this year, the AFC North is ours. I can't guarantee if that spells Super Bowl, but it did for the Giants, in a way.
...we suffer an injury at the cornerback or safety position all year. We lost Leigh Bodden in a trade to get Shaun Rogers, and veteran Daven Holly is out for the season. Our two rookie corners -- Brandon McDonald and Eric Wright -- really have fans excited. If one of them goes down though, we are really, really scared. Our depth is nothing but a bunch of UDFA's after that, all of whom seem to be getting burned in camp on a daily basis.
Yes: our depth at the wide receiver position. Giants fans remember Tim Carter, right? He was our No. 3 receiver last year, yet he did absolutely nothing all season. I think he may have had seven catches all year or something. We signed Donte Stallworth in the offseason in hopes of bumping Joe Jurevicius down to No. 3, but Jurevicius will be out until at least Week 7. That presented the same problem as last year in terms of depth, until our youngsters started delivering. Travis Wilson, who was taken in the third round of the draft in the 2006 draft, hasn't played at all the past two years because of non-stop dropped passes in camp. This year, the coaches gave him overwhelming praise in minicamps and OTAs, and he's delivered in training camp by looking like a near-starting quality receiver.
On top of that, we have a few other young receivers like Steve Sanders and Syndric Steptoe, who are taking full advantage of extra reps with Jurevicius and Edwards sidelined right now (if you didn't know, Edwards is out for two weeks after getting cut in his heel and needing stitches).
We've longed for a pass rusher for so long that this one is a no-brainer for me: Osi Umenyiora.
Thanks, Chris! I will also be answering some questions from Chris about the Giants. Make sure you head over to DBN to check out my answers.