1. The Giants have one of the most valuable, and visible, teams in all of professional sports, and an interesting dynamic when it comes to the front office. Tell us about the dynamic of the ownership (Maras and Tisches) vs operations (Jerry Reece) vs coaching (Tom Coughlin). Are there too many cooks in the kitchen, or is it a dynamic that works?
Ed: The dynamic has always worked just fine. The Giants have long been one of the best-run organizations in the NFL. Are they always successful? Of course not, as this year shows. They are, however, and have always been a solid, class organization. The Mara/Tisch ownership group stays out of the football operations for the most part. You know when John Mara is or isn't happy and he is ultimately the big cheese. He will in the end make franchise-changing decisions, or at least sign off on them, but he stays out of the day-to-day football operations -- the draft, free agency, the roster, etc. Reese, as GM, has the final say on the draft, the roster, free agency, etc. He, of course, has to work with Coughlin on those things but the roster is ultimately his call. Who plays and how the roster is used is up to Coughlin. He has always had authority over the coaching staff as well. The lines have always been well drawn.
2. From an outsiders perspective, Tom Coughlin seems to go from one extreme to the other as far as his success in New York. He will go from the hot seat to hoisting the Lombardi trophy, then back around again. What are his strengths as a coach, and what are his weaknesses?
Ed: Coughlin is interesting. He has gone from being a guy players couldn't stand years ago to a guy everyone who comes in contact with him now respects, loves and admires. He has his methods, but players know all he wants is to win, that he cares about them and that he has their back. Sometimes I wonder if a little more of the old 'dictatorial' Coughlin would be good to see, but that guy is gone. Strengths and weaknesses? Maybe they are all the same. He's loyal, sometimes to a fault. He believes in his message, his approach, the way he does things. It's worked for a long time and it doesn't change. His approach to offense doesn't change -- for better or worse he could really care less about the Wildcat or the read-option or any of that stuff. He believes discipline, lack of turnovers, running the ball and stopping the run, being consistent day-in and day out, doing the right thing all the time and players being responsible to each other all lead to winning. Unfortunately, lately his team doesn't seem to be getting the message.
3. The 2013 NY Giants are off to a rough start, and seem miles away from their 2011 championship run... What are the biggest differences in those two teams?
Ed: Offensively, it's all in the offensive line. The backbone of everything they did for years, that group is now terrible. Eli Manning is running for his life most of the time, which is a big part of why he has 12 interceptions. They can't run, partially because their backs stink but mostly because their line -- including the tight ends -- can't move anybody. Defensively, it's very simple. They no longer rush the passer. They have always been built defensively around terrorizing the opposing QB. They have 5 sacks, 31st in the league. Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka are aging, Jason Pierre-Paul isn't the same yet following back surgery and when they blitz they don't get home because they don't have dynamic linebackers.
4. Who are some rookies and sophomores that are making an impact this season?
Ed: First-round pick Justin Pugh is starting at right tackle. Second-year wide receiver Reuben Randle is becoming a play-maker. Defensively, Spencer Paysinger is actually a third-year UDFA, but he's become the defensive signal-caller and the one reliable linebacker the Giants have.
5. The Giants have a lot of high profile players on their roster... Who are some under-the-radar guys that Bears fans should be keeping an eye on Thursday night?
Ed: Well, I just gave you Paysinger. Watch for second-round pick Johnathan Hankins, a DT. He saw his first action last week vs. Philly and played well. One of the problems the Giants have is that other than the names I've given you there aren't many guys I can point to.
5b. How do you see the Giants finishing up this season?
Ed: Well, many fans are already counting on going 0-16 and drafting Jadaveon Clowney. I don't see that happening. Coughlin is too good a coach and Eli Manning too good of a quarterback not to get this right at some point. They will win some games, but at this point I would think a 7-9 season would be miraculous. Best guess? Four to six wins.
Big thanks to Ed for taking the time to chat with us! Also, make sure to check the BBV version of this post HERE.
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