Yes, it's your first completely gratuitous cheerleader photo of the 2011 NFL season. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
The regular season kicks off for the New York Giants on Sunday. Those of you who have been here for a while are familiar with our regular season 'Five Questions' series where, as often as possible, we trade questions with a writer from the SB Nation website for that week's rival.Rex Grossman starting QB over John Beck?
Hogs Haven: Starting Grossman was a no-brainer, and one we predicted for months on our site. Despite some quality throws, Beck lacked consistency both all of training camp and in pre-season games. He's not as bad as major media would like him to be, but his decision making and comfort level is not there yet (and may never come).
2. During preseason Grossman boasted that the Redskins would win the NFC East? Most analysts would say they are the fourth-best team in a four-team division? Can they actually back up Grossman's words?
HH: These words were taken out of context considerably. He was asked what the Redskins chances are this season and he said he thinks the Redskins can win the East. What else is he suppose to say? As for the rest of the East, the Giants ridiculous injury problems are well known, Jerry Jones is starting to enter the Al Davis era of franchise mantra, and the Eagles have major flaws on their offensive line (not to mention Vick is injury prone). So, it's not ridiculous to say the Redskins can win the East. It won't be by them going 12-4, but 9-7 or 10-6 is possible. (Obviously, the Redskins need to stay healthy, too, which they rarely do).
3. For those who might not pay close attention to every move made by teams other than the Giants, can you go through the key additions and subtractions to the Redskins roster this season?
HH: The Redskins 3 biggest problems last year, QB and circus-drama aside, was the Nose Tackle, Free Safety, and RB positions.
Nose Tackle: Ma'ake Kemoeatu was simply the worst and was playing hurt. Barry Cofield has surprised everyone and is actually playing the NT admirably. He's constantly using technique to get into the backfield, so he doesn't need to be a Vince Wilfork type of "fat guy" everyone expects from a middle guy.
Free Safety: The Redskins Free Safety position has been a carousel since the death of Sean Taylor. Kareem Moore got his chance last year, and even when he wasn't hurt, he was consistently missing last-line-of-defense tackles. The turnovers never came either. So, the Redskins went out and got O.J. Atogwe, the long time Rams safety who was coached by Jim Haslett on years prior. Atogwe quietly is top 5 in turnovers in last 5 years. (DeAngelo Hall is on that list as well).
Running Back: RB is arguably the Redskins best upgrade since there is now quality depth. Tim Hightower has shown pre-season speed and power, which has the fanbase passively optimistic. Second on the depth chart is rookie Roy Helu, from Nebraska, who brings a great change of pace option since he is the extremely fast, 1-cut RB Mike Shanahan has made a career off of. Third, is Ryan Torain, who is finally healthy again and still rushes with an above average style of speed and strength (just ask Quintin Mikell).
4. I am constantly fascinated by the answers to this 'signature' question, so here goes. If you could take one player off the Giants roster and put him in the Redskins lineup, who would it be? Why?
HH: Without a question Hakeem Nicks. I watched Nicks at UNC a lot since I have a good friend who coached there at the time. The Redskins WRs are average at best and we still lack talent at that position. The Redskins only bring in players that want to work, and Nicks certainly fills that role as Butch Davis told me back in 2009.
5. What concerns you most about the Giants on Sunday?
HH: Devin Thomas for sure. (sarcasm). Obviously, your RBs have had our number for as long as I can remember. Tiki always shredded the Skins, and well, let's not talk about the Bjacobs Laron Landry video. If the Redskins can contain the RBs, which they have so far against 1s in pre-season, I think the Redskins finally end this three-year losing streak.
Bonus: Predict the final score?
HH: Redskins 24- Giants 14. Mike Shanahan boasts an 11-4 record on opening day and that improved last year against a healthy Cowboys team. I know the Skins have been game planning since the Spring, and I'd imagine Cofield can help out on some of Eli's tendencies. It's hard to imagine the Redskins O won't have success against your depleted LB/CB core.