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Five Good Questions with Big Blue View

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In keeping with what we normally do in games against non-divisional opponents, I have exchanged questions with ETVal, the head blogger over at our outstanding Giants' site, Big Blue View.  As soon as the folks over there get my responses to their questions up, I'll update this very post with a link.  My questions will be in italics, and ETVal's answers will be in bold.  Here we go!

1)  We know that a lot of NFL quarterbacks take a lot of heat, but prior to this year few of them had taken as much heat as Eli Manning. How much progress do you think Eli has made this year?  Has he gotten closer to the point where he can be known as something other than "Peyton's younger brother?"

Eli will ALWAYS be known as Peyton's younger brother. He will never measure up. We discussed this at length on Big Blue View a week or so ago. Throw out the numbers. Fact is, Eli has grown a lot and is a good NFL quarterback. He will just never be the immortal top 5 of all-time guy the Giants were hoping they were getting.

2)  The Giants defense looked pretty terrible in their first two games this season, but has been very impressive since then.  What changed after those first two games that got the defense going?

A few things. They have gotten more comfortable with new coordinator Steve Spagnuolo's system. Mostly, though, it's been the all-out pass rush and improved play by veteran corner Sam Madison and rookie Aaron Ross that have sparked this unit.

3)  Staying with the defense, how does the injury to Mathias Kiwanuka affect that unit and what the Giants like to try to do defensively?

Kiwanuka's loss is a HUGE one. His skills and versatility were at the center of what had made this defense go. He is a pass-rushing defensive end who the Giants converted to outside linebacker this season so they could get him on the field full time. He's become a good run defender from there. More importantly, though, his loss impacts the pass rush. In passing situations, the Giants have moved Kiwanuka and Justin Tuck, both athletic, pass-rushing ends, to defensive tackle. Along with Osi Umenyiora and Michael Strahan this has given them four athletic pass rushing lineman and at least one is always coming free. Without him the Giants will have to be more creative to protect a secondary that is only average.

4)  Tom Coughlin has been one of the league's more controversial coaches since his arrival in New York.  What's your impression of Coach Coughlin?  Has he changed at all from his previous seasons as Giants coach?

I have always liked Coughlin. Players may not have always liked him, but he has won in both Jacksonville and New York. Coughlin is a changed man this year. He has related much better to the players and his sideline demeanor has been much more under control.  Barring a collapse that now seems unlikely, Coughlin very well might end up with a long-term extension to stay with the Giants.

5)  If you could take one player from the Minnesota roster, who would you choose and why?

Well, Peterson would be the easy answer. Unless you have LaDainian Tomlinson you'd be nuts not to want him. I'll go a different direction just to make this interesting. To be fair, I don't know the Vikings roster incredibly well. I'll say this, though. Cornerback is still a position where the Giants could use help with Madison near the end of the line. Whether he would be the best choice, I'm not sure, but Antoine Winfield would fit nicely into the Giants defense.

Update [2007-11-24 1:18:30 by Gonzo]:

You can find my answers to ETVal's questions right here.