It is time for our weekly 'Friday Five' segment with the always-informative editor of Inside Football, Pat Traina. This week we talk about Antrel Rolle and other issues surrounding the New York Giants following a Week 1 loss to the Washington Redskins. Check Train-A-Thought for my answers to Pat's questions.Ed: There was, obviously, a lot to be concerned about in the season-opening loss to Washington. Going forward, what did you see that the Giants should be most concerned about?
Pat: The offensive line. I realize that it's still a work in progress, but these guys are veterans and some of the inside stuff they were giving up were just downright scary. You could have Tom Brady himself standing back there and if the line doesn't do its job, I don't think it will matter. They need to pick up their play and fast.
Ed: Antrel Rolle talked a lot this week. Out of all the things he said perhaps the thing to focus on in his talking about the secondary playing with a lack of urgency against Washington. That is amazing for a season opener. Do you sense that there is a lack of urgency, passion, motivation, whatever you want to call it, around this team?
Pat: Remember how during the preseason we learned about how Sage Rosenfels played despite having been sick? The point here is that we just don't know what's going through a guy's mind. Maybe he's not feeling well and that's showing up in his play. Does that make him less motivated? No. But it does make him less effective if he's not 100% of mind and body.
Ed: Speaking of Rolle, you know him perhaps better than any of the beat writers. Is he from what you can see becoming a problem in the locker room or for the organization, and why does he keep sticking his foot in his mouth?
Pat: You're probably giving me a little too much credit here but thanks anyway. I have spoken to Rolle on many occasions though and I truly believe he's not a bad kid. He's very passionate about his work and wears his heart on his sleeve. He takes pride in what he does, and I don't' think you can fault someone for being competitive or for taking pride in their work.
With that said, there's no question that he's very outspoken and opinionated, and that's what I think rubs people the wrong way. It's like the fan in the sports bar that has the rose-colored glasses on when it comes to his team and will loudly proclaim to anyone that listens how good his team is even if the truth is staring him right in the face. Does that make the guy a bad person? No. Can it get annoying? Yes.
Ed: I seem to like doing this, so I'm going to throw one of your questions for me right back at you. Knowing what we know now, if we were to have Jerry Reese go back and undo one thing that was done leading up to this point, what would it be and why?
Pat: Ah c'mon Ed. You need to be a little more original! I would say tight end would be the one move I'd like to see redone. Now while I don't fault Reese for letting Kevin Boss go, what I do fault him for is leaving the cupboard so dry given Beckum's injury history (and yes I'm aware that he tried to address the position, but realistically, who was left of quality given the timing of the whole transaction?).
I don't know about you, but last week when Ballard had to come out of the game, I had nightmares live in the daytime. I'm still not comfortable that they have only two healthy true tight ends on that roster and at this point there really isn't anyone out there that I think will solve the problem.
Ed: During preseason I thought the Giants defense was going to have to win games for this team while the offense developed. Now, I'm not sure how good the defense can be. In your opinion do the Giants still have enough talent to be a top-flight defense?
Pat: I think it's too soon to tell. When you take out a key component from all three units - at corner, it's Thomas, at linebacker, it's Goff and on the defensive line, you have to hope that Tuck is done missing games and that Osi Umenyiora comes back - that's a lot to overcome. Then you look at the replacements - at corner you have Aaron Ross, who still hasn't' been the same since his rookie season; Tollefson at defensive end, who has a ton of heart but who quite isn't in the same area code as Tuck, Osi and JPP; and Greg Jones at linebacker who while showing a lot of promise, still is feeling his way around in space. What I'm getting at is you're not replacing apples with apples; that's why your juice mix is going to have a twist of orange in it.