In case you hadn't heard, your New York Giants are facing the green goblins known as the New York Jets this week. With that in mind, this week's Q&A with an opposing team's blogger is with Scott Salmon of SB Nation's Gang Green Nation.
Ed: Assess the Jets' season to this point. Are you satisfied with what they have done, and do you think this team/franchise is pointed in the right direction?
Scott: Before the season, I would have said I'm very satisfied. Now that we're here though, I don't think I am. The Jets started the season 4-1, and at the time should have won the game against the Philadelphia Eagles. They then went 1-4 before winning the last game. Now, one of those losses was to the New England Patriots and that was a close game. Another one against the Oakland Raiders came as Ryan Fitzpatrick was injured early and Geno Smith came into the game cold. That in mind, the team has the talent and at certain points played well enough to be 8-3 and a solid lock on a wildcard spot right now, not 6-5.
I do think the team is headed in the right direction. Overall, the talent level on the team has improved dramatically since last season with a number of acquisitions. Some young players are playing extremely well, like Calvin Pryor, Leonard Williams, and Marcus Williams. As your next question asks, Todd Bowles has been a significant improvement as well.
Ed: Along that same line, what is your take on Todd Bowles so far?
Scott: I like to say that it's finally like the grown ups are at the table. Bowles is focused on being a head coach, not just a glorified defensive coordinator. He isn't perfect, and has made a few mistakes with clock management and playing time. However, he seems to be learning already, as he's benched some longstanding players like Demario Davis for poor play and cut another, Quinton Coples, when not playing up to snuff. That is something we never, ever, ever, ever would have seen with Rex Ryan.
Ed: Who are a couple of under-the-radar players we should be looking for on Sunday?
Scott: If Marcus Williams is healthy, watch out for him. He's tied in the league in interceptions despite playing very few snaps. If you don't know about Calvin Pryor, this year he's playing like arguably one of the best safeties in the league. On offense, it may be worth watching out for Quincy Enunwa. When he was out for four games, the offensive game plan was stifled significantly. Enunwa adds a lot as a blocker and sometimes pass-catcher at tight end that lets the offense do a lot more.
Ed: If you could take ONE player NOT NAMED ODELL BECKHAM JR. off the Giants roster and put him in your starting lineup, who would it be? Why?
Scott: It's gotta be Eli Manning. Fitzpatrick has been a pleasant surprise this year, but if Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker had a real quarterback throwing to them, this might be one of the best teams in the league with how the defense has played.
Ed: You are game planning against the Jets. How would you attack them, offensively and defensively?
Scott: On offense, I'd target the linebackers. They've really struggled in coverage, which is why Davis was benched. David Harris isn't much better at coverage, and the outside linebackers can't get it done either. I'd throw a ton of intermediate passes over the middle.
On defense, priority one is stopping Chris Ivory. When Ivory can't get going, the rest of the offense struggles. If Ivory can start knocking skulls, he'll kill your spirit with all his broken tackles and keep your offense off the field. Once you can do that, all you need to do is focus on flooding the intermediate zones with defenders because Fitzpatrick doesn't have the arm to go deep.
Thanks to Scott for answering my questions. My answers to Scott's questions are already posted over at GGN.