FanSided’s Jet Press had some questions for me today about Monday night’s preseason game between the Giants and Jets, here is what I had to tell them:
(AP Photo/MetLife, Jennifer Altman)
1. What the heck is going on with the Giants cornerbacks and injuries so far?
Well it’s not been a good season to be a Giants CB, that’s for sure. We likely won’t see first round pick Prince Amukamara until later on in October, and when we do see him it might be in garbage time because he’s only had 2 practices with the team before he broke his foot. Terrell Thomas’s torn ACL is a huge loss, a great tackler and a great defense presence in general – good in run support. Brian Witherspoon showed potential in camp and the first preseason game against the Panthers — and he’s also out with an ACL. Bruce Johnson, who had that pick 6 against the Cowboys during the debut of Jerry’s World in Dallas, he went out with an Achilles earlier this month as well.
2. Will Steve Smith’s absence hurt Eli Manning and his turnover ratio this season or will the team be able to replace him?
I don’t know that it will hurt Eli in terms of turnovers, as plenty of those INTs last year went off Smiths hands… but it will be interesting to see who steps up into that slot position and whether or not they own it like Smith did. Victor Cruz and Domenik Hixon are the lead candidates, but TE Travis Beckum would also play the slot on certain packages to create a mismatch in coverage. Both Cruz and Hixon also can be deep threats, as the Jets found out during last year’s preseason game, and Smith really was never a go deep receiver, so either solution for the Giants may end up working out better in the long run than relying on Smith at 10 yards a clip.
3. The Giants were 5th in the league in sacks last season. Does Umenyiora’s absence hurt that and will he be a Giant this entire season?
After he heals from knee surgery, I think he will by a Giant. Whether he plays like he did last season, that’s a different story. I think Jason Pierre-Paul steps in and does a decent job though as a second year pass rusher. Plus, there’s still Justin Tuck, Mathias Kiwanuka, and Michael Boley there to contend with… and the safety/zone blitz’s that killed QB’s last year. They should have plenty of weapons.
4. The Giants have made some major changes this season to their offensive line. Good or bad?
Well, both. Losing Seubert the last game of the season last year was a huge loss, especially after a tremendous year at multiple positions. Plus, he’s the heart and soul of the line and losing that kind of guy is a big deal. O’Hara — hasn’t played well in a long time due to injuries and David Baas from San Francisco might do a better job over the next few years. David Diehl moves inside guard so Will Beatty will start at LT… a move Giants fans have been waiting for a long time to see. Diehl is a more natural guard anyway, and perhaps not as athletic as Beatty to stop the leagues premier pass rushers consistently. Snee and McKenzie anchor the left side and are both top tier players in my eyes in their respective positions. I think the line will be fine. If the Giants rushed for 2000 yards and allowed the fewest sacks in the league with over 12 different configurations last year — they should be fine this year.
5. Predictions for the season
At least 10 wins — maybe 11. I hope to see the Jets in the Superbowl playing – you guessed it – the Giants!