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January 17, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Dan Graziano

Dan Graziano
  (12:00 PM)

Greetings and welcome to the NFC Championship Game edition of the NFC East chat. I see a lot of Giants questions already, as I'd expect. But per the results of our weekly Twitter contest, today's first question will be about the Washington Redskins.

Gerry (Rapid City, SD)

Dan,What's your take. Do the Skins trade up sacrificing draft picks for RGIII or does Shanahan trade down for more picks and grab a QB in the latter part of the first round?

Dan Graziano
  (12:01 PM)

I think it's important to remember that Shanahan and the Redskins don't even know what they're going to do about QB yet, so all the rest of us can do is speculate. But since you're asking me to speculate, I am going to say I don't think the Redskins will pay the price it'll likely take to move up, and that you'll either see them address QB in free agency, later in the first round or maybe even in the second. Again: My speculation only.

Erik Thomas (Woodstock, OH)

Why are the Cowboys so reluctant to draft a huge NT & move Jay Ratliff to DE? Seems to me the this agressive Rob Ryan Defense could benefit from a player whom would command double teams

Dan Graziano
  (12:03 PM)

I agree. Ryan was asked about that when he got the job and said he didn't want to do it. And Ratliff does bring a lot to the table as NT. But I agree with you and think they should at least consider this move. I also think they probably would. Maybe Ryan wanted to see Ratliff play there for a year before making the move. Maybe they didn't like their other options. It's something to watch.

Jason (VA)

ARE YOU CONVINCED THE GIANTS ARE A TOP TEN TEAM NOW? My instincts tell me that you will find a way around this question.

Dan Graziano
  (12:04 PM)

There's nothing I can say other than, "I was wrong."

Drew (UK)

Hey Dan, how can you explain how well the Giants secondary played the other day? They were covering some of the best WRs in the league and the pass rush wasn't really helping them

Dan Graziano
  (12:04 PM)

I think we're seeing some proud, talented guys raise their games at the right time of year. That's how I explain it. Easily Rolle's best game as a Giant, right?

Joshua Munoz (Los Lunas, NM)

Do the Cowboys go after Nicks in FA....Or do they go after a OLB like Osi, or Mario??

Dan Graziano
  (12:05 PM)

It's a good question, especially since they have so much youth at those interior OL spots and likely want to see it develop. I think the price for Nicks is going to be high for a guard, and my guess is, if they're spending big money, it'll be on a pass rusher and/or DBs.

Brian (NY)

How's the SF o-line? Do you think the Giants' d-line will have more success against them than GB's?

Dan Graziano
  (12:06 PM)

It's fantastic, and will be a tougher test than Green Bay's was.

Michael (Mulcunry)

The NFC West blogger brought up an excellent point, that if it rains, doesn't it benefit SF to a degree?

Dan Graziano
  (12:07 PM)

Somebody asked me about this on Twitter. I don't generally question Sando, and I can definitely see his point. I'm not sure the Giants need optimal conditions to operate their passing game, but I'm struggling to remember whether they've played in bad weather all year.

John(NJ) [via mobile]

You are looking more and more ripe everyday mr. pineapple

Dan Graziano
  (12:07 PM)

It's that damned press box food...

Mike (NJ)

If the Cowboys think Dre Kirkpatrick is the guy, do they trade up to get him?

Dan Graziano
  (12:08 PM)

Sure. They've shown a willingness to do that.

Nathan (Washington DC)

Vicent Jackson or D. Jackson to the Skins? Do you see either happening and does either move make sense?

Dan Graziano
  (12:08 PM)

I'd prefer Vince over DeSean if I were them. Nothing against DeSean, but I think they're looking for someone with some size.

Thomas (PHilly)

Giants played in bad weather week 17 against the Cowboys, rain and wind...didn't seem to matter.

Dan Graziano
  (12:09 PM)

No, I was at that game. It stopped raining either before the game started or very early. Hey, again, not saying it will matter, but it's the kind of thing that COULD matter. Real grass out there in SF, remember. It'll get muddy. MetLife's artificial turf does not.

Dan Graziano
  (12:09 PM)

And yes, I giggled when I wrote "real grass in SF."

