Happy Friday, New York Giants fans! It is, of course, time for our weekly 'Friday Five' segment with the always-informative Pat Traina of Inside Football. Be sure to stop by Pat's site for my answers to her questions. Her answers to mine are after the jump.
Ed: Eli Manning deflected praise this week for his career-high passer rating. Yes, guys around him have done some good things. Are you seeing anything different in Manning's approach this season, however?
Pat: Well, he's not forcing his passes into tight spots like he used to. As for his preparation, I think he's handled the rather unusual circumstances quite well. He's really stepped up as a leader in taking all his receivers under his wing to make sure their communication is better than ever before.
Ed: Pro Bowl voting started this week. I know it's too early for this nonsense, but ... if the Pro Bowl was being held Sunday instead of Giants vs. Dolphins, which Giants would belong in the game?
Pat: Based on the first six games, It think you have to go with Eli Manning and Jason Pierre-Paul. You might be able to make a case as well for Hakeem Nicks. (For the record, I'd just as soon wait till December, when the balloting closes, before discussing the Pro Bowl as a lot can happen between now and then.)
Ed: Lots of talk about Corey Webster being assigned to the No. 1 wide receiver on each team, which means this week he gets Brandon Marshall. To me, the big, physical receiver (Marshall is 6-foot-4, 230 pounds) is the kind of guy Webster has trouble with (I think of him getting torched by San Diego's Vincent Jackson). What do you think of the matchup, and Webster's play thus far?
Pat: I think Webster has done a solid job. I have mixed feelings about the matchup, but sometimes when a guy is in a groove, as Webster seems to be, the confidence can help him raise his game in ways no one anticipates, even against an opponent that might otherwise create fits for him.
Ed: When interviewed during the bye week, Tom Quinn wasn't as complementary of the job Devin Thomas has done returning kickoffs as I thought he might have been, or should have been. The new rules make it difficult, but can you assess the job Thomas has done on returns thus far?
Pat: I can see Quinn's point, and I think all you need to do is look at how many times Thomas hasn't gotten the ball out to at least the 20. I've thought there were some instances where he should have refrained from bringing it out. I know there were some muffs, as Quinn pointed out. Has thomas hurt the Giants? Not really. However, some of his decisions have been head-scratchers.
Ed: Statistically, the Giants ran the ball better in their last game than they had all season. I'm not convinced the Giants have "fixed" their running game, though. Do you think this area will get better, or is it going to be an issue all season?
Pat: Wow, that's hard to say. It's interesting because a few people I've spoken with say that the running game improved when Bear Pascoe was put in at fullback for Henry Hynoski. I don't totally buy that, though. One thing I did notice in the last game (vs. Buffalo) was that Bradshaw was a lot more patient with letting is blocks develop. I think that was huge. I also thought the blocking overall was better, even without Chris Snee in the lineup. I would hope for the team's sake that the upward trend continues, but I don't have a crystal ball.