5 Questions with... is normally a feature reserved for regular and post season games. However, given that this thursday's game is with our XLII Super Bowl opponent, ETVal, blogger at Big Blue View, and I thought why not? Let's do it for the last preseason showdown between the Super Bowl opponents. Without further delay, here's my questions to ETVal and his answers.
In my mind, Osi Umenyiora and Michael Strahan were big reasons why the Pats had so much trouble offensively in the Super Bowl. With Osi's season ending injury and Michael's retirement, what does 2008 look like for the Men in Blue?BBV: I am still optimistic that the Giants can have a good season. I went into this year thinking that a "good" year did not have to include a Super Bowl title. A fourth straight playoff appearance would be, in my mind, a good season. Even with the injury to Umenyiora, I believe that is a realistic goal/expectation. That said, the fact that Giants could bring big-time pass rushers from so many places was a key for them last season. It is going to be more difficult this season.Reports are that Eli Manning has looked good in preseason. In fact, they're saying he's picked up where he left off. If Eli's not the issue for a possible 2008 repeat, what is?
BBV: Eli, I don't think, will ever put up numbers like his brother -- or Tom Brady. But, what we learned about Eli is that he is fearless, he can make all the plays when he has to, and he can win. He has thrown the ball well so far, and, more importantly, looks very comfortable, very confident and very relaxed. As he should. The issue defensively for the Giants will be can they pressure the passer like they did last season, and can they stay healthy. The Umenyiora injury leaves them dangerously thin on the defensive line, and dangerously inexperienced when it comes to the backups they have at linebacker.This has been a preseason plagued by injuries for both Pats and Giants. Other than Osi, run down the ones that give you the most worry for a Giants fan.
BBV: Well, who knows how healthy Plaxico Burress is. He has barely practiced with his ankle injury. I have no doubt that he will play, but can he be successful without practice for a second straight year? I don't know. Other than that, kicker Lawrence Tynes is hurt, there is no timetable for his return, and Josh Huston, currently holding down the job, is not the answer if Tynes is out long-term.NFL.com is reporting Kiwanuka's move to DE to replace Umenyiora. Does this end the possibility of Strahan coming out of retirement? Will the Giants still pursue one of their icons?
BBV: I think it's obvious the Giants will -- and are -- pursuing Strahan. I do not think Strahan will return, though, and I don't believe the Giants think he will either. If they thought he would play, there would be no reason to move Kiwanuka from linebacker back to defensive end. Moving him plugs one hole, but might create another.Given Eli's dramatic 2007, can his name be mentioned in the same sentence as big bro and Tom? Does his astounding 2007, SB win and SB MVP put him in elite company? If there's still something to prove what does he need to do?
BBV: As I said earlier, Eli is not Brady or his brother. He is more like Phil Simms, and that is just fine with Giants fans. Simms was a guy who never put up big numbers (60% completions just once), but he was tough, he was a winner and you always felt good with him under center. We had our doubts about Eli for a long time, but that is pretty much how Giants fans feel about Eli now. Sure, we would love, 70% completions and all sorts of passing records. But, we will take Super Bowl rings.
I think the loss of Osi in addition to Michael's retirement is a big deal. They were instrumental in the devastating rushing attack that hampered Brady's ability to get the ball to his receivers and, ultimately, shutdown the Patriot's aerial assault in the Super Bowl. I do agree with ETVal that rings are more important than records and Eli Manning seems tailor made to fit that role.
Mad Props to ETVal, blogger at Big Blue View, for answering my questions. Head on over to Big Blue View to see my answers to his questions.