It’s game week, and that means a real Five Questions segment with a true-to-life, this-game-counts opposition. With the New York Giants coming to play the Dallas Cowboys, we’ll be talking to our old friend Ed Valentine at Big Blue View.
Blogging The Boys: What's your best guess about Odell Beckham playing? If he doesn't play what is the ripple effect on the Giants offense?
Big Blue View: It seems like this is heading toward a game-time decision. I don't think he's going to fully test it until Sunday night. I think he really wants to play, but I don't know. I want to believe he will play, but some of what I heard from the Giants on Wednesday gives me pause. If he doesn't play, the ripple effect is huge. The giants have Brandon Marshall, Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram, but at this point in their careers none of those guys DEMAND a double team. And none of them are taking an innocent 7-yard slant to the house.
BTB: The one negative we always hear about with the Giants is the offensive line. Give us a rundown on that unit and how good or bad they are.
BBV: Same group as last year, at least to start the season.
LT Ereck Flowers -- 2015 10th overall pick still trying to live up to that. Inconsistent preseason. If he can be marginally better than a year ago, that's a big help.
LG Justin Pugh -- Good player, but not a powerful one
C Weston Richburg -- Really good player but struggles with powerful players on his nose
RG John Jerry -- Decent pass blocker, sub-par run blocker. If anyone loses a job on the line, he'll be the one
RT Bobby Hart -- Not very good last year. REALLY good this preseason, not allowing a single QB hurry.
BTB: Evan Engram seems to be generating a lot of press and buzz. How has he looked and how will the Giants deploy him?
BBV: Engram looks really good. Speed, hands, quality route-running, willingness to be physical and try to block. I think he will be moved all over -- inline, slot, wide, backfield, part of two-TE sets. Much depends on whether Beckham plays.
BTB: We have to ask about Eli Manning. Does he still have your full confidence? Has anything changed in his game as he has aged?
BBV: Yes, he still has my full confidence. There will always be Eli haters and doubters, even in the Giants fan base, despite two incredible Super Bowl wins. The Giants offense has changed. The vertical play action game of the Coughlin/Gilbride era is gone. This is now a rhythm-based, get the ball out in a hurry offense. Eli is still Eli. There will be lasers and moments of brilliance, and occasional moments or games where you wonder if he could make the high school JV team. You take the good with the occasional bad. There is some speculation about his arm strength at 36, but I don't know how valid it is. There are occasional ducks on deep balls, but also plenty of well-thrown ones.
BTB: The Giants defense is impressive. So if you were playing against them, how would you attack them to take advantage of any weak points?
BBV: The only "weak" point I would really try to explore is the linebackers. Probe them underneath with Jason Witten and the running backs in the short pass game. They were better in this area a year ago than they had been for a long time, but it's still the first place to look for an opposing offense.
Thanks for the knowledge, Big Blue View.
Additionally, I appeared on the Big Blue View podcast which can be found here.