Jon Scott, publisher of PatriotsInsider.com interviews Rick Laughland, publisher of TheGiantsBeat.com in advance of Thursday night's New York Giants vs New England Patriots preseason finale.
1) Eli Manning has had a tough time getting out from his
brother's shadow. Even on Top QBs in the NFL articles (aka Ron
Jaworski's Top QB's
Eli is ranked well below his brother despite winning more Super Bowls.
What is it about Eli that elicits such apathy about his accomplishments
around the country?
Rick Laughland: Part of the reason that
Eli Manning is often overlooked is the fact that he has played on
Giants' teams that have bolster a ferocious pass-rush and the play of
their defense often times overshadowed the offensive unit. Manning has
failed to develop the consistency year-in-and year-out in order reach
elite status. When No. 10 is on top of his game he can
beat and play with any quarterback. The problem is Manning is a bit too
erratic at times with his decision-making and penchant for turnovers in
big spots. Manning is also a low-key person who doesn't boast or brag
about his accomplishments, so often times fans forget that he's a
two-time Super Bowl MVP. Big Blue's gunslinger is often left off the
list of the league's top QBs, but if he can string together consecutive
seasons of consistent production, when it's all said and done it will
be hard to leave him off the list of the NFL's elite signal-callers.
2) The Giants feasted on opponents with a heavy punch from
their front four over the past few seasons. It seems that they've lost
that edge of late with the retirement of Strahan, and the dismemberment
of the group via free agency and injury. Is the front seven still
capable of being a defensive force, or have the Giants morphed into
something different (if so what)?
RL: The Giants' front four is still very formidable,
but it hasn't been as 'dominant' as seasons past. Injuries to Justin
Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul in 2012 made New York's defensive line look
very 'ordinary' at times. The key to the Giants' success remains the
same and that's pressuring the quarterback and forcing turnovers. With
new additions in Damontre Moore, Miles Austin, Cullen Jenkins and
Johnathan Hankins, expect New York to have a bounce back year in 2013
and wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks. The Giants' secondary is a
major question mark after losing playmaking safety Stevie Brown to a
torn ACL and with strong safety Antrel Rolle hobbled by an ankle
injury. The Giants' /pass-rush will be key in covering up some
deficiencies in their secondary and unproven linebacking corps. The
names and faces may have changed over the years, but Big Blue's 'secret
sauce' still lies with the power of its front four.
3) What does Giants' nation think of Jets Nation? Is it like a
littler Brother relationship or something else? (Especially with their
struggles at QB)?
RL: Giants' fans have a borderline obsession with belittling
the Jets and their fans. The Jets don't do themselves any favors by
making headlines for all the wrong reasons, but often times it seems as
though Giants' fans follow the Jets closer than they do their own team.
In light of the two Super Bowls Big Blue has won over the past five
seasons, the Jet fan feels an inferiority complex and is consistently
reminded of their 'Big Brother's' success. Rex Ryan refuses to take a
backseat to any team, but unfortunately he's drawing attention to
himself for everything off the field and his coaching credibility is
being brought into question by Jets' fans and the New York media. In
reality, the Jets and Giants are not a rivalry because they play each
other only once every four seasons, so this is a typical case of the
media and fans making something out of nothing.
Behind Enemy Lines Part 1
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