Time once again for our weekly 'Friday Five' with Pat Traina of Inside Football. Whether or not you guys are fans of Pat's work, just know that I am. Whether you like or dislike some of her answers, there is value in much of the insight we get from Pat, not to mention the credibility of having someone who is there every day be willing to exchange views with me.
I hope you enjoy this week's exchange, and stop by Pat's site for my answers to her questions.
Ed: We can all agree that Prince Amukamara played poorly last week. Is it really fair, though, to be heavily critical of Amukamara? Or, is this simply a case of all of the injuries catching up to the Giants and them being forced to ask the young man to do more than he is capable of at this point?
Pat: I think it's a combination of things. First, you have to remember that Amukamara didn't have an off-season to learn the defense. He also missed a large chunk of training camp and the season and while he's been in the meetings, it's not the same as being out there. That's not his fault. It's also not his fault that his defensive coordinator might have put too much on the kid's plate if he wasn't ready for it. With that said, I have to wonder if a really understood the game plan and his role within it. Sometimes I think these kids think they understand things, but then when they go out there, it's all moving so fast and maybe they don't have quite as strong of a grasp on it as they thought they did, which is probably why you saw Deon Grant and Kenny Phillips giving Prince a lot of instruction after plays were done.
Ed:I thought the whole 'Giants and leadership on defense' thing was settled a long time ago, but with that group playing so poorly and with so many different voices coming out of the locker room are we back to looking at that group and wondering if there is a leadership void?
Pat: What I think is happening is you have a lot of different voices that are conflicting with one another. There's Antrel Rolle, Chris Canty, Justin Tuck, Mathias Kiwanuka, etc. ... I am not so sure there is one clear leader on the defense right now as I always remember how Tuck, when he was injured a couple years ago, admitted that he was reluctant to ask his guys to do things if he couldn't do them.
Maybe there doesn't need to be a single voice - who knows? But I think historically this defense thrived when it had a Strahan, a Pierce, a Carson, a Taylor, etc. speaking for it.
Ed: A little chirping from the Giants wide receivers this week about Darrelle Revis and the Jets cornerbacks. How do you see the match-up between Revis and Antonio Cromartie vs. the Giants receivers? The Giants have got to be able to make plays in the passing game or they have no chance.
Pat: I agree that it looks as though the passing game is going to be key this week. As far as the matchups are concerned, I'm looking for Nicks to bounce back from last week's forgettable performance.
Ed: I know that you don't spend a ton of time studying the Jets, but what are your thoughts on Rex Ryan?
Pat: When someone has to be that opinionated about his team in public, I often wonder who he's trying to convince. I saw an excellent piece on nfl.com by Mike Lombardi about Ryan that I completely agree with. Lombardi basically said that Rex's bluster could potentially do more harm than good for his team. It's one thing to believe in your team, so I can't fault him for that. However, it's another thing to sit there and put your head in the sand regarding your team's weaknesses, and I think that's what Rex does sometimes.
Ed: The injury that has been most damaging to the Giants this season is ...
Pat: Terrell Thomas, hands down. He was an underappreciated, but physical corner and I suspect that his absence is a big reason why we're seeing a very different look by the defensive secondary this season.