This Sunday, the Cleveland Browns play another game at home when they take on the New York Giants. To help preview the Week 12 contest, I reached out to Ed Valentine from Big Blue View and exchanged five questions with him. Enjoy!
Chris: “The Giants have some good numbers on offense and defense, but the one that negatively stands out relates to the running game. Do the Giants just lack an explosive type of back, or are the offensive lineman (any in particular?) inadequate in run blocking?”
Chris: “Landon Collins is in his second year, and perhaps even a defensive MVP candidate. Tell us about what stands out with respect to his play in 2016, and if you saw signs of this type of player as a rookie.”
Ed: “What we see now is what we hoped for, but didn't see in 2015. What you see mostly is a decisive, confident player where, as a rookie, you saw a guy who wasn't sure and lacked confidence. He worked really hard on his ability to catch the bally, and now has 5 INTs. He also dropped 230 to 216 pounds, and the transformation in his quickness is noticeable. Great player.”
Chris: “I'm pretty familiar with the Giants' pass-rushing defensive line and the veterans in their secondary, but I don't know much about their linebackers. Can you tell us about the unit?”
Ed: “Linebacker is always the overlooked unit with the Giants, the weak link if you will. As usual, it's a piecemeal group with no high draft picks or expensive free agents. Journeyman Jonathan Casillas is a defensive captain and plays every down. Devon Kennard is a good run stuffer and gets used as a defensive lineman in passing situations. Kelvin Sheppard starts in the middle, but Keenan Robinson actually plays more snaps as a nickel guy. Robinson has been a revelation, the best cover linebacker the Giants have had in a long time.”
Chris: “I like the Giants on both offense and defense. However, despite winning seven games, they've yet to win a game by more than one possession, and they're only averaging 20.4 points per game. Why haven't the Giants been able to put away the opposition in more convincing fashion? Is there something besides the struggles of the run game?”
Ed: “The run game has been a big part of it. For me, it's the offense in general. The Giants were sixth in the league in scoring a year ago. This year they are 23rd. Turnovers have also hurt. They have 18 and last week was the first time this season they did not commit one.”
Chris: “Tell us about a player on the Giants who isn't known too well around the NFL, but has had a nice little impact this season as either a regular or rotational player.”
Ed: “If I have to keep it to one I'm going to name safety Andrew Adams. He's an undrafted kid from UConn. The Giants drafted Darian Thompson in Round 3 to be their free safety. They have Nat Berhe as the backup, and he's a good player. They were forced to play Adams when Thompson, now on IR, hurt his foot and Berhe got a concussion. Now, they can't get the kid out of the lineup. He splits time with Berhe.”
Thanks again to Ed for taking the time to answer my questions.