In his weekly Q & A with the New York Giants’ opponent’s site, Ed asks one question in particular:
"If you could take one player off the Giants' roster and put him in your lineup, who would it be and why?"
With the Cincinnati Bengals coming to town for an important matchup on Monday Night Football in Week 10, let’s turn the tables.
Starting today, and continuing throughout the regular season, we’ll ask you: if the Giants could have any player off the roster of this week’s opponent, who do you take?
Without a second thought, Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert is my choice. Eli Manning’s track record with a solid tight end speaks for itself. Jeremy Shockey. Kevin Boss. Jake Ballard. Martellus Bennett. Not so much Brandon Myers, but you get the picture.
Since he came into the league, Manning has used his tight end as a safety blanket in tough spots. And it’s worked, even if it hasn’t always resulted in eye-popping statistics. Ballard wasn’t heard from before or after 2011 — even then, he only caught 38 passes— but Eli had confidence in him with games on the line and Ballard usually came up big. His 1-yard touchdown catch with 15 seconds remaining beat the New England Patriots that season.
Eifert’s big frame (6-foot-6, 250 pounds) and strong hands scream safety blanket, especially in the red zone, where he caught 11 of his 13 touchdowns in 2015. His size and athleticism is nearly identical to Bennett, another Eli favorite during his tour with the Giants (he isn’t doing so bad with Tom Brady in New England this season either). And he can run block.
It’s no accident Manning’s slower than usual start in 2016 has coincided with Larry Donnell’s regression and the lack of depth behind him. Could you imagine pairing Eifert with an outside trio like Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz and Sterling Shepard?
Read the case for the others below.
This isn’t to suggest Dalton is Manning’s equal; he isn’t. But he is six years his junior and holds a 53-30-2 record (.624 winning percentage) in the regular season.
Green, now in his sixth season, surpassed 1,000 yards receiving in each of his first five years. In only eight games, he’s 104 yards away from hitting the century mark again 2016. Green is arguably the best of the bunch, but the Giants’ wide receivers aren’t too shabby themselves.
Whitworth is an All-Pro and one of the top left tackles in the league. He anchors a line that’s allowed the Bengals offense to rank sixth in total yards (395.4), fourth in passing (275.1) and seventh in rushing (120.3). The position has been a sore spot for Giants’ fans waiting for second-year man Ereck Flowers to take that next step.
DT Geno Atkins
A four-time Pro Bowl and two-time All Pro defensive tackle who is only 28 and coming off an 11.5-sack season? Who wouldn't want that, even with Damon Harrison and Johnathan Hankins?
DE Carlos Dunlap
Dunlap has been a quality pass-rushing defensive end throughout his career. He had a career-best 13.5 last year and has 5 this year, which would lead the Giants. The Giants are last in the league with 11 sacks and are being forced to generate pressure by sending extra rushers. They could use Dunlap's skill set.