For our second pre-game Q&A of the week, we tap on the shoulder of an old comrade from RamsHerd’s Fanball days, Dan Stack. Dan wrote for the inimitable GMenDen.com, and is now working at GiantsFootballBlog.com.
Dan was kind enough to give us another perspective on the Rams’ MNF opponent, the New York Giants. You can read our answers to Dan’s questions on his site. Here, Dan submits to our interrogation.
RamsHerd: Offensively, what happened in week 1? Do you credit an improved Redskins defense, or do you place blame on Eli Manning and the Giants offense, after getting shut out in the second half?
GiantsFootballBlog: In their loss to the Redskins the Giants were a lousy 1-11 on third and fourth downs. Some credit can go towards the Redskins defense, but the Giants offensive play calling was uninventive and way too predictable. Offensive Coordinator Kevin Gilbride is unliked by many in the Giant community and is affectionately known as “killdrive.”
RamsHerd: It seemed like a quiet offseason in New York, with re-signing Ahmad Bradshaw the only move that made headlines. How have the Giants improved since last year? Or have they taken a step back?
GiantsFootballBlog: Most Giants fans think the Giants have taken a step back this year, and one would have a hard time arguing that they didn’t.
In the free agency period the team had to cut fan favorites and important offensive lineman Rich Seubert and Shaun O’Hara while neglecting to resign key cogs to their recent success in TE Kevin Boss, WR Steve Smith and DT Barry Cofield. That inactivity plus all the injuries (CB Terrell Thomas, LB Jonathan Goff, DE Osi Umenyiora, CB Prince Amukamara etc.) have made many Giants fans leaning toward the edge.
More after the break…
RamsHerd: Hakeem Nicks had a breakout year in 2010. With Steve Smith gone now, Nicks will be drawing primary coverage more often. How much does the Giants offense depend on the big playmaker, and how much faith do you have in the complementary players in the passing game?
GiantsFootballBlog: Yes, Nicks did have an awesome season and is by far the Giants primary weapon in the passing game, but often lost in the shuffle is the season Mario Manningham had. In 2010, Manningham had a career high 60 receptions for 944 yards and nine touchdowns.
Outside of Nicks and Manningham, the Giants receiving game is severely limited. Hence, a major reason why the Giants went out and signed Brandon Stokley. Stokley will help in the slot, a position that has not be shored up since Smith departed.
RamsHerd: What’s your game prediction?
GiantsFootballBlog: The Giants have too much on the line on Monday to come out flat. With that said, I expect Nicks and DE Justin Tuck back and at home the Giants should respond. I see a close game but Giants ultimately winning 20-14.
My thanks to Dan for answering my questions. You can follow him on Twitter at @stacdemon. For more Giants perspective pre-game and on gameday, Dan recommends that you follow fellow writer @John_Fennelly, Giants beat writers @NotoriousOHM, @TheBlueScreen, and @MikeGarafolo.