October 23, 2008

Five Questions with a Giants Steelers fan...

Yet again, this image has absolutely zero to do with the following post. But, it makes me laugh. And that's enough...
John Woods is a staff editor for the New York Times and regular contributor to the Times' football blog, The Fifth Down. He's also a Steelers fan. Of course, I didn't know this when trading emails with him. So I thoroughly made an ass out of myself by asking him five questions about the Giants, worded as if he were as rife with Giants homerism as I am with Steelers homerism. Nevertheless, he was nice enough to actually answer my questions without ripping me for being a completely worthless human being. Which works out well, because that position's already been filled by my ex-girlfriend anyhow. Ba-dum-ching!

Ah, but I digress.

Indeed, I posed five questions to John in advance of our game with the vaGiants on Sunday and he answered them to the best of his abilities without letting his Steelers fandom affect his responses too heavily one way or another. The results are what you see below.

So without further ado, I give you John Woods making the best out of the most irrelevant questions I could think of.

1. How are you guys enjoying Plaxico Burress?

Let me state for the record that 1) I am not a Giants fan, 2) I have been a Steelers fan since I was 6 and 3) that I have no problem with Burress's supposed toxic presence -- in New York, anyway. Burress is a talented player and he has made a lot of hay with Eli Manning. Aren't they among the most successful touchdown tandems in the league? I can see Steelers fans having a different point of view, but Burress has since developed his talent and is now probably worth the headache. To wit, he pulled a Terrell Owens last year -- and by that I mean that he put aside his own semiserious injuries and personal problems to really power the Giants to the Super Bowl -- without later pulling a Terrell Owens -- and by that I mean that Burress didn't disrupt the entire team and get run out of town when he went for a bigger contract. ...The latest scandal about him missing Monday's meetings was B.S., if you ask me. If Burress was having some serious issues with his family, his wife or his kid or something, then I think he deserves a pass. It's not like he is getting a lot done on Mondays. And. It's not like he was unapologetic. He told reporters -- check the wire stories -- that he would call the next time, which is what the Giants wanted him to do. The Giants, for their part, cut his fine in half. But everyone in New York painted him as a miscreant. Which, O.K., he probably is. ...Do the guys in the locker room think he's a jerk? I dunno. But, let's face it, most of them are probably jerks.

2. What parallels do you see between the Giants and Steelers?

Now that you mention it, there are more than a few. Similar styles of play, on either side of the ball, for one. Both teams have lost key players to injuries, though those losses have not seemed to matter much. Both teams won Super Bowls the hard way, with a four-game sweep through the postseason.

3. Do you think having Tom Coughlin (formerly of the Steelers old AFC Central rivals – the Jacksonville Jaguars) at the helm gives the Giants an edge at all?

No. Not more than the other dozen teams with good coaches. I understand that Coughlin has already been anointed a genius for winning the Super Bowl, but that was probably more in spite of him than because of him. His biggest contribution was more like addition by subtraction. I admit that I don't know a lot about the team's chemistry, but the Giants really seemed to start playing better last season when Coughlin reportedly eased up on his notoriously strict team policies.

4. How could you guys let us down and lose to the Browns?

That was shocking. But strictly a matter of the Browns being ramped up and Manning throwing three picks. I don't think it was a chink in the armor. It was just one of those things that happens in the N.F.L.

5. How do you see this game going and what's your prediction on score?

I dunno. This is tough. It's going to be a good game, I bet. (I am ticked that the late start means I will have to watch the second half at work.) ...The matchups are interesting. The big one is the Steelers against the Giants' pass rush. It looks bleak for Pittsburgh. About the only real difference between Manning and Big Ben (Eli is more prolific, Ben is more efficient) is in the number of times they've been sacked. So, the Steelers are going to have to figure out some new protections -- but they have the Browns to copy from. The Giants had no sacks in Cleveland. ...The bottom line is that I think it's clear that the game will be low scoring, and so within reach for either team when it's the fourth quarter. The Giants run a tight ship: they have only five turnovers in six games. That's huge in a game like this. I say, Giants, 20-13.

Watching the second half at work? Ladies and gentleman, pity this man.

So what would you guys say to all this?


Joey Porter’s Pit Bulls said...

All seems pretty reasonable. Gotta admit, I'm very concerned about the Giants' pass rush and running game (esp. Brandon Jacobs). Plus, they protect the QB very well, AND they are extremely deep at receiver, so our depth at secondary is going to be tested (with B-Mac out and Troy potentially less than 100 percent).

On the other hand, this makes for an interesting matchup because both teams lost to their opponent's division rivals (Steelers to the Eagles; Giants to the Browns), for what that's worth.

The Steelers have tightened up the pass-blocking schemes since the Eagles game. But the Giants can definitely bring a badass pass rush. It might come down to whoever has the more effective running game (to control the clock) and, of course, turnovers.

Anonymous said...

I agree w/ Joey Porter’s Pit Bulls. Protecting Ben is key, as always. I do however see Ben getting sacked at least 4 times.

Hopefully we don't abandon the run game if we are w/in reach in the 4th qtr. Moore needs to be involved heavily too.

Anonymous said...

FACT: The Giants didn't get ONE sack on the Browns when they played.

I think the Giants' pass rush is a bit overrated this season. With the loss of Strahan and Uminyora(sp?)the defensive end position in their 4-3 defense is not as good as last year. Justin Tuck is the only part of their pass rush that worries me.

The Steelers need to exploit the weakness in the Giants defense, which is their secondary. I think the steelers will try to spread the defense out with a lot of 3 wr formations, instead of trying to pound the ball on the ground.

Defensively, everything the Giants try to do on offense revolves around Brandon Jacobs as well as the entire running-back-by committee-group. Bottling these guys up in the backfield will be key. No one wants to see Jacobs will a head of steam get to the Steelers' defenses' 2nd/3rd levels.

The Giants offensive line vs. Steelers defensive line is what I'll be watching!!!

Win or lose this is a measuring stick game.

Joey Porter’s Pit Bulls said...

Aaron Ross: The target's on you!


Their safeties are good.

Control the clock. Run the ball. Right at Justin Tuck.

Even, dare I say it, on the other side, behind Max Starks?

Gotta control the clock in this one. Run the ball. Run the ball. Run the ball.

Patience, my friends, patience. It's a home game. And Kevin Gilbride's their offensive coordinator. They'll make a mistake or two, or four.