It is Friday morning, which means time for our weekly 'Friday Five' segment with Inside Football's Pat Traina. Aaron Ross, Kenny Phillips and the play of the tight ends are among this week's topics.
Ed: Do you believe Aaron Ross can do a quality job as a starting cornerback? Also, knowing that we can't predict injuries, do you think he can hold up physically?
Pat: Let me tell you what my biggest concern with Aaron Ross is. He's had two seasons in a row with a lower body injury - first it was the hamstring and then last year the problem with his foot. So I'm a little concerned about his ability to keep up with some of the speedsters this team is going to face ( and compounding my concern is the fact that at times Kenny Phillips has looked slow in coming over with the deep help). I'm hoping for the best, but I have my expectations tempered.
Ed: After two preseason games the Giants can't be happy with the work of their tight ends. Do you believe the guys they have on the roster right now can get the job done, or will they be looking for an upgrade before the season opener?
Pat: The problem I have with the tight ends is that they've been moving Pascoe back and forth between fullback and tight end, and the blocking involved at both positions is very different in terms of angles. So I'm not sure if he's been able to get into a groove.
I thought preseason was the time to see what you had, not what you know about. I don't understand the logic here - if you need to find out if he can be a full time tight end, then let him take all his reps at tight end.
They have what, 12 games of film with Pascoe at fullback from last year and they still don't know whether he's the answer there (and if he was, would they have bothered with signing Henry Hynoski?)
Similarly, if you want to know if Hynoski is the answer at fullback, let him work against the same level of competition he'd be facing in the regular season.
Getting back to your question, I'd have to say that right now I'm not sure. I thought there were some glimmers of hope from the last preseason game, but not enough to where I can cross the tight end spot off my list of concerns.
Ed: I did not like what I saw from Kenny Phillips Monday night. Three long completions by Chicago, and it looked like Phillips was late in coverage on all three. Your thoughts on Phillips and what kind of player he is at this point in his career.
Pat: As I said above, I thought Phillips looked a step too slow. I know that the surgery he had takes a while to come back from, but I also am of the opinion that despite claims to the contrary, you're NEVER the same after surgery - I don't care what kind of surgery it is. So I'd agree - Phillips has yet to look like his pre-surgery self. And I think they're bringing Deon Grant back was very telling, not just because Tyler Sash is still a work in progress, but because if Phillips does have issues, you can plug Grant in and not miss a beat.
Ed: The special teams play looked better Monday against Chicago than it has in a long, long time. Give me your take. Are the coverage and return units really better than they have been the past couple of years?
Pat: Too soon to say because it's preseason, and I think most of what we saw on Monday night was a bunch of hungry rookies playing against more hungry rookies that were looking to impress. I think we need to see a few more games before we can say if the special teams play has indeed improved - remember, it didn't look so hot the week before, with many of the same rookies manning the positions...
Ed: Let me toss one question back at you that you also asked me. Give me the name of a player who you think is going to come out of nowhere to make the 53-man roster, and one who you think will end up being a surprise cut?
Pat: Ah, I hate when you put me on the spot. I think DJ Ware is in danger of losing his roster spot - loads of talent, but he commits these annoying little brain blips that I am sure drive the coaches mad. As for a surprise to make the roster, I'm going to go with LB Spencer Paysinger - you don't get first team reps as a rookie unless you're something special.