Last week I asked you guys to submit questions for Carl Banks, the great former New York Giants linebacker and current radio analyst. I received lots of good questions -- to be honest, I expected nothing less.
Banks' answers to the questions I chose to send to him are after the jump. He took these seriously and offered some great insight and information. Enjoy!
Question: What was your greatest loss? Is there a game in particular that still eats at you today?
Carl: Biggest loss was to the Rams 1989 Flipper Anderson. That '89 team had Super Bowl talent as evidence of the following year winning SB XXV.. Should have been back to back..
Question: Two-parter: a) What is your opinion of the Mathias Kiawanuka experiment at LB? Is it a viable long term home for Kiwi? Williams and Jones flashed a lot of talent at different points this season, but they have also made very typical rookie errors. Based on the regular season action, do you think that either of these two players has a bright future, and if not why?
Carl: Kiwi may be the most versatile player on the Giants Roster.. I believe the Giants know that he is a "solid" LB in their current system, but a Tremendous football player.. He stays on the field in multiple roles. If he were to ever play in a 3-4 he would be a beast at OLB.. Jones, Williams, have bright futures. Williams has been trusted in some crucial moments, as have Jones.. Both men along with Herzlich have really upgraded the position.. It's fun watching them develop.. Back to Kiwi.. He is sneaky good.. While everyone loves to discuss the "big 3" pass rushers, KIwi can pressure from both LB and DE..
Question: Which player (that you played with or against) was the most punishing and difficult to tackle? How would you prepare yourself when you played this player?
Carl: Most punishing Herschel Walker, most difficult to tackle Barry Sanders..
Preparation: lots of cardio and cross training running basketball racquetball .. Weights.. All things relevant to my position.. Film study 5 days a week including off season..
Question: When you played, the Giants defense was dominated by all-pro do-everything linebackers - namely yourself, LT and Harry Carson. It was designed to defend against balance run/pass offenses. What adjustments would that defense need to make to combat the passing-centric offenses favored today? Furthermore, with the game now so passing-oriented, do you think that the importance of strong linebackers who play the whole field has been replaced by dedicated pass-rushing ends and shut-down corners? Has the game become that specialized?
Carl: If you have a chance take a look at SBXXV. We would defend today's offenses similar.. Keep in mind we had the ability to put 6 LBs on the field in many roles.. Andy Headen could cover better than most safeties.. Byron Hunt KIWI like rush and cover guy.. chances are we could adjust because we had speed and versatile players.. Currently the Steelers and Ravens keep their best players on the field with no problems.. Game isn't as specialized as one may think.. Spread offense is derived from run and shoot just has a TE involved.. Better players collectively on some teams. If my team had to play the Patriots.. None of their current receivers would strike fear.. But their QB and scheme would keep you up late nights.. No matter the era it still and always will be a combination of strategy and good play/players.
Question: What are your opinions on the way the NFL protects quarterbacks nowadays? How much does it upset you as a defensive player from an era where you were allowed to hit the QB without worrying about the "Brady Rule" or a 15-yard roughing flag for barely making contact?
Carl: I'm ok with the rules to protect the games "most valuable" bread winner LOL.. Seriously I am ok with most of the rules regarding QBs... it [is] the officials individual Judgement that makes me crazy at times.. And BTW I think tackling in the league is BAD!!
Question: Why do pundits make such a fuss of whether an LB has experience in a 3-4 or a 4-3? Does it really require a different set of skills to move over three feet and cover different gaps?
Carl: Big difference in skill set for 3-4 olb he has to be hybrid of many things DE,LB,DB rush cover and good vs run.. Most teams that don't have that guy or 2 play 4-3 stack and run let the DLINE do the heavy lifting.
Question: Would you coach in the pros if given the opportunity? If yes, what sort of coach would you be (personality wise) and what would your philosophy be?
Carl: Not sure on this one.. Lol I love the process and could do it but not sure I would seek the opportunity.. Maybe if BIll B asked.. My style if coaching defense would be combination of Nick Saban, Bill B, Bill P foundation. Personality... Pain in the Ass!! Lol
Question: Are the Giants genuinely talented enough on both sides of the ball to warrant serious consideration as a playoff contender? Are the problems with the running game due, to a large degree, on the loss of Boss and good tight end blocking?
Carl: Giants have enough talent to go to the playoffs.. QB WR'S good RBs Good Pass Rush and defensive scheme that creates pressure. Running game should get better as Oline gets healthy but the TE position is an important part of it's success.. It appears that they are getting better production at that position.. It also takes a commitment by play callers to stick with it.