Brian (NY)

How do the Giants defend Vernon Davis? Boley plus Phillips?

Dan Graziano
  (12:11 PM)

Good question. In the Giants' locker room after the game, on a whiteboard, were these words: "Play physical football and beat the hell out of #88." The Packers'

st8prop (Atlanta, GA)

I know that this questions will get ignored...like every other one i posted since our falling out but here goes...Which SB match-up would you like to see? Harbough vs Harbough or Tom vs Eli part deaux?

Dan Graziano
  (12:12 PM)

But see, St8, I really don't care who wins the games. I know people have a hard time believing that. I guess Giants-Pats would offer more obvious storylines in the weeks leading up to the game, but I don't feel strongly enough about it to be hoping one way or the other.

Jason (Westfield)

Kevin Seifert thought the Giants were a "dream matchup" for the Packers. Since I'm a Giants fan of course I was enraged, offended, incredulous and apoplectic all at the same time. I was wondering could you get Kevin on the phone and ask him, "How does he like us now?"

Dan Graziano
  (12:14 PM)

Well, I sat next to Kevin for the game, and I think his perspective was similar to the one the Jets' offensive coaches had in advance of the Christmas Eve game. He saw a very vulnerable-looking secondary and figured the Packers would pick it apart. But the Giants aren't the same team now that they were a month ago, and people who aren't watching them every week likely aren't seeing that.

Paul (Albany)

What are your thoughts on New England not beating any teams with a winning record this season?

Dan Graziano
  (12:14 PM)

I think New England is a fraud, and I think they're kidding themselves if they expect to win three postseason games with that defense. I believe Baltimore will beat them.

Michael (Elmhurst NY)

Let's all remember that the Giants D shut down SF until Boley went down. They also played the game without Bradshaw, and also Osi I believe. Tuck was also not at 100 percent.

Dan Graziano
  (12:15 PM)

I think Tuck might even have missed that game, right? Regardless, you're completely correct. Giants much healthier now than they were in Week 10, and they were in that game until a late INT.

Yatin (LA)

Seems to me the 9ers are gonna have trouble bouncing back from a clearly emotional win over New Orleans. Thoughts?

Dan Graziano
  (12:16 PM)

I don't know. Possible. Coaching comes into play there, along with the tone the veteran leaders set in the locker room. I know the Giants are strong in both of those areas. Don't know that about the Niners. Clearly, Jim Harbaugh is a fantastic coach, but this is his first time in a game this important.

Chris (Hoboken)

Go back and answer my Kolb question! I do not want to re-write it.

Dan Graziano
  (12:16 PM)

No.

DragonSoul (Ga-Jersey)

Last week I saw coaching as an x-factor. This week I see it being the QB play of both teams. If we assume both defenses show up. Alex won't be facing a NO defense, and Eli showed he can move it on SF. Your thoughts? Thanks

Dan Graziano
  (12:17 PM)

My thought is that Eli is obviously the better QB, since I think he's one of the five best in the league right now. But my other thought is that a lot of people have underestimated Alex Smith this year, and he's 14-3.

Mookman31 (DC)

Giants have done pretty well against some good TE's (Finley, Gonzalez, Witten, Keller) as of late, no?

Dan Graziano
  (12:18 PM)

And against some good WRs. And against some good RBs. And against some good QBs. And against some good defenses...

CJ (Albany NY)

Looking at the 2 playoff games,is Jake Ballard just nervous or is he not the catching TE people in NY thought he turned into

Dan Graziano
  (12:18 PM)

I think he's not 100 percent healthy.

Chris (Hoboken)

Not one Eagles question! No NJ local love. See ya around Mosely, I mean Graz...

Dan Graziano
  (12:19 PM)

Well, I can't write the questions. And whatever your Kolb question was, I don't see it. So you can submit it again or pout. Your call.

Chris (Philly)

You gave a prediction (Thank you Paul from Albany) You're slipping Dan!

Dan Graziano
  (12:19 PM)

I guess I did, on the AFC game. Just seems so obvious to me. I don't know why people are so into the Patriots.

