The New York Giants first preseason game of the 2011 season is Saturday against the Carolina Panthers. That means it is time to revive one of my favorite segments, the weekly 'Friday Five' with Pat Traina, the knowledgeable and always insightful editor of Inside Football. Be sure, of course, to stop by her site and check my answers to her questions.
One thing to note. Pat and I swapped these questions before the Steve Smith signing by Philly, so that is not addressed here.
Big Blue View: Lots of 'bridge-jumping' from Giants fans thus far. I have been telling readers to calm down and let everything play out. Are you seeing the same thing, and what is your take on it?
Pat: I have been seeing the same thing and in fact after seeing the same sentiments expressed by my readers in Letters to the Editor, I wrote this piece in hopes of calming people down.
BBV: The most pleasant surprise for you in camp thus far?
Pat: Henry! Henry! Henry! (Like you didn't already know that?) Why is he a surprise? Most rookies come in and are totally lost -it takes them days, if not weeks to find their groove. Hynoski, from what I've seen, seems to have found his groove and just to see how this kid goes about his work is very reassuring.
BBV: It is difficult to assess line play in training camp. But ... any thoughts on what you have seen from the revamped offensive line thus far?
Pat: Pretty hard to say so far because it just seems that if fluctuates each day. For instance, at one practice I saw Will Beatty have his way with Jason Pierre-Paul. In another, it was the opposite. I think it's too soon to tell and to be fair, we really have to see a game or two first.
BBV: The tight end situation. Personally, I am not as concerned about it as some of the 'bridge-jumping' fans. What is your take on it?
Pat: I'm not concerned about it either. I think people tend to fear the unknown-didn't people panic when Jeremy Shockey went down and some unknown rookie named Kevin Boss had to step up and take over? How did that work out?
Fans need to remember that the Giants have an excellent tight ends position coach in Mike Pope. Seriously, this man has worked wonders with some marginal talent throughout his career, and I think he's going to whip the group he has into shape. I like Pascoe and I think he's going to be a lot better than people realize. Beckum is having a pretty good camp so far and if he transfers that into the games, then that's another problem resolved.
Finally there is the fullback - what does that have to do with the tight ends? Well, remember all those failed short-yardage situations? One of the coaches once told me that if you have a good fullback that covers up a world of sins. And maybe it's just the summer heat, but I have visions of Pascoe and Hynoski crushing people in that running game, especially in short yardage.
BBV: Antonio Pierce thought the Giants were 'passion-less' when he visited camp. How would you asses the mind-set of this team with all the stuff that has gone on thus far?
Pat: First, let me say that I completely respect Pierce. In the short time he's been "one of us" he has done an absolutely fantastic job. With that said, I disagree with his assessment. For starters, he was at one practice and if I remember correctly, it was an early one with the team still kind of feeling their way around each other. Monday night I saw a lot of passion from the defense, particularly the defensive backs, who were all over the place making plays. With that said, I sometimes wonder if perhaps Pierce is trying to motivate his old team - once a Giant, always a Giant, as the saying goes.