Ed: You did great piece on the offensive line this week. I think everybody, except the five linemen, believes this will be the final year the Giants keep this group together. It's Game 1 of the 2011 season. Look into your magical crystal ball and tell me how the Giants line up across the offensive line.
Pat: First, thank you for the compliment; it's always nice to know that someone other than my family is reading my stuff (LOL!) You know, I always hate "predict the future" questions because there's generally a curve ball that is thrown into the equation. I am not trying to dodge your question, but I think we have to see what happens with the CBA because that could force a lot of unexpected things to happen that perhaps most people aren't anticipating right now.
Ed: Who returns kicks on Sunday, Will Blackmon or Darius Reynaud?
Pat: I think we'll see Blackmon returning punts and Reynaud returning kicks. From what I've observed, the Giants' punt return philosophy hasn't quite meshed with Reynaud's strengths, though I think you also have to take into consideration that the blocking hasn't always been ideal for him either. However, a punt returner needs to be able to make something out of nothing, which Reynaud hasn't been able to do. Now on kickoff returns, I'd love to see DJ Ware get a chance, but the other day offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride mentioned that Ware hasn't always taken advantage of the opportunities presented to him. Maybe that will change in the second half of the season - as TC likes to say, "We'll see."
Ed: Are you as stunned as I am by the nonsense that has gone on in Washington this week between Mike Shanahan and Donovan McNabb?
Pat: Not really. Look at the nonsense that went on with Albert Haynesworth. I understand what Shanahan is trying to do, but I don't agree with his approach because playing mind games WILL backfire on you eventually. If he's trying to light a fire under McNabb, I think he's going about it the wrong way.
Ed: The Giants have started 5-2 or better every season of Tom Coughlin's tenure. In your estimation, is there any single reason why they don't always maintain that success? Or, do you just have to take each season and its circumstances separately?
Pat: I think you have to take each season on a case-by-case basis. This year, the division games are coming later in the season , for instance, so there is less likely to be that much of a change from the first time teams play each other to the second time. Then you have factors such as the team's health and more that can play into how a team does. I think that the players understand that it's not how you start; it's how you finish. If they don't, then all they need to do is look back at last year for the textbook example of why you can't rest on your laurels if you get off to a strong start.
Ed: With Matt Hasselbeck out, Charlie Whitehurst makes his first NFL start. What, if anything, do the Giants know about the guy?
Pat: I would think when it comes to Whitehurst, they might review college film and/or old scouting reports. However, remember one thing – just because there is a change at a position doesn’t mean that the whole offense is going to change. I’m sure the Seahawks might not do certain things that they would otherwise do if Hasselbeck were in there, but truthfully if you’re Perry Fewell, you can’t sit there and freak out just because you’re facing a guy who’s relatively new to the NFL world. Remember this if nothing else. I don’t think Fewell is the kind of coordinator who will alter too much of what he plans to do because Hasselbeck isn’t in there.