ASN (NY)

Giants-Pats Super Bowl might have some good story lines about the Pats wanting revenge. But if they get there wouldn't Giants-Ravens have a Giants revenge story line built in? and we know that there is the Harbuagh0Bowl story-line option out there. Seems the only possible Super bowl matchup without the obvious story-line is SF-NE.

Dan Graziano
  (12:20 PM)

Theoretically, but no Giants left from the team that lost to the Ravens in the Super Bowl, right?

Joe (NY)

Are we forgetting SF was without Gore in week 10?? 49ers are a better team now too

Dan Graziano
  (12:20 PM)

We are not forgetting that. Gore had 0 yards on 6 carries and sat out the bulk of the game with an injury. Big factor for the Giants to consider, for sure, as they prepare.

Chris (Hoboken)

Summary: Rumors of Zona getting out of Kolb contract. Reunion with Philly?

Dan Graziano
  (12:21 PM)

Ah. Well, maybe, I guess. He knows the system, and they'll probably want a better backup than VY. Would require Kolb to really swallow his pride. My guess is he'd rather go somewhere else that would give him a chance to start. But I'd be surprised if he's not back in AZ anyway.

Kyle (DC)

Why do people think I want a QB (Peyton) who is used to calling his own plays, when clearly I like to be in control of the offense myself.

Dan Graziano
  (12:22 PM)

Do we know this about Kyle? Or are we basing it on what we've seen him do with McNabb/Grossman/Beck?

Matt (Philly)

I'm calling it. I'm thinking the Eagles use their first pick to trade down and select a QB with their first pick

Dan Graziano
  (12:22 PM)

Stranger things have happened, but I'd bet on defense or a WR.

Greg (Atlanta)

Do you not get all of the questions submitted?

Dan Graziano
  (12:22 PM)

I get them all, but they come in quickly and it's impossible to read each one. Yours, for example, is No. 183, and we're 22 minutes in.

Will (Head's in MA, Heart's in NJ)

Osi had a monster game in GB last Sunday. What on Earth do the Giants do in the off-season now?

Dan Graziano
  (12:23 PM)

Great question. My feeling is, you trade him while his value's high. He's still an injury risk, and if you don't extend him, you know he's going to make a scene in training camp. I'd deal him if he stays hot.

Mookman31 (DC)

IF the Giants win next week, and Eli is asked post-game about his teammates, he has to say "Dream Team", right?

Dan Graziano
  (12:24 PM)

While hilarious, that would be surprising.

Luigi (NYC)

Do you think the Giants will be more successfull with rushing 4 guys this week and back off the blitz packages? I mean Smith doesn't move around the pocket like Aaron and Osi could be a problem for them.

Dan Graziano
  (12:25 PM)

I think they're fine rushing four, but I actually wouldn't be surprised to see a bit MORE blitzing, since the 49ers' lack of explosive downfield options (relative to Dallas, Atlanta, GB) might allow them to take from there a little bit more in certain strategically advantageous spots.

Will (Head's in MA, Heart's in NJ)

In a related question, I felt like JPP was ineffective compared to Osi. Is it possible that Osi was successful becasue they were way more worried about JPP and didn't gameplan for him?

Dan Graziano
  (12:28 PM)

It is possible that Pierre-Paul is seeing more attention than he did earlier in the year. But Osi makes plays because Osi is a great playmaker, not because teams forget about him.

Chris (Giants Land, NJ)

Dan, I am very concerned about this game. What must the Giants do to win?

Dan Graziano
  (12:29 PM)

The key for me is avoiding turnovers. The 49ers' defense plays so fast, it forces teams into bad decisions. This is Manning's toughest test yet this year in terms of staying cool and making quick decisions that don't expose him to risk. They lost by 7 last time and he threw two picks. If he throws 2 or more this time, could be trouble.

Mike Shanahan (Florida (Senior Bowl))

DG, need your help re-recruiting Carlos. What'd ya think: I'm sorry about that crap last year. We love you, we need you. And D Hall is still one of the worst cover corners in the game. Come back to me!!

Dan Graziano
  (12:30 PM)

I believe that ship has sailed, Mike...

Mr. W (Dallas)

You said you bet the Eagles would go Defense or WR with that 1st pick. Do you think it makes more sense to go after a big receiver via free agency and go defense heavy on the draft?

