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'Friday Five' With Pat Traina

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Regular readers of Big Blue View know that Pat Traina of Inside Football and I have collaborated on several things in recent months. Well, today, we unveil another one.

In the never-ending search for unique and interesting content, we begin something today we will call the 'Friday Five.' It will be a weekly Q&A with Pat's answers to my questions appearing here, and my answers to her questions appearing at 'Train-A-Thought.'

Pat has lots of great insights and inside knowledge of what is going on around the team, so I'm sure you will enjoy these.

By the way, you might remember that I did something like this with Ernie Palladino last season. Since Ernie is writing for now, we really don't have that ability any longer.

Ed: Since this is the first one of these we have done, let's start here. Which Giants player has surprised you the most so far this season, in a positive manner?

Pat: I think definitely Osi Umenyiora. Coming in I think there were a lot of question marks about his attitude and his health, and given the way he's played so far, well, it's just been phenomenal.

Ed: Six games and it has already been a roller coaster ride for the Giants. They play their first division game Monday night. Do you see the Giants as a likely playoff team right now?

Pat: Right now, yes. Unlike Ernie Accorsi, I believe defenses win championships. And at the risk of jinxing this team, they're relatively healthy, which is also in their favor. I think if they continue to improve on both sides of the ball and they don't get any screw ups on special teams, they will indeed be in the post season.

Ed: You seem to agree with me that David Diehl is the weakest link in an otherwise pretty good offensive line. Do you get any sense that the Giants will go to Shawn Andrews at some point based on performance, or will it take an injury?

Pat: I think it's going to take an injury. Lately they've been able to adjust their scheme to give Diehl help when he needs it, but I think ultimately, Andrews, when he does make it into the lineup, is going to go in at guard.

Ed: What are your feelings on the NFL's crackdown on helmet-to-helmet hits? Is the whole 'players will start getting suspended' thing an overreaction? Or, is it the right thing to do?

Pat: I'm all for player safety, but with that said, I think the league is walking a fine line between player safety and turning the game into touch football. It's going to be hard to determine if a hit is intentional or accidental and I think you have to give guys the benefit of the doubt.

If it's a guy's first offense, maybe give him a warning or a fine. If he's a repeat offender, or a guy who's on the record as promoting himself as a "dirty player," make an example out of those guys. I do agree that fines don't mean a thing to these multimillionaires and that more drastic measures are necessary, but even in our legal system, often times first offenders are let off with a warning and a fine rather than tossed into jail, if you know what I mean.

Ed: The decision is yours. The situation is that Madison Hedgecock is healthy again and ready to play. Are you giving him his job back, or are you leaving Bear Pascoe at fullback?

Pat: First , I don't think Hedgecock will be completely "healthy" this year. I said it at the start of the season - shoulder surgeries like what he had take about a year to really recover from and that's just for us normal folks who aren't pushing around 300-pound loads. So even before his hammy injury, I always suspected that his surgically repaired shoulder wasn't right.

You know how I was singing Pascoe's praises back in the spring when mostly everyone else saw him as camp fodder. However, as of this writing, Pascoe has yet to be tested by the blitz, and I think whether he has a future as a full time fullback all depends on how well he does again the blitz (and Dallas is going to bring it- make no mistake about that!)

I also think it depends on the tight end injury situation. If Heaven forbid Kevin Boss is dinged again, they're not going to have much of a choice unless they IR Hedgecock and bring up Charles Scott from the practice squad. I don't know much about Scott but I have heard that he has the goods when it comes to blocking, so I guess we'll have to wait and see what happens.