The New York Giants face the Washington Redskins Monday night with an opportunity to grab total control of the NFC East. With that in mind, Kevin Ewoldt of Hogs Haven and I swapped five questions. Kevin's answers to my questions are below.
Big Blue View: As terrific as he is, RGIII is not a huge guy and the style he plays means he takes an awful lot of big hits. Do you worry about the long-term impacts of all of those hits?
Hogs Haven: I used to worry but not so much any more. The Shanahans have actually handled RGIII quite brilliantly. The Redskins OLine is not good enough to hold their blocks for a 5 and 7 step drop QB, so they went with the pistol offense to keep rushers honest. Once the Redskins continuing building the OLine and RGIII is able to read defenses even better, the plays that leave him exposed and big hits should go down. If RGIII was in Cleveland, I just can't see his numbers being anything close to what they are now.
BBV: The Giants signed running backs Ryan Torain and Kregg Lumpkin this week. You are, obviously, familiar with Torain. What can you tell Giants fans about what Torain might be able to do to help the Giants down the stretch?
HH: This video clip of Torain trucking Quintin Mikell sums up his best qualities. Unfortunately, that was over 2 years ago and Torain was clearly a shell of that RB last season. Shanahan released him in Denver in 2009 for a knee injury and again in 2011 when he failed to win the starting job after Tim Hightower went down. I don't know of his health right now, but I suppose there's a chance he could be a good change of pace back for 3-5 plays a game. Shanahan said this after the Giants signed Torain: "I was kind of really surprised that he was on the street as long as he was." I think he was being nice there.
Torain Trucks Mikell.MOV (via castij)
BBV: Victor Cruz said this week that he thought the Redskins were "still a couple of pieces away from actually being contenders?" Would you agree with that? If so, what are those pieces?
HH: I absolutely agree with that. Here's what the Redskins will need for STARTERS (major holes) going into the 2013 draft: 2 starting safeties, ILB, 2 CBs, RT. Here's the problem. The Redskins are still in the cap penalty next year and have no first round draft pick. To make cap room, I'd imagine Fletcher, Moss, and DeAngelo Hall will be released...those are starters that need to be replaced. How do you make this defense better with approximately $16m in cap space (they have ~$2.2 right now)? I don't know the answer to that. The Redskins 2013 draft means everything for this franchise's immediate future. They must get starters out of there.
BBV: The Giants have Cruz and Hakeem Nicks. Nicks hasn't been healthy all year, but he is getting close and his production has been going up. Which receiver do you double cover and which do you take your chances with?
HH: Good God that's a tough one. The Redskins ILBs are slow in coverage and have been shredded as a result. DHall and Josh Morgan are actually decent cover corners. My advice would be to bag the zone coverage, press man Nicks and Randle, and give the slot CB help over the middle for Cruz. Let's be real though, the coverage won't matter if Eli Manning has 4+ seconds to throw each down. The Redskins are one of the worst teams in the NFL with pass pressure and they haven't found a fix all year.
BBV: I saw former Giant Barry Cofield listed at HH as one of the Redskins most under-appreciated players. Can you tell me more about what Cofield means to the team?
HH: One thing Shanahan wanted to reverse from Redskins' teams of past was bringing in high character guys. Over half of his draft picks were voted team captains in college and with free agency he takes a similar approach. Cofield has been a leader of this defense both on and off the field. It's important to have hard working guys and Cofield worked did just that this off-season to improve his skillset at the NT position. His stats are not gaudy. However, rushes up the middle, the Redskins D ranks 6th best at 3.42 yards a carry.
My answers to Kevin's questions have already been posted and, in fact, are viewable right from the BBV main page.