Behind Enemy Lines: Seahawks/Giants, Pt. 2

In Part Two of this four-part series, Seahawks.NET's Scott Eklund and GiantsInsider's Ken Palmer continue their back-and-forth with five questions from Scott to Ken. Where is Eli Manning in his development, how are the players buying into Tom Coughlin's program these days, and who's buying the Giants' new stadium?

Scott Eklund, Seahawks.NET: The New York Giants play in what many consider to be the toughest division in the NFL and some were saying that any of the four teams could end up winning the NFC East before the season began. What was the New York media’s perception of the Giants heading into training camp and have the Giants surprised with their performance so far this year?

Ken Palmer, For the most part, the New York media believed that the NFC East was going to come down to the Giants and Cowboys. Through two weeks of the season, there’s definitely no reason to think any differently. The Eagles, if they can recover from last Sunday’s heartbreaker, are probably going to be better than expected, but not good enough. And the Redskins, well, somebody has to finish last in this division and it sure seems like they’re up to the task.

Scott Eklund: After the big comeback win on Sunday, is it apparent that Eli Manning is taking that next step to being the leader this team needs at the helm when the team needs a big play?

Ken Palmer: No doubt. Manning had by far his best career game against the Eagles in the toughest of circumstances. He was on the road, way behind and facing relentless pressure. Yet he did enough to capture NFC offensive player of the week honors. It’s been a gradual process, as everyone knew it would be. But anyone who isn’t yet sold on Manning at this point just doesn’t understand what they’re watching. Of course he’s still going to have down games, but who doesn’t? At this point in time, Eli Manning is no longer a question mark and now strongly appears to be the answer they all hoped for when they traded up for him on draft day three years ago.

Scott Eklund: It was a tough day last week for the Giants offensive line as they surrendered eight sacks to the Eagles. What were the problems in your view and are they something that can be corrected?

Ken Palmer: The Giants line has struggled and it’s been a bit surprising. With the same starting five intact from last year, everyone predicted that the O-line would be a real strength of this team. They’ve always had trouble against Philadelphia’s aggressive defense, but that was an awful lot of trouble they were in last Sunday. They’ve proven they can get the job done, as recently as late last year, but they certainly haven’t come up with their ‘A’ game yet this season. It’d be hard to expect it to happen in the Qwest Field noise. Just like the defense, I don’t think it’s anything more than a matter of executing. No one will admit it, but perhaps they took the Birds a little too lightly last week and could never recover.

Scott Eklund: Have the players completely bought into head coach Tom Coughlin’s program? There were some early problems with some veterans with his offseason workouts a few years ago and it seems as if the players have become more comfortable with his coaching style.

Ken Palmer: It’s night and day as far as Tom Coughlin’s relationship with his players is concerned. He’s still one of the strictest coaches in the league and definitely still angers players with his stringent rules and excessive fines. But he’s definitely starting to show more of his personality and get along better with the guys. The other factor is that after the first season, the key veterans realized that Coughlin wasn’t going anywhere and basically realized that it was going to be TC’s way or the highway. Like any new relationship, it takes time to get comfortable. While Coughlin doesn’t want anyone all that comfy, the bond between players and coach is much better and much stronger than it was.

Scott Eklund: With the New York Jets working to get their own stadium financed, has there been any thought of the Giants getting their own as well or would they remain in the Meadowlands as the lone NFL tenant?

Ken Palmer: Actually, the Giants and Jets are going to be co-tenants in a new yet to be named stadium that’s expected to be ready by 2010. When the Jets’ Manhattan deal fell through, the Giants were thrilled to be able to cut their cost and risk in half and share their new pad with the Jets. While Giants and Jets fans ultimately despise having to share a new stadium, they’re not the ones forking over millions of dollars to pay for it. The big talk of this new stadium surrounds the naming rights, which are no doubt going to go to the highest bidder and have the highest price tag ever in professional sports. Top Stories