Dan Graziano
  (12:31 PM)

Sure, but the thing to remember is that free agency will be determined by cost, and happens before the draft. If they go out hunting for a big WR and find them overpriced, maybe they address defense in free agency and then go WR in the draft. Nobody knows what these guys are going to cost yet.

Jason (Westfield)

What do you think the chances are the Giants can or will resign Terrell Thomas? I'd like to see him back with the team.

Dan Graziano
  (12:32 PM)

Jason, my guess is it depends on how healthy he is when it comes time to talk deal. They showed with Steve Smith that they're not going to bring a guy back if they're not sure. Heck, if Kiwanuka had been fully healthy last offseason, I doubt he'd be on the team right now. They're prudent with their spending, and if they can get Thomas at a discount because he missed this season, sure. But they'd have to know he's healthy first.

Alex (White Plains)

Any word on why Barden was inactive on Sunday? Is he expected in the lineup against the Niners?

Dan Graziano
  (12:34 PM)

He was inactive the week before, too, Alex. They don't have enough injured players to avoid putting some "healthy scratches" on the inactive list. Barden just doesn't make the cut when Manningham is healthy.

Brian (NY)

Do you think Baas can give the Giants' D any special insight into the SF offense?

Dan Graziano
  (12:34 PM)

Unlikely. He didn't play there under the current coaching staff.

Jason Pierre-Paul (East Rutherford, NJ)

If you watch the game film, you'll see I was getting double-teamed for most of the game. The rest of the time I was getting *triple-teamed*. Give me a pass on this one.

Dan Graziano
  (12:35 PM)

Right, kind of like I said. I'm sure teams are game-planning for JPP much more now than they were. The Giants will take that, though. Frees up the other guys.

Luigi (NYC)

If Eli wins another ring can you see a future bust in Canton with hs baby face on it? a the end of his career he will have all the numbers to support it and he still hasn't missed a start in his career.

Dan Graziano
  (12:36 PM)

Yes. You can make the case that two more wins here in these next three weeks would set him on that track.

st8prop (Atlanta, GA)

Do you think Hakeem Nicks referring to himself recently as an elite receiver is going as far out as what Eli said earlier this season?

Dan Graziano
  (12:36 PM)

No, I think Nicks is fantastic.

CJ (Albany NY)

Did Brandon Jacobs trade value go up at all after these past few weeks

Dan Graziano
  (12:37 PM)

I have to believe it's higher than it was in October, yes.

Laron Landry (DC, for now)

Any idea what my free agency market is? Because I have no idea.

Dan Graziano
  (12:37 PM)

No one does. Do you need the surgery or not? If not, can you prove to a team you're healthy enough to play? Your record the past two years would make anyone skeptical. No one doubts your ability -- just your ability to get on the field.

Person (DC)

3 is what you need if the stats aren't there. the case study is Plunkett (2, out) and Aikman (3, in)

Dan Graziano
  (12:38 PM)

Right, and that's tricky. Eli's stats will look great compared to QBs who are already in, but less great compared with the greats of his own pass-happy era. So how will today's QBs and their stats be judged, is one of the questions.

Tom (nyc)

Thoughts on the officiating this past weekend? Who has the NFC game this coming weekend?

Dan Graziano
  (12:39 PM)

My thoughts on the officiating are always that people talk and worry about it too much.

Brian (nj)

there's been talk of Eli being the best NY Giants QB ever. If he gets another ring this year, would you agree?

Dan Graziano
  (12:40 PM)

It's him or Simms, and like I said a couple of posts up, it's tough to compare because the stats are being compiled in a different time. But in the end, history judges QBs on championships, and Eli would have more. The other thing he has over Simms is durability. Simms had trouble staying healthy. Eli never misses a snap.

st8prop (Atlanta, GA)

I don't think I have ever seen a Giants team under Coughlin so openly supportive of him. It seems like anytime there is an interview with Osi, Tuck, Jacobs, they laud Coughlin and his leadership. On the sidelines players are going up to him and hugging him. In the locker room they are rallying around him and lifting him up.Is it me, or is this new, and a bit strange?

