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Chatting with 'Revenge of the Birds'

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Here is this week's chat with Charles Golden, lead blogger for SB Nation's Arizona Cardinals blog, 'Revenge of the Birds.' Of course, it's complete with what turn out to be bonus cheerleader photos for you.

Charles Golden: OK,firstquestionIhavetoaskeachweek.....Whatisyourcurrentinjurysituationandhowwill/coulditeffectSunday'sgame?


Ed: Well,theGiantsareaninjury-riddledmess.SafetyKenny Phillipsoutfortheyearwithakneeinjury,leavingusveryvulnerableatsafety (seeallthediscussiononBBVabout'Bad, Bad C.C. Brown.') Chris Canty,Aaron RossandMichael Boley,alsoallkeydefenders,areout.So,defensivelythisteamhasbeenweakenedandhasnot,truthfully,beenthedominantgroupitwasexpectedtobe.Notthatthatcan'tchange.HowabouttheCardsinjurysituation?

Charles Golden: Anquan Boldinisthebiginjuryatthispoint.Hesufferedthedreaded"high"anklesprainlastweekanddidn'tpracticeyesterdayalthoughbothheandheadcoachKen Whisenhuntsaidthattheywereencouragedbyhisprogress.Boldintoldreportersafterpracticethathe'llmostlikelybeagametimedecisionwhichforhimdoesn'tsoundverypromising.NormallyBoldinemphaticallyproclaimsthathe'sgoingtoplay,especiallyinbiggames,sothismightbejustacaseoftryingnottobreakthebadnewsuntilgametime.OthersonthelistincludeStephenSpach(atightendwhowouldn'tbemissed),Steve Breaston(limited)andBeanieWells(alsolimited).Breastonwouldbeahugeloss,especiallywhenifBoldinwerealsoout,butmostlikelythisisjustaprecautionbecausehe'sbeenslowedbyabonebruisesufferedinthepreseason.Wellsisanewinjurybutwithhispastit'sworthwatchingastheweekprogresses.Outsideofthosethoughtherearenosignificantseasonendinginjuriestospeakof,atleastnotyet.


Ed: OK,soArizonais3-2.Givemeanassessmentofyourteamthrufivegames?

Charles Golden: WellsofarIthinktheCardinalsaresortofthesameteamthatwesawlastyearduringtheregularseason(akaJekyllandHyde).They'llplaysomegreatgames,they'llplayagreathalfeveryonceinawhilefollowedbyaputridhalfandsometimesthey'lljustflatoutlayanegg.Theoffensehasbeenpickingupsteamthroughoutthefirstfivegamesaftersputteringoutofthegatesthankstosomeinjuriesatthewidereceiverposition.Thedefensehasshownflashesofbeingverygood,especiallytherundefense,buttheiroveralllevelofsuccessisgreatlydependentontheirabilitytorushthepasser.Whentheycanpressureopposingquarterbacksthisisaverygoodunitbutwhentheyallowanyquarterbacktogetcomfortabletheywillbebeat.

Charles Golden: TheGiantsstartedtheseasonverynicelyuntilrunningintotheSaints.AretheGiantsaneliteNFCteamordidtheybenefitfromplayingsomeweakteamstostarttheseason?


Ed: Both.OfcoursetheybenefittedfromaschedulethatsawthemplayWashington,TampaBay,KansasCityandOakland(theNFL'sjuniorvarsity)infouroftheirfirstfivegames.AndacoupleofareasofconcerngotexposedSundaybytheSaints,whoprobablyhavethebestoffenseintheleague.But,thisisdefinitelyaneliteteam.Eli Manningisplayingthebestfootballofhiscareer.Theyhaveatalentedgroupofreceivers.Theystillhavethatrunninggame.Defensively,theystillhavenotplayeduptotheirabilitylevel,buttheyhavenotbeenanywhereclosetohealthy,either.TheGiantshavealotofbig-nameplayersontheirdefensiveline,butthatgrouphasbeeninconsistent.Iexpectthattochangeastheseasonwearson.AretheGiantsthebestteamintheNFC?Maybe,maybenot.Ifthisdefenseevergetshealthy,though,IstillthinktheGiantshaveachancetobespecial.

Ed: So,questionIlovetoask.IfyoucouldtakeoneplayerofftheGiantsrosterandputhimonyourteamwhowoulditbe?Why?

Charles Golden: Wow,interestingquestion.NormallyI'dprobablyflipacoinandtakeeitherOsiorTuckbuttheCardinalsjustswitchedtoa3-4defenseandI'mnotpositivethateitherwouldbebestsuitedinthatdefense.ThenextplaceI'dlookisoffensivelineconsideringthattheGiantsareroutinelymentionedamongtheleague'sbest.WithoutknowingthedetailsofeachofyourstartingfiveI'dtakewhichevertackleisbetter.


Ed: Interesting.Inallhonestyina3-4theguywhomightfityourteambestisMathias Kiwanuka,aspeedydefensiveendwhoalsohasoutsidelinebackerexperience.

Charles Golden: Interesting.He'dbeaheavyOLB,kindoflikeLaMarr Woodleybuthe'dprobablystillbeanupgradeoverourguys. Our OLplayhasbeensopoorthoughthatI'dprobablystillstickwithoneofyourtackles

Charles Golden: TheGiantshavereputationasoneofthoseteamsthatcanconsistentlyputpressureonteamswiththeirfrontfour.Howhasthepassrushbeensofarandifyouhadtogameplanaroundslowingthemdown,whatwouldyoudo?


Ed: Well,thepassrushhasactuallybeenanissuethusfar.'Performance'hasnotmatched'reputation.'TheGiantshave14sacks,buthavehadthreegamesinwhichtheygotzerosacks.SundayagainstNewOrleanspressurewasnon-existent.Osi,Tuck,Kiwanukaandtherestoftheguyshavetostartplayingtotheirabilitylevelonaconsistentbasis.

Ed: PredictionforSunday?

Charles Golden: HopefullytheCardsstudytheSaintstapeandtrytousethesameplanofattack.I'llgowithCards35-31.Yours?


Ed: Oh,I'msuretheCardswilltrytoattacktheGiantsinalotofthesameareas.Basically,find'Bad,BadC.C.Brown'andthrowittowhoeverheshouldbecovering.ThatshouldgetyouatleasttwoTDs.Anyway,IthinktheGiantswerereallystungbylastSundayandIthinkyouaregoingtoseeahugeeffortthisweek.Iwillgo30-24,Giants.