* EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ*
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I feel that the Giants are being overshadowed by the eagles this offseason. Many people have them as a sure fire pick to win the division and go to the Super Bowl this year. I have Four questions. I think that the Eagles are going to be one of this year's big disappointments. They lost John Runyan and brought in Jason Peters who gave up a lot of sacks last year, Westbrook is reported to be injured, they lost Brian Dawkins on their defense, and they still lack a true number one wide receiver. Do you agree with this? With all the hype going to the Eagles do you think this could help put a chip on the Giants like the Cowboy hype did in 07? Do you think that the loss of Burress is being overhyped and that it could be more of an addition by subtraction like with what happened with Shockey? I think our current starting wide recievers Hixon and Smith are being severely underrated do you agree?
I'm not going to make specific comments about another organization or team other than to say the Eagles were a very good team last year and I would expect they will be again in 2009. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being overshadowed in June. If you go back and look at predictions prior to the 2007 season, I guarantee you won't find one that had the Giants winning Super Bowl XLII. Those things are for fans and writers. Players and coaches pay little or no attention to them. So I don't think the Giants are getting all lathered up because some folks in the media who may or may not know anything about football are picking another team to win the NFC East. If they have a chip on their collective shoulder it's because of the disappointment they felt in losing their first postseason game. I do think our starting wide receivers are going to be very good and will help offset the loss of players who are no longer here.
Hi Mike, Not that I'm too concerned but, we as readers have been hearing a lot about the progression of the WR corps (Barden, Nicks, Moss, and Manningham). How are Hixon and Smith fairing in practices as it seems right now that they are scheduled to be our number one and two receivers? Also have you seen either of the two show unique leadership qualities and lending knowledge to the rookie WR's? Finally what contributions do you see players like Biddle, Rucker, Tyree, Hagan, and Bodiford have this season?
Jeez, you sound pretty concerned to me. Hixon and Smith are on track to be the starting receivers and both played well throughout the spring drills and the minicamp. Both of them are solid, reliable and improving receivers and I think they will have productive seasons. I'm not sure what you mean by unique leadership qualities, but like all the young veterans they have helped the other receivers. As for the other receivers, most of them won't be here this season. But Derek Hagan will compete for a job, Bodiford had some good moments and Tyree remains a formidable presence.
It seemed to me that Antonio Pierce's play fell off somewhat last season, especially towards the end after the Plaxico affair. Do you think Antonio's skills are beginning to deteriorate, was he just worn out at the end of the year or did the Burress incident and his involvement effect his mind set. Do you think Pierce will have a real fight to hold a roster spot this year with the addition of Sintim and Boley. Plus let's not forget that with the glut of good defensive lineman on the squad the Giants have the luxury of leaving Kiwanuka to man one of the outside LB spots.
Frankly, I disagree with your premise. I think Pierce played well virtually the entire season. Everyone points to two plays – when Pierce was chasing Brian Westbrook – and cite them as evidence that his play declined. But those plays were exceptions, not the norm, and one of them wasn't his fault. Pierce had 113 tackles last season. That's 37 more tackles than anyone else on the team had. He was a first alternate to the Pro Bowl. Pierce is solidly entrenched as the middle linebacker. To suggest he would have to fight for a roster spot is way off base. Sintim and Boley are outside linebackers and do not affect Pierce's status in the least.