The New York Giants and Indianapolis Colts hook up Sunday night at MetLife Stadium in the second preseason game for both teams. With that in mind, Stampede Blue editor Matt Grecco and I swapped 'Five Questions.' Here are Matt's answers to my queries. Be sure to head over to Stampede Blue to see my answers to Matt's questions -- including one that is sure to create a firestorm of protest from Colts' fans.
Ed: What are the Colts expecting from Ahmad Bradshaw? Are you, as the Giants did, growing weary of him being hurt and missing practice?
Matt: I'm expecting two things from Bradshaw this season. First would be serve as a veteran leader for a pretty young backfield. He's been on two Super Bowl winning teams, and there aren't many guys on the roster that have played in one, let alone win two of them. Second is he fits into the mold of RB that Offensive Coordinator Pep Hamilton wants: Point of attack guys who can power through a line, but could break away under the right circumstances. Basically, Bradshaw, Vick Ballard, and Donald Brown are all the same build/size.
Being injured I think comes with the territory with any RB these days in the NFL, which I think is why the Colts have three guys that essentially do the same thing, so when one guy gets hurt, they don't miss a beat. It's probably another reason they aren't rushing Bradshaw back. Seven years at RB in the NFL is a long and successful career, and I'm not that concerned about him missing practices. He'll just need to know how to pick up a blitzer, which I'm sure he's done plenty of times in New York.
Ed: Tell us about a couple of Colts players we might not know about who have been impressive thus far in training camp and the preseason?
Matt: First would be WR Griff Whalen, another guy who played with Andrew Luck at Stanford (along with Coby Fleener). As much as you don't want to stereotype the white, undersized receiver, he plays the role quite well. Especially with the suspension of Lavon Brazill for the first four games, most expect him to make the roster as the #4 WR, with a decent chance of not giving up that spot upon Brazill's return.
Another guy that is turning heads in Palo Alto East is Delano Howell (also from Stanford), a Safety. Due to both injuries and his effort, he played nearly the entire game against Buffalo last Sunday, including Special Teams. I think the coaching staff really likes the effort, and he didn't play too bad, even with some of the Bills first teamers in there towards the latter stages of the first half.
Lastly is the Colts 4th-rounder from 2012, NT Josh Chapman, who didn't play at all last season coming off an ACL injury. Fans have already started penciling him into multiple Pro Bowls, something I'm a little leery doing at this point in his career. He should be the starter by the end of the season though, if not sooner.
Ed: How is Bjeorn Werner fitting in? Lots of Giants' fans thought he was a player the Giants should have taken in the draft.
Matt: From everything I've heard he's battling for the starting OLB spot opposite Robert Mathis, but a sore knee kept him out of the first preseason game last weekend, and haven't heard much about him for this weekend. He did return to practice Tuesday afternoon, so we are all hoping we see him play a bit on Sunday night. I think the biggest thing for him is whether he can drop into coverage, something he didn't do very much at Florida State, and something he seemingly wouldn't have done at all with the Giants. He's competing with Eric Walden, formerly of the Packers, who is very good against the run, but virtually non-existent against the pass. In a passing league (and especially late in a game with the lead), being able to rush the QB/defend a RB/TE is a necessity for Werner. Can't say either way at this point whether he can do it.
Ed: What is the biggest question you have about the Colts as the season approaches?
Matt: Whether the front seven is good enough to defend the pass. They upgraded the secondary bringing in Greg Toler and LaRon Landry to go with Antoine Bethea and Vontae Davis, so I feel confident these guys will be ok most of the time. Every move made up front, however, was seemingly made to improve the Run Defense, sometimes at the expense of the pass Defense (like Walden who I mentioned earlier). The only guy I know, right now, that can get to the QB is Robert Mathis. The Colts were fantastic in close games last year (9-1 in games decided by 7 or less), but they can't count on that happening again. I see several situations where the Colts will give up a late lead, thanks to poor pass defense, and it'll cost them games this year. I hope I'm wrong, but too many signs point to it being a big issue.
Ed: OK. Here's my favorite question, especially for guys who cover teams the Giants don't often face. If you could take one Giants player and put him in the Indianapolis starting lineup who would it be? Why?
Matt: Justin Tuck, and it is a pretty easy decision for me. The Colts need way more help on Defense than Offense, and Tuck is one of, if not the most versatile Front-7 guy in the NFL. Can play DT, DE, or OLB, something I think Chuck Pagano would love to have. Plus, on a personal level, he was at Notre Dame the same time as I was, and lived just down the hall from me for a couple years. Awesome guy, even when we were the only ones who knew he'd be a star.
Honorable Mention: Chris Snee (more BC Offensive Linemen), Hakeem Nicks (Cruz too close to being like Reggie Wayne)
Thanks to Matt for the time, and the knowledge about the Colts. Play nice when you head over to Stampede Blue to debate with Colts' fans.