Answer Man XIV

<b>Reporter:</b> Well, Answer Man, I imagine this is a moot point with Duce Staley's injury and all, but how do you see the running back situation? Should Jerome Bettis be the starter there?

Answer Man: Why? We're winning. Why change anything? I mean, I know you guys have to come up with story ideas but it's working the way it's working now. Why do we have to change a thing? And it seems to me that those guys don't care, as long as we're winning. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Reporter: OK, what can you tell me about Eli Manning?
AM: He doesn't have any help.
Reporter: Doesn't Tiki Barber have close to 1,300 yards?
AM: Yeah, but the offensive line, once they start throwing … I think it's to the point where the offensive line is banged up, the receivers aren't helping him, he doesn't have the time and people are just throwing complicated stuff at him. For some reason they don't just stick with the run. They're not using him like we use Ben. They opened up the game throwing deep last week. Establish the run, establish the run and then put the kid in position to be successful with the limited resources around him. But, they're not doing it. They're putting him in the shotgun and asking him to wing it.
Reporter: Wouldn't Kurt Warner give them a better chance?
AM: Right. He would make it more difficult for us, but they took him out for a reason. When Warner came in in Baltimore he drove them right down for a score, got the ball back, drove them down and almost had another score but threw a pick. I don't know what (Tom) Coughlin's thinking now. When he made the move, maybe he saw something in practice that made him like the young guy better than the old guy. I don't really know. I know the person that would give them the best chance to win now is Kurt. Maybe he's just saying, 'Take our lumps this year; get ready for next year.' I don't know.
Reporter: Do you have the sense that players on their team have quit and there's frustration?
AM: There's probably frustration. I don't think they've quit. One thing, on defense they've lost so many people. When you lose four defensive ends, that's tough. The defense is still playing hard. They're just outmanned and outnumbered. They just don't have the guys to do it. That's going to hurt you, so you've got to start scoring some points. They're still playing pretty good. I don't think they're giving up but they're definitely frustrated.
Reporter: How is Tim Lewis doing there?
AM: I know early he was doing well. Look at the stats for the first five games, before he lost the two defensive ends, the linebacker -- I see Barrett Green's going to be out. He just got so decimated with injuries and it's dropped off. He's playing with fourth and fifth-string defensive ends. What if that happened here? There'd be guys playing that we don't even have here yet.
Reporter: Is it Barber's team? Manning's team?
AM: Right now, since they're not using Tiki Barber, and they can't get the ball to (Jeremy) Shockey, it's really no one's team. They're trying to make it Eli Manning's team. Coaching wise, I don't know why you wouldn't just hand it off, hand it off, play-action pass, hand it off, hand it off, play-action pass. I think they're a team searching for an identity. They're trying to make it Eli's team but he's not ready yet.
Reporter: Where's the weakness on the line?
AM: The right tackle, (David) Diehl, is average at best. Now, when (Chris) Snee's in there he's pretty good, but he's got that jaw infection. They moved over (Wayne) Lucier (to RG) and he's average. Shaun O'Hara was basically a long snapper at Cleveland, now he's their starting center. He couldn't start at Cleveland. Luke Petitgout's solid. He's like the (Jason) Fabini-type that we played last week - not great but so big and pretty technically sound, will have some trouble with speed. And then (Jason) Whittle is alright. He's adequate. He'd be a good back-up. He couldn't crack our lineup. Either could Diehl. Snee could crack the lineup and Petitgout, if you moved him over, could too.
Reporter: Is Shockey as good as he thinks?
AM: Yeah. He's a feistier blocker than most give him credit for, but they're not getting the ball to him. The only real receiving threat they have is this (Jamaar) Taylor kid from A&M. He's got some speed to get deep. He threatens you. (Amani) Toomer wants to stay outside. It seems all his drops are in the contact area. He's still a solid guy. Ike Hilliard's a solid guy. If we had either one of those two, they'd be stepping in for Plax right now and you could keep Antwaan (Randle El) in the slot where he's best.
Reporter: Speaking of which, how does Lee Mays impress you?
AM: He's up and down. The good thing is those ups have been in key situations so you forget about the downs. I root for him. He's bounced back from those drops. You're seeing that confidence, and Ben does.
Reporter: Has Lee's stock with the team improved?
AM: Yeah, especially if he keeps making plays - when you need them. You can't discount that.
Reporter: What about their defense?
AM: On the line, they've got Lance Legree and this Osi (Umenyiora) guy. That guy's not bad, Osi, he's just not that big. He'd be a pretty good outside linebacker for us.
Reporter: He was a tweener coming out a few years ago. Did you like him then?
AM: We were looking at him. He has the frame to get big so you didn't know whether to starve him to get him down or let him grow, so he was a true tweener. But he's got some athletic ability, some rush ability, but he's just not strong against the run. Now, Fred Robbins and Norman Hand are pretty solid inside. Hand you can't move and Robbins has some athletic ability, but neither of them have pass-rush ability. William Joseph, the guy from Miami, is alright. He's got some skills but has to learn to put things together. Then Legree is just average.
Reporter: Isn't Reggie Torbor playing ahead of Legree?
AM: He does in nickel and sub situations.
Reporter: Is Timmy using any 3-4 with those tweeners and the lack of 4-3 ends?
AM: Nah. He's not. I think he should. Put Torbor and Osi outside; Norman, Joseph and Robbins inside. They have the clientele to do it. Actually, thinking about it, that would probably be the best way to go.
Reporter: How's Carlos Emmons doing?
AM: Carlos is playing well. Carlos is playing real well. I like him. Coming off that leg injury at his age (31), I wouldn't have signed him, particularly for the money they did. He's proving me wrong.
Reporter: Their linebackers?
AM: Kevin Lewis is pretty good. He's small, but he knows how to get under you. He's a stout box player. He'll get covered up every once in awhile but he's not going to get blown back. I like him. He just doesn't have the range.
Reporter: What about the corners?
AM: Will Peterson is a pretty good player. He's got the skills. The only thing, he's better as an off cover guy, or zone. When he gets up and bumps he has some trouble with that. Will Allen, he got outjumped twice the other day. Todd Heap and Clarence Moore each took one off him.
Reporter: How's Brent Alexander playing?
AM: Brent's playing well. He's using him well, close to the line of scrimmage, not exposing him to a lack of speed out there. He's like an extra linebacker, smart, in the right place. He's not going to blow you up but he'll get you down.
Reporter: So how do you think Chris Hope's working out in his place?
AM: He's got more range. He seems to be able to mentally - besides that one bust in Jacksonville - he seems to be able to set the D and stuff like that. He's bigger, stronger and faster, maybe not as instinctive but he hasn't played as long. He'll get to that level. But to finish the Giants, Terry Cousin, a converted corner, is playing free safety; Brent's the strong safety. So they're playing with fourth and fifth D-dnds and your nickel corner is your starting safety. They're behind the 8-ball, but in this league you can never say it's an easy game. But talent-wise, they're just so decimated with injuries. If we do what we're supposed to do, we should be alright.


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