The New York Giants host the Washington Commanders this Sunday for the first of their two NFC East tilts this season. Thus, our ‘5 questions’ is with SB Nation’s Hogs Haven. Kyle Smith answers our questions.
Ed: Sam Howell or Daniel Jones? Which quarterback would you prefer to have? Why?
Kyle: This one is essentially a slam dunk in favor of Howell. Howell is playing better than Jones so far this year, at around 1/15th the price (it will be 1/47th the price next year). Being as objective as I can be, I think the two players have pretty similar ceilings, but paying $30M+ for Jones’ services just seems like an imprudent decision.
Assuming he stays healthy, we’re going to get a full season to see what Howell has. So far, he’s made some “rookie” mistakes, like tending to hold the ball too long - which is driving his sack numbers through the roof. But, I think most fans would say they’re happy with his play, and excited to see how he can develop over the course of this year. I share that enthusiasm, and think that Howell has been one of the team’s real bright spots so far this year.
Ed: How much credit does Eric Bieniemy get for Howell’s play and the apparent improvement in Washington? Does Bieniemy eventually get Ron Rivera’s job?
Kyle: This is an important question, and one that is tricky to answer. Bieniemy’s play calling - and Howell’s execution - have run the gamut from atrocious, against the Bills, to pretty impressive, against the Eagles. That said, it definitely seems to be an upgrade from Scott Turner last year. One of the things that Bieniemy needs to keep working on, however, is better balancing the run and pass games. The team has tended to be way too pass heavy throughout much of the season thus far. It will be interesting to see if they temper that against a team with a less explosive offense, like NY.
My position is that if Rivera falters seriously this season, he should be fired with Bieniemy installed as head coach for the rest of the season, in order to see what he’s capable of. The odds are good that Washington’s new owner cleans house at the end of the season, and my feeling is that under no circumstances should the new GM be forced to retain Bieniemy if he has a better option in mind.
Ed: If you could take one player off the Giants’ roster and put him into Washington’s starting lineup, who would it be? Why?
Kyle: My head says Andrew Thomas. Washington could really use a tackle of his caliber at this point, and I think - when healthy - he’s probably the most valuable player on the Giants. He’s still young and is one of the best tackles in the league.
My heart says Bobby Okereke, though. He’s fun to watch, and a menace, particularly in coverage. Washington could really use a linebacker with his skillset. All that said, tackle is a far more valuable position than linebacker, and the cold calculation accrues to Thomas’ benefit.
Ed: Emmanuel Forbes is a guy we discussed a lot as a potential Giant. He seems to be struggling and hasn’t played much in two of the last three games. What’s the deal with him?
Kyle: Forbes is currently in the midst of a “time out.” It’s no secret that he has been roasted repeatedly this season, often as a result of playing overly aggressively at the catch point. His potential is evident, but reading between some of the lines from the coaching staff, it seems like he (and some others) are probably guilty of freelancing and screwing up their assignments. I think he’ll eventually get through it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t play much against the Giants.
In the meantime, Maryland product Deonte Banks appears to be playing pretty well for the Giants. Hopefully, Forbes can show more of his potential before the end of the season.
Ed: The Commanders are favored by DraftKings Sportsbook even though the Giants are home. The Giants always seem to get healthy against Washington, but this Commanders team seems different. How do you see this one unfolding?
Kyle: Washington should beat the Giants, especially without Daniel Jones, but I’ve just about given up trying to predict what this team will do. The Thursday night blow out against the Bears seriously shook my confidence in this coaching staff. This feels like a 21-17 game, and I’ll give it to the Commanders, if only because this generally seems to be the part of the season where they go on a mini-run.