With the New York Giants facing the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday Bleeding Green Nation editor JasonB and I got together for a chat Thursday afternoon. We hit on a variety of topics, and the result of our chat is below for your enjoyment.
JB: Okay, the one question I've been dying to ask a Giants fan... What happened to Corey Webster?
Ed: That's a great question. He broke his hand, but no one has ever said on what play. I have a pretty good idea, but no confirmation. There was an option play early in the game where Cam Newton pitched the ball and Webster had to reach out and make a one-handed tackle with the hand that is now broken.
JB: Because he went from a Pro Bowl caliber player last year to what seems to me like a liability so far this season
Ed: Ah, you're talking about performance. That, too, is a good question. I honestly think it has a lot to do with the Giants playing too much "off" coverage. Webster likes to press and get in the face of the receiver. The Giants have played a lot of softer coverage so far.
JB: Would you say this off coverage is to blame for the general underperformance of the Giants secondary?
Ed: Well, in Webster's case it contributes, but he has to play better. Michael Coe and Justin Tryon have played a lot of snaps at the other corner, and neither one is a starting caliber player in the NFL no matter what the scheme. The Giants really need Prince Amukamara and Jayron Hosley to get healthy and stay healthy.
Question for you. What is your take on the whole Michael Vick 'controversy'?
JB: Which are referring to? LOL There's no shortage of Michael Vick controversies it seems...
Ed: The whole 'he is our guy for now' thing?
JB: Well, I don't see that as much of a big deal. People read a lot into Andy Reid saying "we'll continue to evaluate" when answering a question about Vick as the starter... But that ignores that fact that Reid answers almost every question that way. "I'll continue to evaluate" is his default cliche response to literally anything. And he said 5 times this week that he was taken out of context.
But overall, obviously it's not crazy to think he could make a change at QB. He's done it before with McNabb, when he benched him against Baltimore and played Kevin Kolb. I just don't think the quote this week was some sort of revelation or insight in Andy's thinking.
Ed: Vick's numbers would indicate that he is not, or has not, been the same player since 2010. Is there a noticeable difference, or is he still the same guy?
JB: To me, the biggest difference is that he's trying to play the system more than he was in 2010. 2010 was all about instincts. Now, he's trying to become a pocket passer and play this system Andy Reid has and I don't know that it suits him. I think you take away the best of Michael Vick and magnify the weaknesses by trying to fit him into a pocket passer/timing system. I think if you're going to have Michael Vick as your starter... let him be Michael Vick. Or find someone else.
JB: The Giants defense has been schizophrenic so this season. Awful at home against the Bucs, but dominant the next week on the road against Carolina. Do you have any idea what to expect from them? Which is closer to the real defense we'll see for the rest of this season?
Ed: Well, I really wish I had a good answer to that question. The biggest issue has been the secondary. They lost Terrell Thomas for the year. Amukamara, Hosley and cCoe have been hurt at times. Now Rolle's status is in doubt because of the stupid camera person thing in the Carolina game.
The other issue, for me, has been Justin Tuck. He has been a great player for the Giants, but through three games this season he has no sacks, no quarterback hurries and no hits on a quarterback. Jason Pierre-Paul is, I believe, the best defensive lineman in the game, but he can't do everything by himself.
Explain the big loss to Arizona to me? Are the Cardinals that good? Just a bad game for the Eagles? What gives there?
JB: Oh man... Well, I'll say this. The Arizona defense is that good. Daryl Washington & Calais Campbell make up a fantastic duo in their front 7. There really aren't a lot of weaknesses on that D. And as for their offense, they obviously looked better, but that was largely due to the fact that they had short fields all day thanks to the Eagles turnovers.
The Eagles D has done a great job over the first two weeks limiting the points from turnovers and forcing a lot of their own. But that's not sustainable. And the Eagles got burnt by that last week.
Plus, for whatever reason, the Cardinals seem to be one of those bogey teams that the Eagles really struggle with. They got [beat] pretty bad by them last year as well.
Ed: So, what scares you most (if anything) about the Giants, or about the game in general heading into Sunday night?
JB: Well it's nothing new. Obviously I always have fear of the Giants passing attack. Eli Manning has always been kind of feast or famine against the Eagles. Where he has huge games, but has others were he gets picked off and does some of those bizarre Eli things. So I'm always afraid this will be one of those games where he just goes off.
And then of course there's the Giant pass rush. The Eagles offensive line, which is down 2 starters (3 if you count Peters, which you should) was eaten alive by the Cardinals and Michael Vick was under constant duress.
If the Giants create that kind of pressure, which we know they can, we could easily be looking at another multi-turnover night.
I'll shoot the same question back at you.
Ed: It's funny, because I knew you would do that. And the answer is almost identical.
The first thing that scares me, always, is the big-play, quick-strike potential of the the Eagles. That is especially true with the Giants being banged up in the secondary. I'm always holding my breath because I know, I just know, a big play is coming and I'm going to have to watch DeSean Jackson celebrate. Or Michael Vick run and nobody catch him because somebody foolishly lets him move left.
Defensively, for me it's about whether Will Beatty and Sean Locklear can handle Trent Cole and Jason Babin. Eli Manning has been sacked once in the last two weeks, and he hasn't been hit very often, either.