The Giants might be sliding again, but Ed Valentine is still in there punching. Here are his answers in our weekly Q&A swap. Don't forget to swing over to Big Blue View to get my answers to the same questions.
1. Tom Coughlin said he will not fire defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan despite his obvious flaws. Is Coughlin showing too much loyalty to an underachieving coach?
"I don't think so. Even though more than 80% of readers I polled at Big Blue View wish Sheridan was already gone, I think it is a pretty pointless move to make mid-stream, or late-stream if you want to call it that. Sheridan will be gone if this continues -- and he might be a dead man walking already considering how far this defense has fallen. But, I think TC is right to stick with him now. Largely, it's players not doing their jobs. Look at the touchdown to DeSean Jackson last week. Michael Johnson knows its two-deep coverage, and he is the second deep guy. He knows Jackson is going long. So, where the heck is he? Covering the tight end short, that's where. Is that Sheridan's fault that Johnson can't seem to do his job? Is it his fault that the only defensive tackle he has who has done a thing all season is Barry Cofield. Or that his corners, who are supposed to specialize in press coverage, can't seem to get a glove on anybody. Or that his vaunted pass-rushing defensive ends are mostly invisible. Or that, outside of Michael Boley, the linebacking has been mostly non-existent? On paper, this defense has -- or had -- lots of nice names. But, you know, paper never was good for much."
2. With playoff hopes hinging on how the Cowboys fare over the next three games, do you think the Giants will continue to play hard?
"Yes, I do. I questioned how hard they played in Denver on Thanksgiving night, but not the last two weeks. There are crazies out there calling for Coughlin's dismissal, but that is nonsense. This team still plays for him. They got a great win in Dallas. And Sunday night against Philly they played with a lot of heart, they just did not play well on defense or special teams. It had nothing to do with effort, it had to do with execution. And a couple of really inexplicable, unfortunate turnovers."
3. Would you elevate Ramses Barden from the inactive list, even if Coughlin only uses him in Red Zone situations?
"Nah. At this point I think the Barden stuff is irrelevant. If the Giants were to lose to Washington and basically be out of the picture, sure. Get the kid some experience. But, at this point, no. The Giants seem to be getting a handle on the Red Zone stuff, I think. They are using Kevin Boss more. They seem to be running the ball a bit better w/some different alignments. I would like to see them throwing the ball to Hakeem Nicks on those corner routes instead of Steve Smith or Mario 'Where is the Field Again?' Manningham, but that's about it. Oh, and every week I hear talk about designing some plays for Travis Beckum. Like that will ever happen. At least not until 2010."
4. Should Hakeem Nicks continue to start in place of Mario Manningham?
"Umm, is that even a question? Undoubtedly. I don't know what was going on with Nicks and the back-to-back balls he dropped Sunday, but the kid is going to be big-time. More and more, he is justifying those comparisons to Anquan Boldin. Big, strong, great ability to make yardage after the catch. On a couple of his catches Sunday you saw the one thing he has that Manningham and Steve Smith don't. The pure physical ability to go up, use his body and take a ball away from a defender. Manningham can be spectacular, and I hope he is a Giant for a long time, but he needs to learn what the white lines on the sides of the field mean. Over and over the guy runs himself out of bounds without help from the corner back."
The floor is yours, people.