Ringing in the New Year with Ernie P.

For the final time this season Ernie Palladino and I are swapping questions about the Giants. Read my answers to these same questions over at Ernie's Giants Beat.

1. Given the state of the defense this year, what would you do with coordinator Bill Sheridan after Sunday?
Ernie's Answer: Boy, you could really be nasty here. But I'm not going to be. Look, Sheridan tried. He did what he thought was best. The problem was, he tried to put his stamp on a system that worked so well under Steve Spagnuolo that it didn't need fixing. He simply wasn't up to the task. I'd have like to have seen what this defense would have been like with a healthy Kenny Phillips, but that wasn't the hand he was dealt. Sometimes you win, sometimes you go bust. Sheridan went bust. Time to get rid of him and get somebody like Dick Jauron in there. That guy's got a great pedigree as a defensive coordinator, and even better, he was with Tom Coughlin in Jacksonville.
2. Osi Umenyiora said after last week's game that this could be his final game as a Giant. Do you agree?
Ernie's Answer: Absolutely not. Coughlin said as much Monday. For all his troubles this year, remember that Umenyiora was coming off a knee surgery that typically takes more than a year to come back from. Now, does he come back next year as a starter? I'm not sure of that, considering Mathias Kiwanuka proved he's so much better against the run. But I wouldn't mind seeing Umenyiora as a situational pass rusher. Line him up on third down so he doesn't have to worry about the run, and let him concentrate on decking the quarterback. That's always been his strong suit, anyway. And maybe after an offseason of rest, we'll see the old speed and strength that made him such a force opposite Michael Strahan in 2007.
3. Does this team need a major overhaul, or is it enough just to tweak certain areas?
Ernie's Answer: I'm going with tweak. Overhaul to me suggests a housecleaning top to bottom, including the head coach. Tom Coughlin should not be going anywhere, and the reasons for that are many. Yes, they need a new defensive coordinator. But the rest of the staff can stay, including that Gilbride fellow you all seem to be down on. The offense could use some younger blood up front, but should be OK otherwise. The defense? Well, you can't ship everybody out. Another safety to go along with Phillips, a middle linebacker, and some quality depth up front will help turn that unit around. And unlike Ed, who appears very down on Jeff Feagles, I believe he's still got at least another season left in him providing the coaches get out of his ear and let him do his job. There is talent there. It just needs to get back to full strength.
4. We now here that Brandon Jacobs has been bothered by a knee injury for much of the season. Do you buy that as an excuse for his sub-par performance this year?
Ernie's Answer: No, not really. If you ask me, the things the coaching staff had him doing bothered him a lot more than any knee injury. Jacobs is a between-the-tackles power guy, a battering ram. Put the pads down and hit somebody. He was asked way too often to work the edges, and that's just not his game. The knee does work into that to some extent, since the coaches seemed intent on sending him out there to preserve him for the late season run. But that, as we all see now, failed anyway. So next year they should put him back in his old role, let him bang away, and put up with his legendary fragility. If he has to miss a few games, he misses. But to blame all this on a knee injury that never cost him a practice or an appearance on the injury report seems disingenuous at best.
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