Former New York Giants great and current Giants radio and TV analyst Carl Banks has long been a friend of Big Blue View -- which we take as a compliment. With the 2014 season about to dawn, Carl agreed to a short e-mail Q&A. the results of which are below.
Ed: What roster move made by the Giants surprised you the most? For me, it was Kerry Wynn making the roster over Israel Idonije, or even over Bennett Jackson or another running back. Your thoughts?
Carl: Roster move that surprised me most was Charles James in the first wave of cuts. I thought he would make it to the final week. [Kelcy] Quarles I think they wanted and took a chance that he would clear waivers. He was just too active in every game not to hit other teams radar.
Ed: What are your thoughts on the offense? Personally I am more worried about the limits of the personnel, especially at the receiving positions (WR & TE) than I am about schemes, Eli's adjustment to the new system and all that. I just don't see big-time play-makers.
Carl: Offense #WIP work in progress .. we will know more by week 4. Not concerned with WR talent, there's plenty of inventory. First down is key to success. It's a scheme designed to keep down and distance manageable. O-line discipline is key. Penalties are drive killers.
That said they have WRs that can get deep and a RB that can catch and run. The scheme touches every pressure point on defenses. As long as they don't commit drive-killing penalties.
Eli is only as capable as his line -- he shouldn't have to hold the ball long in this offense. He has to display early on that he doesn't suffer from PTSD from last years' beating.
TEs have to catch balls when open on second-and-4 and third-and-6. Scheme efficiency will enable them to be open.
Dropped passes are equal to penalties. I.E. the Jernigan drop on third-and-2 preseason game. Second-and-2 was a throw away (take a shot ) down to Randle incomplete but the drop at third-and-2 forced a punt instead of keeping the offense in rhythm.
Eli must show confidence and command.
If you look around the league at the WC offenses Seattle no star WR, SF no star WR just a runner at QB and a TE that makes plays. GB very efficient WRs that catch balls -- wouldn't say they have Calvin Johnson. All teams that run effectively and stay in manageable down and distance. All teams that go deep into playoffs.
Teams that beat them create long-yardage situations.
Ed: Let's finish with a linebacker question. Devon Kennard has excited the fan base with his preseason play and looks like the best linebacker prospect the Giants have drafted in a long time. What do you see when you watch Kennard? What do you think his ceiling is?
Carl: Very athletic, versatile, understands blocking schemes ... and most importantly he knows how to find the football.
Very high ceiling in that if he was asked to play on opening night the coaches would be confident in his ability to execute the defense.
Thanks to Carl for the time and the insight. Follow Carl on Twitter @CarlBanksGIII