Clancy has been Giant surprise

Which Giants' player has been the most pleasant surprise to date? My vote for the most pleasant surprise to date would go to DT Kendrick Clancy. Frankly, we were surprised when he captured one of the starting DT slots.

We knew that he had a previous relationship with Tim Lewis in Pittsburgh where he played nose tackle in the Steelers' 3-4 defense. We weren't sure he would be able to make the transition to a standard 4-3, but so far he has done well, especially if you give him a pass for the San Diego game. Not one defensive player, in our opinion, had a good game in San Diego. We'll write that game off. The Giants were in a very tough situation and this time they were not prepared to handle everything they faced from a desperate Chargers team. Anyway, Clancy is not real tall and kind of squatty, but he moves well. He was always known for his run-stopping ability, but so far he has shown inside rush ability and he has been disruptive.

Which Giants' player has been the most disappointing to date?

That one is simple. In our opinion, Will Allen has been very disappointing. Truthfully, the whole secondary has been disappointing, but Allen in particular has been woeful. Now with the injury to Will Peterson they really need Allen to turn it up a notch or two. We already know he rarely can get an interception, but at this point they need him badly to cover. We believed it would not be long before we saw Corey Webster in a starting CB role. We didn't think he would be replacing Peterson, we thought he would supplant Allen. It is important that Webster gets healthy and stays healthy. This is Allen's final contract year and it would behoove him to play well the remainder of the year. Now we will get to see more of Curtis Deloatch and Frank Walker. Both have ability. Both are raw. They will need to pick it up quickly. If you want to get a head start on next year's draft, when you watch college games, keep your eye out for cornerbacks who could help the Giants. It may be their biggest need.

How do you like Eli Manning's progress to date?

What's not to like? He looks like he is progressing nicely. Is he a finished product? No. But each week he looks a little better and does things better as well. This is not to say that he would regress a bit from time to time, but there is definitely an up-arrow in his case. We like that he looks much more comfortable in the pocket. He seems to be sensing pressure better now than he did last season. It also looks like he needs to continue to improve his downfield vision. He has ignored some wide-open receivers from time to time. It has been said that a player makes the most progress between his first and second year and that looks to be true here as well. Will he ever be as good as his brother? Time will tell on that issue. Right now he's light years behind, but it's important that he keeps growing with experience. He may not be capable of being a playoff caliber QB yet, but that time is coming.

What area of the team has made the greatest improvement?

We would not be able to limit this answer to just one area, as we believe there are two worthy of consideration. One area is special teams. They have really turned it around from the disaster that it has been in the last several years. It starts with Jeff Feagles and Jay Feely, but doesn't end with them. Feagles is unbelievable. He's a master at directional punting and placing the ball inside the 20. He is truly a defensive weapon, and those are words we never thought we would ever write about a punter. He can control a game with field position. What more could anyone ask for from Feely? He has been accurate and he can make long field goals. His kickoff depth has also been very good. He's also not afraid to stick his nose in and make a tackle. We'll be honest, we were skeptical of a dome kicker coming into Giants Stadium and being successful, but he has totally calmed our fears. Willie Ponder and Chad Morton have helped the return game immensely. Ponder is a real threat every time he touches the ball and Morton has already improved the punt return area over Mark Jones from last year. Kickoff and punt coverage has been good also. Obviously, David Tyree leads them, but James Butler, Justin Tuck, Nick Greisen, Frank Walker, Curtis Deloatch, Shaun Williams, Brandon Jacobs and Ryan Kuehl have all done their jobs as well. Mike Sweatman, special teams coordinator, has done a great job with the special teams.

The other area that has improved greatly is the offensive line. Finally! They have played much better and we anticipate them getting even better yet. We are optimistic because they have done well with one new player, Kareem McKenzie, and one player in a new position, David Diehl. The chemistry is improving. Luke Petitgout still has too many annoying penalties, but he hasn't been beaten nearly as much this year. We expect good things to come from them especially in the running game and that's good news for Tiki Barber, Derrick Ward, Brandon Jacobs and, most of all, Eli Manning,

What has been your impression of Antonio Pierce to date?

Well, again, we will give him a pass on the San Diego game, but outside of that he's been terrific. The other night we heard a talking head say that the Redskins defense was just as strong without Pierce, so his loss was insignificant. We don't believe that for one minute. He's smart, he's tough and he's skillful. Who did the Giants have playing the middle last year? Kevin Lewis. Big improvement. He can do more things than Mike Barrow could when he was here and playing well. Let's put it this way: Washington may not miss him, which is doubtful, but we are pleased he is here.

Are there any other holes on the team that concern you?

Aside from the entire defense playing better, which we believe it will, we haven't seen much at the backup tight end spot. You may believe that a backup TE is not that important, but it really is. He has to be a big help in the run game as a blocker. He can help the OTs when they are going against a particularly good pass rusher. He can provide a check-off for Manning when he is under duress. So far we haven't seen much from Visanthe Shiancoe, who is now in his third year. He still looks as raw as ever and he needs to step it up. Sean Berton, the third TE, hasn't done much either.

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