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'Friday Five' With Pat Traina, Cowboys-Giants Game 1 Edition

Good morning, New York Giants fans! Time for our weekly 'Friday Five' with the always-informative Inside Football editor, Pat Traina. This week we chat about the up-and-down nature of the Giants, Kenny Phillips, the future of Tom Coughlin and more.

Be sure to check out Pat's site for my answers to her questions.

Ed: Do you think we will continue to see the kind of effort from the Giants that we saw Sunday against Green Bay? Lots of talk about gaining momentum, using it as a springboard, etc.? Or, have you given up trying to figure out the ups and downs of this team?

Pat: They're saying all the right things, Ed, but just as I stopped bothering to ask guys listed on the injury report how much work they did - I can count on two fingers the number of guys who have been truthful/accurate in that regard - I don't want to hear the bravado. I want to see it. And we won't see it until they take the field on Sunday. I think they know what's at stake here. I also think it comes down to how badly they as a group want it.

Ed: No official word yet, but it seems likely Kenny Phillips will not play. What will the Giants miss without him, and how do you expect to see them try to replace him?

Pat: What they miss without him is his aggressiveness. However, one thing we constantly write about at Inside Football is how deep Phillips tends to play to the point where sometimes it's as if they have just ten men on defense. With that said, I'm concerned that if that trend continues, and they replace him with Deon Grant (who in the opinion of many has lost a step), that secondary could be in for a long day.

Ed: Talk about Mitch Petrus. He got a lot of praise after last week. What has taken so long for him to get an opportunity, and do you think the Giants view him as a guy who could be a long-term solution at guard eventually?

Pat: I really don't know what's taken so long. Petrus tends to be an excitable guy so he's been a victim of his own hand to where he's making mistakes in the reps he does get. Remember, I don't get to see the team part of practice. Is he a long-term solution at guard? Well Snee isn't going anywhere and I would think that once Beatty is healthy again, he goes back to left tackle and Diehl goes back to left guard. So my guess is no unless they decide they don't want any of these three guys any more - and I don't see that happening.

Ed: Many people think it's playoffs or bust for Tom Coughlin's future as head coach of the Giants. Can you see scenarios under which Coughlin would stay on even if the Giants miss the playoffs?

Pat: I think so long as they show fight and don't quit on him, Coughlin will get a pass given the injuries that this team had and the rookies he was given to work with. Now with that said, if memory serves me correctly, Coughlin was inked to an extension after the lockout ended which I believe enters its final year next year. Typically the Giants don't let a coach go into lame duck status, so it will be interesting to see what they do with TC if they do keep him. One last point - I am not sure that even if TC is kept, that all of his assistants stick around.

Ed: Time to go out on a limb, Pat. Not letting you out of it this time. In your gut, do you think the Giants turn things around the last four weeks and make the playoffs? Or, are they going home early?

Pat: I would like to think that they turn this around and pull it together and get into the playoffs, but talk is cheap and I'm from the "Show Me" state. So it doesn't matter what I think (If I could predict the future, I'd be retired and living in Hawaii right now.) What matters most is that they show up for their remaining games because if they don't, then all the talk was nothing more than wasted breath.