It is time for our weekly 'Friday Five' with theknowledgeable editor of Inside Football, Pat Traina. Today's topics include Michael Boley and Prince Amukamara, as well as a few other things. Be sure to stop by Pat's site for my answers to her questions.Ed: Let's start with something similar to one of the questions you asked me. If Michael Boley does not play the Giants will have to rely on their group of rookie linebackers. How is that going to impact what the Giants can do defensively, and will it change Mathias Kiwanuka's role?
Pat: Well on paper, it shouldn't impact what they are going to do, at least that's what the coaches will tell you. But we all know what paper is good for (unless currency is printed on that paper, at any rate). Seriously, the loss of Boley is huge. He's not only the signal caller, he's also an every down linebacker. And on Thursday, Perry Fewell admitted that the loss of Boley just might affect what they do with Kiwanuka, who I believe now becomes an every down linebacker. And who do you start at Boley's spot in the base? Do you go with Spencer Paysinger? Do you look at getting Mark Herzlich in there? Or do you primarily stay in your nickel and go with Jacquian Williams and Deon Grant, which if I remember correctly is what they did the first time around. So there are many decisions to be made here. Fewell said he has a plan and it will be interesting to see how it all comes to a head.
Ed: Thinking back to the past couple of years it seems the Giants have always had trouble defending the middle of the field vs. the pass -- in that area between linebackers and safeties. That issue cropped up again against New England. What is happening there, and can the Giants fix it?
Pat: Well, I don't want to give away too much of what we had to say in the last issue of Inside Football (or the ones before that), but yes, it's something that can be fixed. The problem is that almost always you have a safety playing in the next area code and it doesn't matter if you have the roadrunner in there - there's often a lot of ground that needs to be made up which usually, buy the time that ground is made up, the pass has been completed and the other team has a sizeable gain.
Ed: What is the deal with Prince Amukamara? Seems like every week we hear he might play, then he doesn't play. Is he still not fully healthy? Is he struggling to grasp the defense? Did he steal something from Tom Coughlin? Will the Giants' Prince ever come?
Pat: All good things come to those who wait, including a Prince. We don't get to watch the team part of practice so I can't tell you how he looks, but I will tell you something that Deon Grant shared with me when I asked about what was holding Prince back. Basically, Grant said that Prince's injury is one that needs to be "damn well near 100 percent" given all the cutting and movement he will have to do out there on the island. You might recall that Prince said as recently as last week that he was still feeling soreness in his foot, but that it was getting better. So in putting two and two together, I think that's why we haven't seen him yet. I know I said this last week, but I believe this week we will see Prince at the expense of Derrick Martin. Will we see him much on defense? That remains to be seen. But I think we'll at least see him on special teams.
Ed: I know this is jumping, way, way ahead -- but I'm doing it, anyway. Is there one area/position on this team as currently constructed that absolutely has to be addressed before next season?
Pat: There probably is but to be honest Ed, I don't like to look that far ahead. As I tell people EVERY year, let's see what happens before free agency before we start to worry about that. Heck, let's get through this year.
Ed: We are headed into Week 11 of the NFL season. Some are saying Tom Coughlin is a Coach of the Year candidate if he can get the Giants to the playoffs. Conversely, people are calling for Andy Reid's head in Philadelphia. How do you feel about the jobs both of those veteran coaches are doing this season?
Pat: I haven't followed Reid as closely as others, so I'll pass on that part of the question. Regarding TC, let's see... he (like everyone else) had no time to work with his players in the offseason. However, unlike everyone else, he lost a LOT of key pieces from last year that were expected to be cogs in both the offense and defense and he's still managed to get the team to a 6-3 record, beating a very good Patriots team, a very good Eagles team (at the time at least), and a very good Bills team. So yeah, I'd say he's done a good job up to this point and if he can avoid that second-half meltdown and get this team into the playoffs given the youth and the changes, then yeah, I think he deserves Coach of the Year considerations.