Jake Ballard of the New York Giants dives in for a touchdown in front of David Hawthorne of the Seattle Seahawks at MetLife Stadium on October 9, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Time for our weekly 'Friday Five' with Inside Football editor Pat Traina. This week we talk about the running game, Perry Fewell and a few other topics. Be sure to stop by Pat's site for my answers to her questions.
Ed: I think we are all tired of talking about the Giants' inability to run the ball. Tom Coughlin says they will "keep hammering away." If the woes continue this week against Buffalo, is it time to stop "hammering" and make some personnel changes? If so, what changes would you make?
Pat: I don't think there's a whole lot you can change at this point, to be honest. The offensive line is pretty much what it is. With that said, this week, you're going to see Bear Pascoe in at fullback and possibly Da'Rel Scott in at running back for some snaps. What will be interesting to see is if those changes, which are necessitated due to injuries to Brandon Jacobs and Henry Hynoski, jump-start the running game. If they do, do you stick with the changes post bye? So that will be one very interesting storyline to watch this weekend.
Ed: Let's talk about Jake Ballard. He's has been a surprising addition to the Giants' passing attack. Also, maybe, he has been surprisingly ineffective blocking -- which is really what he is there for. Your impressions of Ballard so far?
Pat: He's making a believer out of me because he's been very reliable as a receiver. As a blocker, I think he still has a bit more to go before he's polished, but I like what he's been able to contribute so far.
Ed: I was more critical of Perry Fewell this week than I probably have been in his two years with the Giants. The defense is extremely inconsistent and, in my view, the only consistent thing is that it under-performs its talent level. I believe those things land at the feet of the defensive coordinator. Am I off base here?
Pat: No. Listening to him today talk about communication issues and such raised a bit of a red flag with me. He mentioned giving his players wristbands - is the defense THAT complicated that they might need to resort to that? I understand that injuries upset the apple cart, but sometimes you have to go back to the basics to get everyone caught up before you can jump ahead. I also have to wonder just how much the league has caught up with what Fewell has done.
Ed: Thinking about the Giants-Bills matchup, what concerns you most from a Giants' perspective?
Pat: The Bills knack for getting turnovers. I almost feel as though the Giants need to be 100% pristine here with the ball, which means not taking chances, which of course Eli Manning has been known to do.
Ed: I'm into recycling, so let's recycle one of your questions to me from last week. The trade deadline is the 18th of this month. Is there a position you think the Giants could upgrade via trade? A particular player or two you'd like to see targeted?
Pat: You could make a case that they could upgrade at almost every position. Will they though? Very unlikely. Reese treasures those draft picks and I just don't see him giving up any to get a veteran.