With your New York Giants facing the San Diego Chargers this week our 'Five Questions' segment is with John Gennaro of SB Nation's Chargers web site, 'Bolts From The Blue.'
Let's see what else we can uncover about the Chargers.
Ed: Let me toss this one back at you. Like the Giants, the Chargers are 5-7. Do they still believe they can make the playoffs?
John: They do, but that's just because being pessimistic isn't going to help them in any way. The 2008 Chargers were 4-8, finished 8-8, and made the playoffs, meaning this team will never say die until they're mathematically eliminated. 9-7 could realistically get them into the playoffs with a little bit of luck, but that would require a win in Denver on Thursday (along with 3 other not-so-easy wins against the Giants, Chiefs and Raiders).
Ed: Your take on Mike McCoy. Can he be a long-term success as San Diego head coach?
John: Yes. In a nutshell, Mike McCoy is much closer to John Fox than he is Bill Belichick, but John Fox has had an awful lot of success in the NFL when put in the right situation. It probably won't be an overnight transformation into a long-time championship contender, but I don't think it'd be shocking to see the team bounce between 7 and 12 wins each year for the next decade or so with a Super Bowl appearance. Considering that's what Bill Cowher, the standard for big name unemployed NFL head coaches, did in Pittsburgh...I think it was a pretty good hire.
Ed: Give me a couple of players Giants' fans might not know much about but should watch for on Sunday.
John: Ladarius Green is the reincarnation of Antonio Gates, which seems weird and is weird but is also really fun to watch and fortunate for the franchise. He's been lighting it up more than any TE not named Gronkowski lately, so keep an eye on him.
If you're not yet aware of rookie WR Keenan Allen, you probably should be. He's got a good chance at winning offensive rookie of the year and will be a #1 WR in the league for a long time.
On the defensive side of the ball, maybe the only player to note would be Marcus Gilchrist, who finally seems comfortable after moving from cornerback to strong safety in the offseason.
Ed: If you could take one player off the Giants' roster and put him in the Chargers' lineup who would it be? Why?
John: Either Prince, because the Chargers don't have a single cornerback worthy of wearing an NFL uniform, or Jason Pierre-Paul because the Chargers don't have a single (healthy) pass-rusher worthy of wearing an NFL uniform.
Ed: If you were game-planning against the Chargers how would you approach their offense? How would you attack their defense?
John: If you can get the offense off balance, you can beat them. Stop the run or stop the pass, don't try and do both. I'd sell out on stopping the run and double-team Keenan Allen.
Attacking the defense is easy, because it's the worst defense in the league and the 5th worst defense in several decades worth of NFL football. Just don't turn it over. Run the ball if you'd like. Throw it if you want. Either way, you're going to get yards and points. The only way you can lose is by turning the ball over, and even then you can win if your defense can force a few turnovers of its own.