Football Outsiders is must reading for serious football fans, and their annual Football Outsiders Almanac, which is available now, is money well spent.
FO's Bill Barnwell took time recently to answer some Giants-related questions. Here is our chat.
BBV: You mentioned the Giants 'Planet Theory.' Is it your belief that the Giants need to change the way they draft on defense, or will this philosophy still be successful ore often than not?
Barnwell: I think that any drafting strategy can be a successful one as long as a team is effective at identifying quality talent and developing it. The Colts, for example, draft undersized players knowing that speed is the key to their scheme, and they're great at it. (The Raiders, well, not so much.) The Giants have had success identifying defensive linemen in the draft and developing them for decades now; with that in mind, I think it's a successful draft strategy for them, and one they can be comfortable pursuing going forward. Unless Cedric Jones shows up again.
BBV: Obviously, the Giants signed Keith Bulluck after your Annual was published. How much do you think Bulluck can help the Giants?
Barnwell: I'm not so sure he'll be a good fit. Bulluck's 33 and he's coming off of an ACL tear. Guys at that age with knee injuries do not tend to come back and play at their previous level of performance. Throw in the position switch and, honestly, I'm guessing I'd rather have Jonathan Goff in there.
BBV: Is Corey Webster an elite corner, or was 2008 a career year he is unlikely to repeat?
Barnwell: I'm honestly not sure. Webster was also great during the winning streak to start the 2009 season, but once the safety play dropped off and he started to go through some injuries, his play declined. I'd say the jury is still out.
BBV: The Giants have lost two key special teams players, Jeff Feagles (retirement) and Domenik Hixon (injury). They already had special teams issues. Is this an area Giants' fans should be concerned about?
Barnwell: I don't think so. Feagles wasn't all that good as a punter last year, as the Giants finished 26th in net punting in our statistics. They were even worse -- 30th -- on kick returns.
BBV: Your projection for Brandon Jacobs? Have we seen his best days, or does he have a bounce-back season or two left in the tank?
Barnwell: Ouch! If we're writing people off at 28, I don't have long to go. I really think that Jacobs's decline a year ago had a lot to do with the decline of the offensive line; while that suggests that part of the reason Jacobs succeeded was the excellent play of the offensive line before that, you'd have to hope that the OL + Hedgecock play better this season.