As is customary before a game, we talk to the enemy. This week that means speaking with an old friend of Blogging The Boys, Ed Valentine, guru of all things Giants for SB Nation over at Big Blue View. We posed 5 Questions to Ed, and he gave us five answers. Enjoy!
Blogging The Boys: What's the story on the offensive line and the injuries? Who do you think will play and how might the changes affect the Giants offense?
Big Blue View: The line will feature three changes from the beginning of preseason. Kevin Boothe moves from left guard to center, with James Brewer taking over at left guard. First-round pick Justin Pugh takes over at right tackle. For those who don't know, center David Baas (knee) and tackle/guard David Diehl (thumb surgery) are out.
Boothe is fine at center. From what we have seen I have confidence that Pugh is ready to handle right tackle. Brewer has little experience entering his third season, but physically he should be fine. The question will be communication. Can this group read blitzes/stunts properly, pick up the right players and carry out assignments?
BTB: The Giants defense has some firepower up front, but what about the linebackers and secondary? Do you have confidence in those units?
BBV: Honestly I'm not that worried about the linebackers. It's a revamped group that should be fine. The secondary is a question mark. Prince Amukamara is not on the Richard Sherman/Darrelle Revis level, but he's far and away the Giants' best corner. My advice to Tony Romo is to throw at everybody else. The secondary is full of question marks right now. The best thing the Giants could do is knock Tony Romo on his back a lot to protect everybody not named Amukamara.
BTB: Who are the new additions to the team you're most excited about for 2013?
BBV: Rookie first-round pick Justin Pugh looks like a very good player. Third-round pick Damontre Moore was great in one preseason game, but injured a shoulder and hasn't played since. Seventh-round pick Michael Cox, a running back, had an excellent preseason. Among the veterans, the big free-agent acquisition was defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins. Giants' fans are also excited by the return of Terrell Thomas after two years lost to ACL surgeries.
BTB: The running back position is very thin right now. Do you expect the Giants to "air it out" on Sunday night?
BBV: I expect the Giants to do what they always do and try to find balance, try to find enough of a mix that the Cowboys have to honor both run and pass on most snaps. The interesting thing will be how heavy the workload is for second-year man David Wilson. How much will reserves Da'Rel Scott and Michael Cox see the field?
BTB: Give us your overall view of the team and the season. Are the Giants contenders? Is the window closing? Where do you stand on their future?
BBV: Weirdly, the Giants won a Super Bowl but have managed to miss the playoffs three of the last four years. It's a frustratingly inconsistent team that doesn't always play up to its potential -- or what it believes to be it's potential.
Tom Coughlin calls this team a "work in progress" and I can agree with that. With some of the injuries they've had and some of the younger players they are fitting in the Giants could be better at the end than they are at the beginning of the season.
Yes, the Giants are contenders. You just never know how things will go. They could win 12 games. They could win 7 games. We'll see. Is the window closing? Is Eli Manning at the end of his career? I think not. The Giants may be headed for a transition in another year or so with veterans like Justin Tuck, David Diehl, Kevin Boothe, Corey Webster, Bear Pascoe and others near the end of their days with the Giants. They are not, however, in need of an overhaul.
Manning is 32 -- he isn't 38 or 39. He has a lot of quality football left in him and as long as he is playing at a high level the Giants will be in contention. There is a good group of young players, and I really like the team's 2013 draft class. The organization is solid and doesn't make many big blunders. I think the future is bright.
Thanks Ed! Head over to Big Blue View for more on the Giants.