We begin our post-Thanksgiving New York Giants coverage with our weekly 'Friday Five' feature. We do that, of course, with the informative editor of Inside Football, Pat Traina. Her answers to my questions are after the jump, and you can find my answers to her own interesting questions over at her site.Ed: I am SOOOOO tired of hearing this team talk, and watching them lose games that you would think they should win against apparently inferior opponents. Can you put your finger at why this team plays a few games like that every season? Is it in the temperament of the team? Is it something that emanates from the coach? Is it just that they aren't as talented as we -- or they -- think they are? Can you find any common denominator from year to year?
Pat: I have a couple of theories Ed. The first is that the team, like you and me, is human. Just as we both have our share of days to forget, so too will a team. It's just human nature. It's not as though this team is lousy and has no talent, after all.
My other theory is focused on the feedback that we get from the veterans who say that guys don't always do their jobs. I sometimes wonder if perhaps the guys in question are the youngsters. Remember, many of these young guys have never been through a 16-game season. the college season is what, 10-12 games?
So the extra month can start to wear on the kids in their first year to where it might look as though they're not doing their job, but in fact their stamina is starting to drop off. I guess that's a long shot, but still it wouldn't surprise me if that was the case.
Ed: You asked me for my impressions of Mark Herzlich and Prince Amukamara. I wanted to ask you the same, so what did you think of the two rookies who made their debuts against the Eagles?
Pat: I thought Amukamara played very well in his debut. It wasn't flawless, but it gave me some hope that the Giants now finally have three physical corners to play more man-to-man coverage instead of the zone coverage which is a big reason why often times you see such gaping holes in the middle of the field.
As for Herzlich, again, I liked a lot of what I saw. There were mistakes, but the good thing about him is that he's relentless and I believe he'll eradicate those mistakes from his game. So the arrow on his stock is gong to rise and I think he's going to be a very good player for this team.
Ed: Speaking of rookies, let's talk about Da'Rel Scott. With D.J. Ware and Ahmad Bradshaw out, and nothing really getting done giving Brandon Jacobs the ball, is it time to just throw caution to the wind, get the ball to Scott 15 or so times in a game and see if he can make something happen?
Pat: Well, as I write this, we haven't seen the first injury report yet, so we don't know for sure if DJ Ware will miss Monday's game. Regarding Scott, I'll ask you what I asked my Twitter followers: do you want a guy out there who might not be as good at picking up the blitz and who poses a threat to your team's quarterback's health? I don't.
With that said, I think there are a couple of things they could do. The first would be to have the fullback on the field in third down situations (I don't believe the fullback gets on the field much on third down). We could also maybe see more of Beckum in a blocking role.
Of course in the best-case scenario, Scott is ready to pick up the blitz.
Ed: In my opinion, we are seeing WAY too much three-man line from the Giants, especially with Jason Pierre-Paul at the nose. Your thoughts on that alignment?
Pat: I hate it. JPP is a natural edge rusher. Why on earth would you not want to take advantage of that and try to make the kid into something he's not? As one of my readers pointed out in my Nov. 23 Letters to the Editor, this is appears to be a case of having too many pass rushers - they're trying to figure out how to get them all on the field and this particular alignment just isn't the way to go because JPP gets swallowed up inside.
Ed: If I was a betting man I would say at this point that this will turn into a third straight season without the Giants in the playoffs. Has this team already dug itself a hole it probably can't get out of?
Pat: I sure hope not, as from a professional standpoint, them missing the playoff means I lose out on post-season earnings. With that said, I think we're going to get our answer Monday night. Let's forget about what Dallas did yesterday because that was out of their control. What is in their control is how they play, their intensity, and their execution. If they come out and lay a stink bomb against the Saints, then to be honest, they might as well pack it up for the year because then they're going to be in a hole that's going to be difficult to get out of.