The New York Giants face the Arizona Cardinals this week, and Jess Root of our Arizona website 'Revenge Of the Birds' and I were able to put together an online chat for your reading pleasure. Of course, after defeating the Eagles last Sunday Giants' fans are hoping there is no such thing as 'revenge of the birds' this weekend.
Anyway, the results of our discussion are after the jump. Enjoy!
Jess: OK. for starters... how is the injury situation panning out?
Ed: Well, you are probably aware of all of the guys the Giants have on IR. I think it's nine now. The good news is that Osi Umenyiora practiced today and might be available for limited duty on Sunday. Of course, wide receiver Brandon Stokley got hurt at practice today.
Jess: How are the fans taking to Eli this year? Is Coughlin really on the hot seat like it seems he is every other year?
Ed: Well, the fact that he has been incredible for the last six quarters certainly helps. NFC Offensive player of the week and 32-of-45 for 400+ yards with 6 TDs and no picks in his last six quarters. He's been oustanding, especially working with some new receivers.
As for Coughlin, him being on the 'hot seat' is a media creation. The Giants ownership loves the guy, and even if this season turns into one where they miss the playoffs again I think they will look at the mess he has been handed and give him a pass. If he can get this team to the playoffs, which he might, he's Coach of the Year.
Jess: What specific success should the Giants have against the Cardinals?
Ed: Well, there's a couple of areas I think the Giants could exploit. It's my understanding that Arizona has struggled on the offensive line and that pass protection is an issue. If that is the case that plays right into what the Giants like to do on defense .... rush the passer, and they will send pressure.
Offensively I think the Giants would really like to get a consistent ground game going. They have hit some plays, but not been consistent with it so far. Their yards per carry is way down from where they would like it.
Jess: Since Antrel Rolle's signing, how has he been viewed in NY -- fans and media? I know he likes to make noise and made the Pro Bowl, although his stats say he might have been put ahead of some other perhaps more deserving candidates.
Ed: Do we have to talk about Rolle? The guy is a good player, although I am in agreement that he did not play at a Pro Bowl level last season. He has actually been very good so far in 2011. My issue with Rolle is his constant ability to say the wrong thing, or to say too much. Or to talk when everyone else around him, meaning his teammtes, knows that it is time to shut the heck up. He did it again this week after taking a bad unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for the second straight week, then saying he would not apologize for taking the penalty because sometimes you had to do it. A day later, he backtracked. Which means Coughlin or Justin Tuck got in his ear and put him straight. Until the next time he says something stupid, anyway.
Question for you. Cards are 1-2. How do you feel about their start to the season?
Jess: The start of the season brought tons of optimism with a new QB in a bad division. But some doom and gloom has set in because of the losses to the Redskins and Seahawks. Offensively, there is inconsistency, but certainly much more big play possibilities (the team already has four plays for 40+ yards after only have one all last season.
But the reality of a defense that allows teams to move down the field and key turnovers in crunch time have a lot of people feeling down.
A win this weekend would boost morale a lot. The feeling is that they aren't quite a good team, but might be good enough to maybe take the division.
haha on Antrel. I personally despised him as a player. True bonehead
Ed: Is your feeling that this is a game Arizona could or should win? Or, are you feeling like this is a game you would not expect them to win?
Jess: The feeling is they could win, but it is a "should-win" situation to keep from feeling like the season is slipping away. If no win this week, it puts the next two games (Vikings on the road and Steelers at home) in almost "must-win" status.
Ed: What is Arizona's injury situation?
Jess: Aside from Ryan Williams and Greg Toler as major contributors on IR, Beanie Wells is touch and go with his hamstring.
The coaching staff is trying to avoid pulling it, but knows that sometimes you have to work through it. Today's practice and tomorrow's are big. Other starters with some nicks are ILB Paris Lenon, but he will likely play. Daryl Washington seems to be recovered from his injury that kept him out against Washington. Overall, the health is good.
Ed: So, here is a question I love to ask. If you could take one player off the Giants roster and put him in Arizona's lineup, who would it be? Why?
Jess: I like it. Assuming he would make a smooth transition to the 3-4 side, it would be Osi Umenyiora. Probably the biggest concern on the entire team is the ability to rush the passer. Osi is one of the most gifted pass rushers, albeit from the 4-3 position. Assuming he would be just as effective as OLB (you really can't), a healthy Osi.would be my number one choice.
I'll throw that one back at you, because it is a superb question that I shall steal in future weeks
Ed: Here's another one for you. Arizona made the major trade for Kevin Kolb. What is your feelign about Kolb so far? Do you think he can be the long-term answer at QB for the Cardinals?
Jess: I was a Kolb lover from the start. When the QB situation became what it did a year ago, and Michael Vick started having the transcendent year he did, I targeted him as my number one hope. Well, I got him and I LOVE what he brings to the table. I think he will be the long-term answer. He doesn't have any real weaknesses. He can make all the throws, he can move around and he is a leader.
I don't expect Kurt Warner numbers over the course of the season, but I think he easily can be top 15 QB this year and will be very much like a Matt Schaub.
I mean in the seasons to come.
Ed: As for which Cardinals player I would put in the Giants' lineup I think the obvious answer is Larry Fitzgerald. There really is no one else close to him as a difference-maker on your roster. I salivate at the thought of putting him on one side, Hakeem Nicks on the other with Mario Manningham as the third guy. Eli Manning would put up incredible numbers with that trio.
Jess: Prediction is all that's left
Ed: I think the Giants pick up where they left off last week and win this one. I'll say 20-13 Giants.
Jess: I say 27-23 Cards. Beanie will play and give the offense the needed threat of balance. Arizona always plays much better at home and is up for big games. They will hold up the Giant offense just enough to keep them kicking field goals.