With the short week, Ernie Palladino and I traded answers to a common set of questions a couple of days early. Here are Ernie's answers to this week's questions. My answers, of course, can be found at Ernie's Giants Beat.
1. So, you ready to launch Lawrence Tynes yet, or at least after Thanksgiving?
Ernie's Answer: I don't know. I honestly don't know. This guy's got me so torn. The kickoffs are short. He's 50-50 to make the chip shots, and then he wins you a game. Sunday's 36-yarder made two game-winning field goals for him this year (remember Dallas?). So one part of me says, get rid of the guy. The other says the guys on the street are just as inconsistent. That's why they don't have jobs in the first place. So, I'll fall back on the same old song I've been singing since my people started crying for his head after that first short miss against the Cowboys: Until he costs you a game outright, you have to stick with him. But if I were Tom Coughlin, I'd be perusing that short list awful closely the rest of the season.
2. Did the Giants turn the corner with their overtime win against Atlanta?
Ernie's Answer: No. They just dodged a bullet. They've got to show me they can win consecutive games before I start believing they've truly turned things around, either on the offense or the defense. In fact, the way this defense has played the last two games, they should be 5-5 right now. Couldn't stop a thing in the second half against Atlanta, and that late, winning touchdown against San Diego was disgraceful regardless of how questionable Bill Sheridan's playcalling was. There comes a point where a player needs to make a play despite the Xs and Os of the situation, and the Giants aren't doing that. Offensively, I guess you can say Eli Manning has come around. He's had two nice games in a row, so let's not blame the Giants' troubles on him. But the fact is they're still not running the ball enough. And if they keep forcing Eli to rely on the deep throw, they could be in for more trouble. Beat Denver, and then we'll talk about corners and busting up the league.
3. Though Chase Blackburn did a credible job filling in for Antonio Pierce at MLB, is he a long-term answer there?
Ernie's Answer: Oddly enough, he might be. The guys in the locker room talk about him with a lot of reverence, regarding him as a grossly underrated player. They like his motor, say he's always prepared, studies the game, and they love his aggressiveness. Remind you of a younger version of somebody else? No. Not me. I didn't say anything about looks. I'm thinking Antonio Pierce here. If Blackburn can stay healthy, I think he can serve as Pierce's successor very easily. And remember, we still don't know what Jonathan Goff can do. The coaches like his speed, and he's been tearing it up on specials this year. So between the two of them, the Giants may not have a pressing need at linebacker moving past this season. As for the rest of the current schedule, I was impressed with how Blackburn jumped in on short notice and did a decent job. I have no reason to believe he'll be anything but solid in the middle.
4. Now that Aaron Ross has taken some playing time at safety, would you start him there?
Ernie's Answer: I think that's the next step, but not yet. I'd like to see him play a whole half there against Denver in place of Aaron Rouse. See how he holds up there, and then start him against Dallas providing he's healthy and mobile enough. Ross didn't look bad at all in his work Sunday. He made four tackles in playing mostly in the fourth quarter. At that time, he was arguably the best defensive back on the field, given that Rouse was bouncing people around late and Bruce Johnson was chasing third receiving option around willy-nilly. Let's face it, the secondary needs help. Terrell Thomas and Corey Webster are their two best corners right now, deservedly so. So let Ross play some safety and, if he feels good enough, slip him in as a nickelback, since he has experience playing the slot receiver. He's got a whole season to make up for, so use him.