As the Eagles and Giants prepare to close out disappointing seasons, I traded 5 questions with Ed Valentine of Big Blue View. You can check out my answers to his questions over there.
JB: As we talked about in my 5 responses, seeing the Giants go through poor stretches really isn't new, but seeing them fail to bounce back is. Does this Giants team lack the intangibles or the players of the successful teams of the past?
Ed: I don't know if 'intangibles' is the right word. Personally, I never expected this team to win back-to-back titles, although I did expect it to reach the playoffs. The players can say what they want, but the shortened off season and all the distractions of being a champ impact preparation for the next season. I think some players have declined, there were some key injuries and some of the plays the Giants made last season simply didn't happen this time around. Also, maybe some of these guys thought this team was better than it actually is and took too much for granted.
What has happened to Corey Webster? He was one of the most underrated corners in the league last year and has been downright terrible this season.
You remember the movie 'Space Jam?' Well, I think an alien has stolen Corey Webster's talent. Webster has probably declined more than any other player on the Giants. It's frustrating to watch him get beat, and mystifying how a guy with his experience can screw up coverages so often. He complains when he isn't used in 'press' coverage, then gets smoked when he gets to press.
One of the great complaints of Eagles fans over the past couple of years is the 2010 draft where the Eagles took Brandon Graham ahead of Jason Pierre-Paul. Graham basically spent his first 2 years injured while JPP rose to stardom. However, this year JPP has managed just 6.5 sacks, while Graham has 5.5 despite only starting 4 games (since Babin's release). Has JPP regressed or is he just being schemed out of games?
JPP hasn't regressed at all. His sack numbers are down, and I can't tell you exactly why, but I do have theories. First, I believe the Giants are playing him out of position too much. I believe he is best a right end, where five of his sacks have come from this season. Yet, has pass-rushed 236 times from the LEFT end this season to only 228 from the right. Second, the Giants have never figured out how to cover a quick slant so you can three-step drop them to death. Third, the decline of Justin Tuck and lack of production from everybody else means teams can send as many blockers at JPP as they feel like w/out worrying about the other guys.
As an opponent for the past 14 seasons, what are your thoughts on Andy Reid?
I think Andy Reid is a terrific football coach, and I think it has always been a mystery to me why so many fans in Philadelphia have not appreciated him more. No, he never won a Super Bowl but he's an upper echelon coach in the NFL. He has made mistakes, but over 14 years anyone will make a few. Tom Coughlin has won two Super Bowls, but he has hardly been infallible. Reid will get a job somewhere next season, if he wants one.
I'll re-purpose a question you gave me, because I think its apropos here as well. Which big name Giants do you see being shown the door this offseason?
Start with Webster. He is owed more than $7 million next season and I see no way the Giants pay it to him. Osi Umenyiora is probably gone. David Diehl is probably gone. There is debate about the future of Justin Tuck, who is entering the final year of his contract, though I think he stays. Kenny Phillips is a free agent and I think Stevie Brown has played him out of a job. There is also debate over some of the veteran linebackers like Michael Boley and Chase Blackburn. That will bear watching. No matter what, most of the personnel changes will come on defense.