5 Questions with 5th Down

The Rag is going to be workingbefore both New York games with our friends at 5th Down, a Jets/Giants blog with the New York Times.  Posts written by Redskins Guy and myself will appear there tomorrow (come back for links), and John Woods, staff editor for the Times and one of the contributors for 5th Down was nice enough to answer some questions for us.  Here’s the interview:

1) The Giants got lucky last year to win the Super Bowl.  I’m not trying to take anything way from them.  Every team needs a lot of luck to win the Super Bowl.  But with the free agent loses, retirements, and early injuries, is there any reason we shouldn’t assume this team is going into the tank this year?

…Uh, no. I predict an enormous, Chris Farley belly flop. My thing is, How did the Giants improve themselves? The big personnel changes are all departures. Maybe they can cover the holes left by Osi Umenyiora and Jeremy Shockey with first- and second-year players. But I doubt it.

2) I don’t know who I hate more, Eli Manning or Brett Favre. You’re the NYC QB expert. Who should it be?

I am no expert in this field, but as a guest on your blog I’d like to request that you stop hating Eli Manning. The guy is a self-described mama’s boy who likes to go antiquing, which means he probably has enough problems without the rest of us being mean to him. Favre, on the other hand, basically parked his pickup on Chad Pennington‘s head. That sounds like what a jerk would do.

3) I’m tired of seeing Peyton and Eli in every commercial during a game of football.  But I really do like that one where they play Hungry Hungry Hippos. If I sent you a Hungry Hungy Hippos game, could you get it autographed for me?  And do you have a solution for the national nightmare that is the Manning brothers? What is the media obsession with them?

I absolutely can get your game autographed, but not by anyone famous. I do not have a solution for the Manning brothers better than a few years of their not winning a Super Bowl. And, as a member of the media, I do not know anything about an obsession with them. You take the Mannings like you take a crazy person on the subway: Just stare off in the distance and pretend you didn’t see them.

4) OK, some actual football related material.  Tom Coughlin was on the hotseat at the start of last season.  The team started 0-2 and looked terrible.  Besides us letting you back in the game late in week 4, what turned around the season?  Is Coughlin suddenly a good coach? What makes this team work? 

I was a distant, uninterested observer for most of the Giants’ season, but from what I have read I think the important thing was that Coughlin seemed to shed his reputation as a task-master. The team loosened up, and then started to play better. They didn’t exactly tear it up, though. I think they were 4-4 after the bye week. The other helpful thing was that none of the three teams they played before the Super Bowl were insurmountable obstacles.

5) I already know you are going to say the Giants will win.  What is the final score you are predicting?

To be clear, I am not a Giants fan. I just think the Redskins will stink this year — uh, with all due respect. Giants win, 14-10.

Thanks again to John Woods for answering our questions, and check out 5th Down tomorrow.


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