I had a chance to speak to Ed Valentine of BigBlueView, our sister site that covers the New York Giants. I suggest you check out their site for more info about the opponent for this week's Snoopy Bowl match-up.
1. There was a report that Eli Manning wants to be the highest paid quarterback in the league, which he vehemently denied. How do you think the Giants should approach his contract?
Eli's contract situation is interesting, and it is complicated by the fact that the Giants haven't made the playoffs in three years and could be facing a complete rebuild if they have another losing season.
The Giants say they want Manning to be their quarterback going forward and want him to retire as a Giant. I believe them and I think giving him an extension for three or four more years is the right thing to do -- unless they want to blow the whole thing up and start from scratch.
In the end, I think a deal somewhere in between the ones Ben Roethlisberger and Philip Rivers got is in the right ballpark. Whatever you think of Eli, he's got two rings, he's still a top-tier QB and he's a great representative of the franchise. He's earned that deal.
2. Will Tom Coughlin ever retire, or will he die on the field of old age?
Coughlin jokingly said at the end of last season that he would happily take a 10- of 12-year contract if the Giants would give him one. Deep down, I'm sure there is part of him that meant that. Coughlin would love to coach as long as his health and that of his wife, Judy, will allow.
If and when he is no longer coach of the Giants, and that could come as early as next season if the Giants suffer yet another losing year, he will be dragged out the door kicking and screaming.
In my mind, incidentally, he remains a terrific coach. Much of the Giants problem the past few years has back lack of talent, not poor coaching. He isn't completely devoid of blame, but the Giants haven't done him any favors with the rosters they have handed him.
3. Odell Beckham, Jr. set the NFL on fire last season. What are your expectations of him this year?
Well, let's just say I hope he survives all the cheap shots he knows are headed his way. I think expecting Beckham to continue making catches at the record-setting pace he was on last year is unrealistic. That said, he is a phenomenal player and I expect him to play that way. If Victor Cruz, Rueben Randle, Larry Donnell and Shane Vereen are healthy defenses will also pay for paying too much attention to Beckham.
4. What is the Giants biggest strength, and its biggest weakness?
The biggest strength has to be all the play-making weapons they potentially have on offense -- if everyone is healthy. With Manning, a plethora of receiving options and three good (not great, but good) running backs the offense could be special. If they stay healthy, and they solve their offensive line puzzle.
The biggest weakness? It would be easy to say the defense as a whole after finishing 29th in the league last year and with the Jason Pierre-Paul mess looming. More specifically, though, it is the safety position. The Giants entered the season with Jeromy Miles (3 starts) as the only experienced safety on the roster. They have already lost three safeties for the year -- rookies Mykkele Thompson and Justin Currie, and second-year man Bennett Jackson. They may be about to lose a fourth, as Nat Berhe has a calf injury that has basically kept him off the field since OTAs. They added Brandon Meriweather, but can he really help? I don't know. Rookie Landon Collins will be one safety. Right now, the Giants haven't a clue who the other one will be.
5. Predictions for the game, and for your season?
Honestly, I could care less about the outcome of the game. Jets vs. Giants, bragging rights and all that. I know, but it means nothing to me. All I want is to see the Giants get through a game for once without watching one or more players be lost to season-ending injuries. It's a regular occurrence, and it has to stop if the Giants have any chance this year.
As for the season, I entered camp feeling optimistic that this team would be superior to the one they fielded the past two years, when they had losing records. If they get healthy and stop losing players to injury I still feel that way. This, though, is a fragile team on a very precarious ledge. The season can go either way, and it will go south if they keep losing players at this rate.