I was pleased to be joined by Ed, our New York Giants affiliate, who has the pleasure of running Big Blue View, to preview Monday's game. We did a question-and-answer segment in the preseason, so I tried as best as I could to differ the questions a little bit this time. Enjoy!
Chris: "The Giants lost Osi Umenyiora in the preseason, and many people projected the defensive line to suffer a dropoff. However, the line still seems as strong as ever, no matter who the Giants throw in there. Is this simply a matter of great coaching? Because the Browns have been searching for a solid defensive lineman since returning to the league."
Ed: "Really, it's simply that too many "experts" did not look closely enough at how much talent was still there. Justin Tuck is playing at a Pro Bowl level and Mathias Kiwanuka is right at home back at defensive end, the position he was drafted to play. On top of that, DT Fred Robbins (4 sacks) is playing very well. Barry Cofield is the other DT, and he is solid, if unspectacular. Also, there is great depth with Jay Alford, Jerome McDougle and Dave Tollefson. It's really the same with the entire team. Talent and depth everywhere."
Chris: "Although I watched the game when the Giants battled the Bengals, I'm curious as to what your take is (briefly) on why it was such a competitive game instead of a blowout. Was there a strategy the Bengals used that the Browns could use this Monday?"
Ed: "Well, you can't blow out every team. The Bengals played well. They used lots of short crossing routes to negate the Giants blitz. Those left the Giants corners, in man coverage, trailing and resulted in some big plays. I have no idea if Seattle tried that last week -- the Seahawks couldn't get out of their own way on offense and couldn't cover anybody on defense."
Chris: "WR Domenik Hixon made a name for himself by catching three touchdowns in the preseason against the Browns. Then, in his first start with Plaxico Burress suspended last week, he had over 100 yards receiving along with a touchdown. How much playing time is this potential "Browns killer" going to see with Burress returning?"
Ed: "I am not sure how much of Hixon you will see. He did suffer a concussion Sunday. If he is ready to go, you will definitely see him returning punts, where he excels. Offensively, he will get time in 4-receiver sets, that's all."
Chris: "The Giants are first in the league on offense, and third in the league on defense, so I'm not even going to bother asking what weakness the Browns should attack. However, I will ask this: which starting player are you most disappointed with on the Giants this year, either on offense or defense?"
Ed: "Plaxico Burress. I am disappointed by his suspension, and by his seeming lack of remorse -- One beat writer said he is "30 going on 13," and that is probably accurate. I don't see any short-term impact on the team -- the players are solidly behind Tom Coughlin and have said repeatedly that Burress deserved what he got. Long-term, I am wondering whether Plax will be a Giant at the end of the 5-year contract he just signed."
Chris: "This will be the Browns' first Monday Nighter in a few years. Predict the final score, and please feel free to be as lopsided as you'd like."
Ed: "900-0!! No, seriously, I don't see the Giants putting a Seattle-like beating on the Browns. That game was fun, but it won't happen every week.
Giants 31, Browns 17"
Once again, I'd like to thank Ed for taking the time to answer my questions this week. We plan on doing another little feature later on this week, and I'll also be answering five of his questions about the Browns soon.