We chatted with Big Blue View this week to preview the upcoming Bears vs Giants game, and a big thank you goes out to Ed Valentine for sharing his thoughts below.
1. Is Eli Manning a Hall of Fame quarterback? He's got two rings and has had some stretches of excellent play but is known for interceptions in batches (and associated humorous "Eli-faces"). If he's not in already, what does he need to do before he retires to get there?
-- I believe that if you had asked me this question immediately after the 2011 Super Bowl victory I would have said he is absolutely a Hall of Famer. I've been asked this a number of times recently and what I always say is I think he's borderline, but that the four-year playoff drought and three straight losing seasons have weakened the argument for putting him in the Hall. He will continue to climb the charts in terms of all-time passing marks. What he needs, though, is to win. A third Super Bowl title would seal the deal. A few playoff appearances, whether the Giants win a Super Bowl or not, would also help.
2. I want to just ask 5 questions about Odell Beckham Jr., but instead, let's focus on the wide receiving group as a whole. Has OBJ's newfound love of the kicking net helped him remain calm and focused? How has Sterling Shepard looked in his rookie campaign? Are we ever going to see the old Victor Cruz and his salsa dance in the end zone again?
- Well, I think what has helped Beckham is winning and being productive. The Giants are getting him the ball more and after a stretch where he went a bunch of games without a touchdown he's been making plays. Shepard is very good, but has had some rookie moments and the Giants sometimes forget about him. Cruz will never be the Cruz of old, but he is a productive player who helps the passing attack and has made some critical receptions.
3. What exactly does this team do well? They are middle of the pack in offensive DVOA and just crack the top 10 for defensive DVOA. What identity is first year Head Coach Ben McAdoo creating for the Giants?
- Interesting question. I think this team is become a defense first group. That defense has been getting better and better. The secondary is outstanding, and the Giants have been taking advantage of that to find creative ways to rush the passer. Offensively, they are most explosive than methodical, but they haven't been as productive this season as hoped.
4. Can you explain the phenomenon that is Annie Apple, mother of rookie corner Eli Apple, for those Bears fans who may be unfamiliar? Related - how has the rookie looked so far this season?
- Annie Apple is an opinionated woman with a huge Twitter following and platforms on ESPN NFL Countdown and SI to express herself. She is an activist, a domestic abuse survivor and often has important things to say. That said, at least once this season her criticisms of the Giants put her son in a bad spot. I wish she would consider that, but I doubt she will. As for Eli Apple, the kid is going to be a really good corner in the NFL.
5. Is Bill Belichick the greatest coach in Giants history? He was defensive coordinator for SBs XXI and XXV and then the Giants beat Belichick's Patriots in SBs XLII and XLVI, so he's had a part in all 4 SB wins. Given the history, is he a beloved figure among Giants fans?
- I don't think you can ever call a guy who was never a team's head coach the greatest coach their history. If you wanted to make that argument, you would have to put Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry in the discussion.
The greatest coaches in Giants history are Bill Parcells and Tom Coughlin, because they are head coaches who won multiple titles. I don't know that I've ever thought of Belichick as "beloved" by Giants fans. He's Belichick -- doesn't everyone outside of New England hate the guy?
Bonus: What will the Giants record finish at and what is their playoff potential?
- Well, the Giants have the Bears and Browns coming up. No offense, but the Giants should win both of those games and get to 8-3. With that in mind, a 10- of 11-win season is not out of the question. Double-digit wins should be enough to get to the playoffs.