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It's Friday, so Ernie P. is in the house


Time for my weekly visit with long-time Giants beat writer Ernie Palladino. As usual, we are both answering the same set of questions. My answers can be found over at Ernie's Giants Beat.

1. What would you do to solve the C.C. Brown problem at safety?
Ernie's Answer: "You mean short of summary execution? Kidding. Really. It was obvious from the lack of activity at the trade deadline Tuesday that either the Giants aren't interested in bringing someone new in, or that they couldn't find anything suitable for a decent price out there. So they're stuck with an existing corps that is comprised of Brown, Aaron Rouse, and Michael Johnson, and a practice-squad safety in Sha'reff Rashad. Obviously, you wouldn't want to move Rashad into a starting position, but you might move Rouse there. He's a ball-hawk kind of guy, probably a lot better in coverage than Brown. But then you'd lose the run support that Brown offers. It's been suggested that Tom Coughlin move one of the cornerbacks to safety -- perhaps Terrell Thomas -- but with Aaron Ross still out with a hamstring problem, the corners cannot be diluted. And I'm not comfortable moving Rouse, who has only been here three weeks, into a starting position. He's good enough to get more time in passing situations, so I'd use the dime more frequently and throw him in there. Aside from that, I'd just leave things the same and coach the HECK out of Brown. It's not that he doesn't have the speed. It's his coverage skills, and those can be worked on. Not a wonderful solution, but with the talent available, it's probably the best one."
2. How do you think the Giants will rebound from a terrible loss like they had in New Orleans?
Ernie's Answer: "Tom Coughlin's teams have shown nothing if not resilience. You know that cliched saying, "Never get too high after a win or get too low after a loss?" Well, this team takes it to heart. Wednesday's practice had a lot of intensity to it, so it looks like their heads are in the right place. Besides, remember what happened in 2007 after they gave up 80 points while losing the first two games? They ripped off six straight wins and seven of eight. Then they pulled a 41-17 stinker against Minnesota, righted the ship, and went to the Super Bowl. I'm willing to bet this team plays 100 percent better against Arizona Sunday. What's more -- and I'm going to go out on a hell of a limb here, I know -- I'll bet C.C. Brown has at least an acceptable outing and the defensive line gets at least two or three sacks."
3. If Anquan Boldin's ankle prevents him from playing to full strength Sunday, does the secondary have a decided edge in the passing game?
Ernie's Answer: "Not really. Larry Fitzgerald is pretty amazing. And the guy nobody seems to talk about, Steve Breaston, can make enough plays himself. So they do have weapons besides the Boldin-Fitzgerald combo. Tim Hightower is a good receiver out of the backfield with 29 catches for 228 yards. But Breaston is the real secet weapon of sorts. You may remember him from the Cardinals' comeback after the Jets put up 34 points in the second quarter. Breaston caught nine balls for 122 yards that day and has 96 catches for 1,251 yards and four touchdowns over his last 19 games. So whether Boldin is there or not, a secondary that failed miserably at the task of containing the Saints' receivers last week will again have its hands full."
4. Should the Giants reinstate Domenik Hixon as a starting wide receiver over Mario Manningham?
Ernie's Answer: "Hixon ran a bunch of nice routes and was open deep several times last week. And his three catches for 22 yards simply added to a personal 300 combined yardage day. But Manningham has become a valuable entity at receiver, showing excellent concentration and improved route-running ability. So I'd keep Manningham right where he is and let Hixon concentrate fully on his kickoff and punt return duties, which he took from the ineffective Sinorice Moss last week. Can't argue with the results there, as Hixon's seven kickoff returns for 230 yards easily surpassed Moss' 6-for-109 total for the five previous games. Hixon showed some outstanding qualities last week in hitting gaps and insisting on getting those extra yards. It's stuff you never saw from Moss. Let Hixon go out in the three or four-wide personnel groupings, but his major contributions should -- and probably will -- come on the return teams."