Another Question from the Fifth Down


As Dave has already mentioned, Riggo’s Rag has been working with the New York Times Football Blog, The Fifth Down to get a New York perspective of the issues surrounding the Redskins week one match up against the Giants.  I had a chance to ask them one question of my own.  My own answer will be posted on their site within the next day or so. 

The Giants are reeling from the loss of Usi Umenyiora.  Even if Michael Strahan had responded to the Bat-Signal the Giants sent out, he wouldn’t have been ready by week one.  Meanwhile, the Redskins have looked cover-your-eyes awful after two humiliating preseason blowouts and have a rookie coach who can’t even keep their team colors straight.  Which team is in more trouble? 

Here’s what John Woods, staff editor working on the Fifth Down had to say…

Guy asked the Fifth Down, which team out of the Giants or Redskins did we think was in more trouble? The plain answer is that the Redskins seem worse off, if only because they did not just win the Super Bowl. (Do the Redskins remember those things?) But the Giants have huge problems. Lost in all the talk about the holes in the defensive line is the fact that the offense lost an important player, Jeremy Shockey, in the off-season. And, by the way, got nothing in return they can use this season.

Shockey caught a quarter of the touchdown passes over Eli Manning’s three full seasons in the league, and the fact that he was a reliable over-the-middle option made guys like Plaxico Burress better. The Giants don’t have to find another preening beach bully to play tight end, but they have to replace those touches somehow.

Added to their problems on offense and defense is the not-insignificant pressure of being the reigning champion. Most Super Bowl champions return to the playoffs, but the Giants never have after playing in one.

As for the Redskins, they are just too unpredictable. Given the right circumstances, I can see the Redskins playing well enough to win the division and poorly enough to qualify for a high draft pick. A lot of people are talking about how potentially explosive the offense is. But this assumes that Jim Zorn can find his rear end with both hands, and that Jason Campbell justifies this expectation by all of a sudden becoming a better quarterback than he has been. Campbell has only eight career games with a passer rating of 80 or better, and a 3-5 record in those games. And, anyway, it was the probably arthritic hand of Todd Collins that put the real polish on the Redskins’ 2007 season.

So, who is in more trouble? There certainly is plenty to go around, but if I had to pick one team to drop in a sack full of a farm cats, it’d be the Redskins.

And here’s what  Benjamin Hoffman, Staff Writer for the Fifth Down had to say…

As far as play this year, I’d have to think the Giants are definitely in the worse position. They played above their heads last year, they still have no real answer at running back, their top receiver is injury-prone, they lost 1/2 of the defensive line that almost single-handedly won them the Super Bowl and they still have the coach that until the final five minutes of the Super Bowl was considered incompetent by almost every observer. At this point, a 10 or 11 win season and a playoff loss is where they are talent-wise and yet they’ll be considered a disappointment if they don’t win the Super Bowl.

The Redskins on the other hand have a quarterback in Jason Campbell that seems to have the raw ability to succeed if the right system is put in place. They have Clinton Portis, who I consider to be one of the most underrated backs in the game (which is amusing since he was overrated while with the Broncos.) They have plenty of other quality veterans like Chris Cooley and Santana Moss. And despite all that, they don’t really have any expectations to speak of. They play in a division with the defending Super Bowl champions and a Cowboys team with an offense that can run up the score against anyone. It seems to me, they could win between 7 and 12 games realistically, and any one of those results would be just fine.

When it comes down to it, I’d rather be the talented team with no expectations than the limited team that is going to be forced to prove all season that last year wasn’t a fluke. And who wouldn’t rather hang out with Portis and Cooley than Eli and Plaxico?

Thanks guys! That was great stuff! I look forward to doing this again when we get a rematch with the Giants in November!  For now, let’s all rejoice. The long drought of the offseason is finally about to end.  Football is back baby!

Oh, and for the record, Redskins over Giants 20-17.