Up until a couple of days ago, it was difficult for me to get excited about the upcoming Bills/Giants game. Chalk it up to the disappointment of missing the playoffs again - and not scoring points since the Miami game. But two things have turned me around - Kevin Everett will probably walk onto the field turf at Ralph Wilson Stadium on Sunday, and we've got ETVal of Big Blue View here this morning to talk about the game. That's reason enough to be excited, right?
Below are ETVal's responses to some tough questions (which appear in bold) in regards to his Giants. Enjoy!
Many considered Tom Coughlin as safely off the hot seat after the Giants started fast, but it's Week 16, and your team still has not clinched a playoff spot. If you miss out - or lose in the first round - is Coughlin a goner?
BBV: I don't know, but he is definitely back on the hot seat. I think Giants management would like to keep him but if this season again ends badly they will have to consider a change.
Rumor has it that even prior to his season-ending injury, the Giants were not using Jeremy Shockey in the offense. How big of an impact, then, will his absence have on the functionality of New York's offense?
BBV: Well, the problem is they are replacing him with two rookies. Kevin Boss shows the potential to be a good pass-catching TE, but his blocking is less than adequate. Michael Matthews is a good blocking TE, but has hands of stone. It's an interesting question and now we are going to find out how good these guys are, especially Boss. Giants fans, myself included, are very curious.
What's your take on Eli Manning? Is he finally starting to win games consistently despite inconsistent performances? Will he ever be "elite"? Do you think playing in his older brother's unfairly immense shadow has anything to do with his struggles?
BBV: No, Eli will never be elite. I think the shadow of Peyton does unfairly reflect on him. The guys he needs to be compared to are Roethlisberger, Rivers and maybe Losman -- guys drafted in the first round in the same class. Compared to those guys, Roethlisberger is the only one who stands above him. Eli can win, but sometimes -- like last week (52 passes in horrid weather) -- I think the Giants ask too much.
Talk about your fantastic defensive line. How much has the unit's success matched some other possible shortcomings of your defense? Any chance you might feel inclined to spot a lineman or two to the Bills for this contest?
BBV: You can have Mathias Kiwanuka -- but since he has a broken leg he won't help you. The D-line is the key to this defense. The secondary is adequate at best and gets exposed without pressure on the QB. Osi Umenyiora is terrific. Michael Strahan is having a better season than could have been expected. The unsung guy is Justin Tuck, who plays DE and DT and, in my opinion, is really the best player on this defense. He has more tackles than Osi or Strahan, and doesn't play as many snaps. Also, Fred Robbins is a good run-stopper and decent pass-rusher. Kiwanuka as a linebacker/D-Lineman was also a weapon before he got hurt.
How, in your opinion, has the rookie season of Aaron Ross gone? I really liked Ross as a prospect, and it seems that he's made some plays for your Giants early on in his career.
BBV: Ross will be a very good corner in the league. He has made some plays. He is a good tackler, has size and strength, and can actually catch the ball. The Giants haven't had a corner who could actually catch the ball in a long time. Ross has been slowed a bit by a hamstring and has only been playing in the nickel of late, but he's a quality guy.