Dan Graziano
  (12:41 PM)

I don't think it's new, but the more success you have with people, the closer you'll get with them. I think you're seeing the manifestation of that, as well as the results of the upbeat, supportive approach he's chosen to take with this team. I think Coughlin set an us-against-the-world tone in training camp, at the time that all of the injuries were happening and all of the outside doubt was setting in, and it seems to have been the perfect tone to strike with this group.

Tom (drinking coffee 'cause this chat is boring)

No matter who wins the Super Bowl this year, Tom Brady is still the best QB in the post season.

Dan Graziano
  (12:43 PM)

I think that's fair. He's playing at a very high level. I'm not sure even Eli would fight you on that one, though I believe he'd like his chances to win the head-to-head matchup.

Larry (NH)

Could it be that people are "into" the Patriots because they are the #1 seed and playing at home with an unstoppable offense? Are you always this dumb?

Dan Graziano
  (12:45 PM)

I can be pretty dumb. Not sure about "always." I also could be way wrong on the Patriots. But that defense stinks on ice. I think they look like the Packers, except not as good.

Jon T (Gallaudet (DC))

any tips for an undergraduate student in his final semester of college?

Dan Graziano
  (12:45 PM)

Yeah. Enjoy every second. You can sleep when it's over.

Justin Tuck (NJ)

Am I hurting my career by playing a majority of standup rush end and defensive tackle on passing downs?

Dan Graziano
  (12:46 PM)

My impression from talking to you, Justin, is that you're enjoying you're a team-first guy who's enjoying his career and not overly worried about such things.

Ben (Somewhere Dark)

If the rematch were to happen in the SB (Giants vs. Patriots) and the Giants win. How much does beating Tom Brady three out of four times weigh on Eli's legacy?

Dan Graziano
  (12:46 PM)

Again, getting WAY ahead of ourselves here. But yeah, if all of that happened, that's defining stuff for Eli. Even at family gatherings, I'd imagine.

Elvis (Witness Protection Program, Sorry)

If you are the NYG Brass, do you extend Coughlin another 3-4 years, regardless of what happens from here on out? I say yes.

Dan Graziano
  (12:47 PM)

I agree, King.

Giselle (NE)

I think I'm kinda overrated - I mean Tom is the breadwinner here, and I'm just supermodel hot. A bit MILFY, but you definitely wouldn't trust me to cook or clean anything.

Dan Graziano
  (12:48 PM)

I guess I'd trust you to hire the right people to do that stuff.

Andy Reid (Flip-a-delphia)

If my OC leaves and I start calling the plays full time, do you think it is worth having any RBs on the roster?

Dan Graziano
  (12:48 PM)

LOL. There are a number of teams that would take McCoy off your hands if you don't want to use him!

Tom Coughlin (New York)

Dan, should I retire if I win the big one?

Dan Graziano
  (12:49 PM)

No sir. I'd go ahead and cash this in for a big new deal, if I were in that spot.

Justin (Richmond)

Dan, who do the 'Skins get rid of to make room for our #1 WR? We gave up a draft pick for Gaffney, and he had a career year, Moss is the face of our franchise, and Hankerson is still developing. Thoughts?

Dan Graziano
  (12:50 PM)

Definitely not Hankerson. They'd get rid of Gaffney or Moss if they had to make room. My guess is Gaffney, since Moss is, like you say, part of the furniture there.

Bill (PA)

I know you gave me a sarcastic answer of "the other team plays defense" when asked about the Giants going three and out at the worst possible times. But, the Giants D gets the huge strip sack on Rodgers and the offense goes three and out. It seems like they do that in every big momentum switch. Anything at all to it?

Dan Graziano
  (12:51 PM)

Bill, I don't want to diminish the value of your perspective on an issue like this, but I really think that's all it is. The Giants were fantastic on third down Sunday, and I think you're citing one or two examples to prove too large a point.

Bosco Prep (Ramsey)

Hailing from north/central NJ, what do you make of Bosco creaming everyone for the HS national title?

Dan Graziano
  (12:52 PM)

You know, they beat Ridgewood 35-0 and all of the stories were about how tough Ridgewood played them. That's when you know you're great. When 35-0 is a close win.

