It's Friday, and that means time for my weekly swap of questions with long-time New York Giants beat writer Ernie Palladino. My answers to these same questions are over at Ernie's Giants Beat.
Ernie and I have largely been on the same page with most of our answers this season. Interestingly, The Aaron Ross question below (which was Ernie's question) is the first time I can remember where we completely disagree.
Ernie wants to see Aaron Ross at corner with Terrell Thomas moving to safety. I want Ross at safety, since Thomas is doing a good job, Ross has some experience at safety and I am afraid doing the opposite might cause problems at two positions.
I will be interested to see how you guys feel about this one.
1. We haven't seen much of the no-huddle offense this year. Do you think a return to it in spots could help the Giants' offense?
Ernie's Answer: Absolutely. This subject caused quite a spirited and divided debate at my place (http://
erniepalladinosgiantsbeat. blogspot.com) on Tuesday. Remember back in '07 and '08 when they ran the no-huddle? It was so effective that it had all us reporter types asking why in the world they only use it in spots. It had to be explained to us that it's actually exhausting for the offense because the wide receivers have to sprint back to the line to set up for the next play. That makes sense, but we're not talking about using it all game long. We're talking key spots, especially when the offense appears it's about to stall. The thing about the no-huddle is that it's not necessarily a hurry-up, though some similar principles apply to the two-minute drill. It forces the defense to keep the same personnel on the field because of the possibility of a quick snap. And keeping that defense static opens the possibility of mismatches downfield. And you can run out of it. Honestly, except for the inexperience of a receiving corps that probably benefitted from the tranquility of the huddle while getting the play, I don't know why the Giants stopped using it. Maybe now that Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham are more experienced in the offense, and therefore more able to make those snap adjustments you need to make from the no-huddle, we'll be seeing more of it. If they're ever going to go back to it, this would be the ideal time.
2. Just how big is this game with Atlanta?
Huge. Bigger than the San Diego game. Why? Because this is a conference game that could figure into a tie-breaker situation at the end of the season. Let's say the Giants finish 9-7 and are in the wildcard hunt. A win here gives them a head-to-head over Atlanta. Plus, the division tie-breaker includes conference record as the fourth criteria. In fact, if they're going to throw away any game from here on out, the Thanksgiving night matchup with Denver would be the one. All the rest are conference and division games, and they're all basically must-win games.
3. Now that Danny Ware can carry the ball, how would you use him?
Sparingly. Well, maybe that's too strong a word. I'd throw him in there in the fourth quarter when leading to kill the clock, much as the Giants deployed Ahmad Bradshaw for the most part. Look, Ware seems like a pretty strong runner. But there is still an issue with the elbow he dislocated on the first kickoff of the season. Until the coaches stop worrying about his ability to secure the ball, I'd be very cautious about overusing him. Besides, what this offense needs is not Danny Ware, but more Brandon Jacobs. I've long held that Jacobs needs to get the ball between 20 and 25 times. With Bradshaw penciled in for another seven to 10 carries at least, there would be few carries for Ware, anyway. The fact that Kevin Gilbride and Jerald Ingram just can't wait to put the kid in concerns me. They should be more worried about getting Jacobs in there more. I'm not saying Ware won't someday become a great back. But at this point, he's an extra, not a star. And he should be used as such.
4. Assuming Aaron Ross will be able to play, would you put him at cornerback or safety?
I stick him at corner. If he'd been playing all along, I'd have switched him to safety three games ago. He played a bit there in college and, to me, seems like a good enough tackler to handle the job. But there's a learning curve that goes with switching a guy over, and having been out since the summer with that hamstring problem, putting him at safety right now would be a bit of an overload. I'd rather see him work his way back at corner, with Terrell Thomas going to safety. Remember, we don't know how much Ross can play. Chances are he's going to have to start with a limited workload -- a few snaps -- to prove to the staff he's back all the way. After a couple of games and a possible return to starter, then you can think about switching him if necessary. But I have a feeling that if Thomas goes over there, Ross won't need to move, anyway.