Thursday, January 31, 2008
Updated: February 1, 2:11 PM ET
Will the Giants secondary handle the Pats receivers?
Our experts offer insight on the Giants' secondary, how to fix the Raiders and the coaching situation in Washington.
Will the Giants' secondary hold up?
Sean Salisbury: The Giants secondary should actually play well against the Patriots receiving corps. They have talented cornerbacks who can get physical with Randy Moss and have the speed to keep up with Wes Welker. The big advantage for the Giants in this game is that they have the tape from the first meeting to rely upon. They can see what coverages worked against the Patriots and how to best handle Moss when he goes up top. It's going to take a lot of hard work and film study for this team to defeat the Patriots and one of the main keys is the play of New York's defensive backfield.
Eric Allen:The Giants secondary should hold up in this game, but the team's defensive backs should approach their secondary responsibilities differently than they have in the past. The Giants best cornerback is Aaron Ross, but instead of matching him up with Randy Moss for 90 percent of the game, the Giants should put Ross on Wes Welker and give Moss to R.W. McQuarters or Corey Webster -- depending on where he lines up. McQuarters and Webster can be physical with Moss and if they miss on a bump, they will still have a safety to cover their backsides. This will force Tom Brady to go to Jabar Gaffney and Donte' Stallworth more than he probably would like.
Can the Oakland situation be fixed?
Salisbury: This is a difficult situation to fix because of a lot of different issues. This is a once-proud organization that has fallen bad times since it made it to the Super Bowl, and the team's struggles are largely because the front office has been unable to follow a plan. Heck, this organization's lack of success with coaches has been even worse than its offense. At least the offense is consistently going three-and-out, the coaches, on the other hand, are lucky to get a second year in this organization. If the Raiders are going to be successful down the line, they need to start observing what successful organizations are doing.
The ownership should take a page out of the Patriots' handbook: give the football operations to capable, trustworty people and stay out of the way. Let them make decisions without fear of being fired if they get rid of one of the owner's favorite players. Oakland could, and should, be great again -- as long as it starts showing some patience and smarts.
Allen: Let me start off by saying that the Raiders don't get enough credit for the people who are behind the scenes in this organization. They have confident, energetic people with a strong will to win, but, in some ways, that has served as a hindrance for this organzation. The need to win now, and at all costs, has caused the Raiders to lose track of the need to find and follow a long-term plan to fruition. I was with the Raiders organization when Jon Gruden was in Oakland. Back then, there was no doubt in my mind that he was the guy to lead the organization for years to come; he had a sense of respect for the players and the organization. That clearly isn't there right now.
They have to find someone to lead the team on the field who can renew that sense of respect. The Raiders' decision-makers have to find a plan and stick to it. Football has become more and more like a high level chess match. Yes, there are adjustments that need to be made on the fly, but unless something drastic happens, you shouldn't destroy a long-term plan on a whim, which is what this team seems to do repeatedly. The Raiders want to win and they can win just like any other team in the league, but they have to be steadfast in what they decide to do.
Who is the right choice for the Redskins' head coaching position?
Salisbury: I don't know who the right guy is for the Redskins, but I believe they should hire an offensive-minded coach. This is an offense with a young quarterback who is capable of being one of the best in the league, if he's handled properly. It's vitally important for the Redskins to handle Jason Campbell's development with care, which includes hiring in a head coach who knows how to bring along a quarterback. With a coach who is focused on development, Campbell has the tools to be the future of this organization.
Allen: A lot of people probably believe that this team should get an offensive coach, but I disagree. The Redskins should make a run at Mike Singletary. He's a guy who is well-respected throughout the league, and he would bring an instant intensity to this team. Also, he would be the perfect guy to follow a legend like Joe Gibbs; he is such a beacon of respect. The Redskins are a young team that needs an older coach who is sure of himself and capable of getting the most out of them, Singletary has that ability.