I was pleased to be joined by Ed Valentine from Big Blue View, our New York Giants affiliate, to preview Sunday's game against Cleveland. Ed talked about the Giants' running back situation, how Prince Amukamara has looked, his incorrect prediction from four years ago, and more.
Chris: "Between Ahmad Bradshaw, Andre Brown, and David Wilson, the Giants certainly have an interesting situation at running back, in terms of who should get the most playing time. Is there a running back that fans have rallied behind, saying, "this guy should be getting the bulk of the carries right now?"
Ed: "That's an interesting question. Giants' fans love Bradshaw and are excited about the future of Wilson, but looking back at Sunday's game against Philadelphia is there was one thing that stuck out it was that Brown only got nine snaps, carrying the ball just five times.
While you can't pin it all on Bradshaw, the Giants were the worst rushing team in the league last season while he was the No. 1 back. The only two games this season in which they have run the ball well have been with Brown carrying the mail, 13 carries, 71 yards in one game and 20 carries for 123 yards in another. Bradshaw is a good back and maybe the best pass-protecting running back in the league, but Brown has got to get more snaps.
As for Wilson, he has a ways to go to earn the trust of the coaching staff in the backfield. He has been spectacular returning kickoffs, but an adventure as a running back. A bad fumble in the opener and some dropped passes are keeping him sidelined. His talent is undeniable, but if you are going to play for Tom Coughlin as a running back you better be able to pass protect for Eli Manning, and you better hold onto the ball. Right now, I don't think the Giants trust him to do either."
Chris: "If you could name one area or position that the Giants have underachieved in through four games, what would it be?"
Ed: "That has to be the secondary, where Corey Webster has not played well and injuries have forced reserve cornerbacks Justin Tryon and Michael to play too many snaps."
Chris: "Prince Amukamara was the Giants' first-round pick in 2011, but he did not make his first career NFL start until last Sunday against the Eagles. What took so long for Amukamara to crack the starting lineup, and how did he do against Philly?"
Ed: "It's not fair to make Amukamara seem like a bust. It's not unusual in New York for rookies, even first-round picks, to have to get in line and wait there turn.
As for Amukamara specifically, remember that he broke his foot last season at the start of training camp and missed the first nine games. Even though Terrell Thomas was down with a knee injury, the Giants still had veterans Webster and Aaron Ross playing well. No training camp and missing half the season made it difficult for Amukamara last season.
This year he was set to start. Ross went to Jacksonville and Thomas is on IR again with another torn ACL. He suffered a high ankle sprain in the second preseason game, though, and that set him back a few weeks.
As for how he did against Philly, right now Amukamara is the best cornerback the Giants have. He has played pretty well the past couple of weeks. But, saying he is their best corner is also taking a shot at Webster, who has not been good."
Chris: "If you could take one player off the Browns' roster and put him in the Giants' starting lineup, who would it be, and why?"
Ed: "Well, let me admit that I don't know the Browns' roster the way I know the teams the Giants play on a yearly basis. That said, I would have to take MLB D'Qwell Jackson. Chase Blackburn is a smart player and a guy who won't hurt the Giants by making mental mistakes, but he's far from being an impact middle linebacker. If you want to let Jackson switch sides, that's fine with me."
Chris: "Four years ago, the Browns were facing the defending Super Bowl Champions, the New York Giants. You predicted the Giants would win that game 31-17. Instead, Cleveland came away with a stunning 35-14 massacre. The circumstances are pretty similar heading into this game four years later. Care to get the prediction right this time?"
Ed: "Well, just for grins I will give you the same score and same prediction. Giants, 31-17."
Thanks again to Ed for joining me.