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The NFC East rival Washington Redskins are up first in what is now a three-week season of must victories for our New York Giants. With that in mind, I chatted Wednesday with Kevin from our Redskins blog, 'Hogs Haven.'
Kevin: First, I've read all your previous chats about Osi, Tuck, the problems w/ the secondary..so I'll link those...the injuries to the secondary have been tough w/ moving players around...my question is... the Giants defense is 9th best in yards against, but 5th worst in points against...why is that? Bad offensive turnovers?
Ed: Has nothing to do with the offense. The offense has been terrific. It has to do with not being able to make a play when they need one. Blowing assignments that lead to big plays, not being able to get a run stop when they have to. Oh, and the fact that the kicking game/coverage teams have been awful. So, it always seems like a short field.
Kevin: Did you agree with Coughlin's decision to keep Sheridan? I read that Kiwanuka said there were "communication" problems which he described as "getting calls and understanding what you’re supposed to be doing."
Ed: Yes, I did. Switching coordinators right now is pointless, really. Can't change the whole system or staff right now. Sheridan is not without fault, and if the season goes up in flames he won't be back. But, a lot of this is on the players. A lot of guys have not lived up to their names and blown assignments, linemen getting ridden off the ball and poor tackling are on the players. Not the coordinator. So, plenty of blame to go around.
Kevin: Not to mention his secondary is depleted...Corey Webster and Aaron Ross both got banged up...you heard if they're going to play?
Ed: Webster is day to day. Ross is fine, and he has been playing at safety, and playing pretty well for being new to it, for several weeks now.
Ed: I'm sure the Redskins will try to work Beatty over. But, Giants fans are actually happy about this. Beatty, a second-round pick, is a player. McKenzie is a fading veteran and the job should belong to Beatty next season, anyway. The kid is going to be good, and we want to see him on the field.
Kevin: Hard to believe the Giants are ranked 23rd in +/- turnovers at -4...what's your prediction for Monday?
Ed: Well, I'd like to say we'll kick your butt all over the field and make you wish ... well, you get the point. But, I have no idea. Will the Giants team that played its guts out the last two weeks show up? Will the team that gave zero effort against Denver show up? Will they continue to make stupid mistakes on defense and special teams? I don't know. This team should be much better than it is. But it isn't getting the job done. I just know we need to win.
Kevin: OK, last question, back in May when we chatted, I asked you if you had any concerns w/ the new WR core...
you thought you'd be OK if Mario stepped up and Ramses Barden
came on...Nicks is a stud like we thought...how would you rate the WRs now? What happened to Ramses?
Ed: The wide receivers, believe it or not, are actually a strong suit on this team. Our Steve Smith is the best Steve Smith in the league. He has already broken the team's single-season reception record, and might get to 100+. He is uncoverable (think Wes Welker) on short to intermediate stuff. Nicks, like you said, is total stud. Love the kid. Mario Manningham is frustratingly inconsistent. He is a game-breaker with the ball in his hands, but his route-running needs work and he drops too many balls. Barden is a mystery. In camp I thought he would be a star, but he has only been active for a couple of games. The Giants say they would like to activate him, but he is a liability on special teams and the 4th or 5th WR has to be on the coverage teams. I think Ramses will get his full opportunity next season to surpass Domenik Hixon and maybe even Manningham. I can't wait to see what he does with it.
Ed: The Redskins have played much better in recent weeks. They looked like a train-wreck early on. What has changed?
Kevin: You got a couple hours? Well, the offense has played better with the Shermans (Lewis and Smith) calling the plays. Cerrato stripped Jim Zorn of the duties before the BYE. The offensive line has been swiss cheese to say the least, and then during half-time of the ATL game, Off line coach Joe Bugel ripped the team a new one and they have played better.
The addition of LT Levi Jones is a big key as well. He's gone against the best the last several weeks and kept Jason's back clear accept for a handful of times at most. Devin Thomas
& Fred Davis
have finally come on as well.
Ed: You guys have to play both the Giants and Cowboys in the last three weeks. Obviously, you can have a big impact on the playoff race. You find that position kind of enjoyable?
Kevin: I'm just happy they're competitive at all. It's pathetic that we have to root for someone else's playoffs run...but keeping Dallas out will surely rise a smile out of me.
Ed: I'd like it if you did that, too. OK. Who will be the coach next season?
Kevin: Shanahan is my guess. VInny Cerrato and him are already buddies, so it makes sense (in Snyder's and Cerrato's delusional minds). It's frustrating...just as the Skins are showing continuity, they blow it up again and bring in a new coach.
Ed: Speaking [of] continuity, is Jason Campbell the long-term answer at QB? Or, is he playing out the string just like Jim Zorn?
Kevin: Well, the long term plan SHOULD be draft Oline in the first 2 rounds next year...let Campbell run that offense next year .. then draft a QB to groom behind a top line....BUT...Campbell is as good as gone. Snyder and Cerrato have already flown to watch Colt and Clausen practice. It's maddening. JC has taken some BRUTAL hits this year. Like Stafford, whoever they draft will get hurt.
Ed: OK. So, who is making the playoffs? Giants or Cowboys?
Kevin: I didn't like the Cowboys at the beginning of the year. I'm still amazed their record is as good as it is. Giants.
Ed: Last question. It's my signature one, and I have to ask because my guys at BBV always kill me when I don't. At this point, which Giants player would you most like to put in a Redskins' uniform?
Kevin: its a great question .. I want Mara as my owner. I might even consider Plax as owner.