Al (Wausau, WI)

Dan, will you be sitting next to Mike Sando at the NFC Championship game on Sunday?

Dan Graziano
  (12:52 PM)

Not sure. Haven't seen the Candlestick press box seating chart yet. We'll both be there, though.

Jeremy (Roanoke)

Hall, Wilson, Landry , and Atogwe. who is back and who is gone?

Dan Graziano
  (12:53 PM)

My guess is all but Landry are back.

Tom Coughlin (New York)

Tell Bill (PA), that we scored a TD after Blackburn recovered Grant's fumble.

Dan Graziano
  (12:53 PM)

OK

William (Queens)

Who do you think is the better WR from the draft - Nicks or Crabtree?

Dan Graziano
  (12:53 PM)

I mean, come on.

Mike (Dunellen, NJ)

Have you been to the superbowl before? Would you go if the Giants aren't there?

Dan Graziano
  (12:53 PM)

I have been to three Super Bowls. To the second part of your question, that is TBD.

Steve Spags (Relaxing for now.....)

Dan I need some help. If I accept the Eagles DC job, can I trash the wide-9 so I can blitz my own way, or do I have to deal with that?

Dan Graziano
  (12:54 PM)

I'd ask Andy that question, since it's likely to determine whether you take the job or not.

Mark (NYC)

Is it ok if I tell people we're friends?

Dan Graziano
  (12:54 PM)

Sure. Just don't ever call me or come to my house or say hi if you see me in public. But otherwise, sure.

Person (DC)

"basically"? they literally did end 3 seasons, only "basically" did they end the Jets' year

Dan Graziano
  (12:55 PM)

Right. Jets are only reason I had to hedge there. You have to understand, people correct every single detail of everything I write. But wait. I guess you do understand, don't you?

Steve Spags (Still Relaxing......)

Well, will Washburn go to the Rams? That way it doesn't really matter about the wide-9.

Dan Graziano
  (12:56 PM)

Again, Steve, asking the wrong guy these questions. Surely, you have Andy's number?

Danny Ware (At home reflecting)

I still think I got that first down and the refs hosed me on the spot. Don't you think that also?

Dan Graziano
  (12:56 PM)

I just can't figure out why, two days after a 17-point win over the defending Super Bowl champs in a playoff game, anyone would still care.

Loudoun County (VA)

It doesn't really make sense for the Skins to practice here - 1.5 hours from FedEx. Who wins, MD or us?

Dan Graziano
  (12:57 PM)

Whoever comes with the most cash.

Jared (Philly)

What should the Eagles do with Desean Jackson?

Dan Graziano
  (12:58 PM)

I think I'd move on.

Curtis Lee (VB, VA)

Do you read anything into McCardell not coming back as the skins wr coach? Does Shanahan think coaching and not talent is the problem?

Dan Graziano
  (12:59 PM)

No, I don't think he thinks that. Just part of the constant, ongoing evaluation process. You make changes when/where you think you need to. And this is the time of year to make coaching changes. The time for making player changes is still months away.

M (DC)

I can see you "New England is a fraud" statement on the Patriot's prematch bulletin board. But seriously, despite their defensive struggles, is it so far fetched for Tom Brady to win two games?

Dan Graziano
  (12:59 PM)

Again, with this defense, I consider it farfetched to think he wins three.

The Pineapple (Grocery store near Dan's house)

Dear Dan,Please bring me back. I am lonely.Sincerely,The Pineapple

Dan Graziano
  (1:00 PM)

Oh, you were a tasty one.

Adam (D.C.)

So how exactly do pineapples type?

Dan Graziano
  (1:00 PM)

Like the wind.

The Pineapple (Grocery store near Dan's house)

Seriously, you replaced me with a stinkin' grapefruit? What are you, 80 years old with a walker in a retirement home?

Dan Graziano
  (1:01 PM)

Really? You guys don't eat grapefruit? I won't go a day without it. Crap, guess I am old.

Dan Graziano
  (1:01 PM)

Okay folks. All of the questions I currently see are about fruit. I think that means it's time to go. See you next week.