Champions or challengers…which way should Coughlin

Paul Schwartz: Here we go. The 53-player roster is set for the Giants, the depth chart is established and here comes Kenny Palmer, trying to overturn the decisions Tom Coughlin and his coaching staff agonized over for hours upon hours. First up: Brent Alexander at free safety.

You will never get me to say a negative word about classy Shaun Williams, not even a single syllable. And I'm not a great admirer of what Alexander brings to the table. But with Williams admitting he's not yet 100 percent healed from his second knee surgery in as many years, there's no reason to shove him into the starting lineup. Not yet, anyway. Give him time to shake off the rust and go with Alexander, who at least knows the assignments and is a smart veteran.

Ken Palmer: He who hesitates is lost, my friend. Williams got better and better as camp went along, and they're going to be sorry if they keep him out of the lineup much longer. He had a heck of a preseason finale, and once again proved capable of making plays that you're never going to see out of Alexander, who might be better served as an assistant coach at this point. Williams is popular with his teammates and deservedly so. He gives his all and is still the hardest-hitting defensive back on this team. Williams also showed to be a better cover guy than New York expected. He needs to start.

PS: Pray tell, Mr. Palmer, what film study allowed you to come to these conclusions? The only film you view costs $12.95, is marked "adult content'' and comes wrapped in a brown paper bag. I agree with the coaching staff's analysis of the secondary situation and the plan they have in place. Let Curtis Deloatch serve as the nickel back to start the season and have rookie Corey Webster waiting in the wings, used in the dime package. If Will Peterson isn't at full strength after tweaking a knee a few weeks ago, Deloatch is the logical choice to move into the lineup, as he's got some experience. If you can remember back that far, you may recall Deloatch doing a credible job last season against Terrell Owens. Webster is a stud and will make loads of plays, but why rush him before his time? Deloatch looks like the real deal and he can be a playmaker as well.

KP: Here you go again. All Webster did was prove to be the secondary's biggest playmaker this preseason and you want him to wait – for a former rookie free agent? Typical Paul. Perhaps you should rent a few of those videos yourself…live a little. Webster gives the Giants a legitimate chance to erase the interception problems of the last several years and you want him on the bench? If you haven't yet noticed, the days of rookies waiting their turn only happens at Penn State – and not even there so much any more. Webster is quicker, faster, has better hands, is more instinctive and – all together now – better than Deloatch. Play the kid and play him now.

PS: I love it when you rip your beloved Penn State alma mater. It saves me the trouble. Here's one you can't take issue with. Can you? There's no reason not to start William Joseph at defensive tackle, especially if the other option is Fred Robbins. One thing I cannot accept is a professional athlete arriving out of shape. Clearly, Kenny, you don't subscribe to that belief, given the way you reported to training camp this summer. We should have a party and introduce you to a treadmill. Anyway, Robbins arrived overweight, which cannot be accepted. He was a decent player last year but it's not like he gets cut any slack as if he's Michael Strahan, who, by the way, lost loads of weight to make sure he was in prime shape. Joseph had a good summer and I'm betting his Miami pedigree finally comes through.

KP: But Fred Robbins, like myself vs. you, is better than Joseph. It's OK to prove a point and send a message to a veteran, but not to the point that you're hurting the team. Yes, Joseph is one of the pleasant surprises as the season gets underway. But no, he's not better than Robbins, who has more experience, talent and ability. Coughlin and Tim Lewis need to do the right thing and put Robbins, the far superior player, back into the starting lineup. Or they can just wait till Joseph fails, at which point it might already be too late.

PS: Let me ask you something: If Coughlin said "It's a beautiful day,'' would you counter with "Only if you like it 75 and sunny''? Why must you take issue with everything the man does? I say having David Diehl start at left guard, with Rich Seubert in reserve, is a no-brainer. You heard how Coughlin lauded (that means praised, in case your Penn State "education'' didn't cover definitions) Seubert every chance he could. Coughlin adored the way Seubert came back from that devastating leg injury. Seubert certainly belongs on the team. But why bench Diehl, who is back at his natural guard spot, big and strong, durable as they come and an improving young player? Seubert provides great depth and, not having played for more than a year and a half, needs more time to return to form. This is an easy one, but apparently, not for you.

KP: And how, Johnny Albany Genius, is Seubert going to get back to his near Pro Bowl level of play if he doesn't play? Not to take anything away from Diehl, who's done nothing but exactly what he's been asked since he's been here. Perhaps Paul doesn't remember – that's what happens when you blow past 40 – but Seubert was playing at about as high a level as a Giants guard has in years before he got hurt. And we've – or should I say I because Paul doesn't pick up on any of the finer points of football? – seen that Seubert is the leader of this line. He's the guy everyone rallies around and comes to when there are questions or problems. That's priceless, but also in danger of being lost as Seubert continues to languish as a backup. And for the record, I agree wholeheartedly with Coughlin's decision to start Eli Manning over Tim Hasselbeck.

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