Jul 31, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals Offensive Coordinator Hue Jackson during training camp at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
A big thanks to Chris Schisler of GMen HQ for taking the time to answer a few questions on this weeks joint practice and the first preseason game of 2015.
Stripe Hype: How do you think this weeks joint practice will help the Bengals and Giants for the rest of the preseason and into the regular season?
Chris Schisler: I think it’s always good to hit somebody who isn’t a teammate. It’s hard to evaluate how good your team is when it has just been scrimmaging itself. The joint practice surely doesn’t hurt. It is also an opportunity to evaluate the other team’s young prospects. Maybe an Akeem Hunt or a Cole Farrand doesn’t make the Giants roster but ends up on the Bengals. For the young players fighting for a spot, this is huge.
SH: Who has been the surprise from the Giants camp so far?
CS: The Giants are really excited about Landon Collins. It isn’t a surprise that a pegged starter is looking so good but it is surprising how sharp he looks early.
But the biggest surprise is Jerome Cunningham. The young tight end is still looking for a chance with an NFL team. He has talent. He blocks, he catches and he runs good routes. He isn’t going to take Donnell’s job but while he’s banged up, Cunningham has a shot to shine.
SH: Eli Manning seemed to have a bounce back year after his struggles in 2013 with turnovers. Can he continue to make an improvements and take the Giants back to the playoffs?
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CS: Yes sir, absolutely. The Giants new offense fits Eli Manning like a glove. He is the perfect quarterback for the west coast attack. The timing and the structure of the offense keeps Manning out of trouble. The strategic nickel and diming sets up the deep bomb rather than forcing it into cover 3 all the time. Manning can absolutely continue to grow in this offense. He’s always been good but the best may be yet to come.
As for the playoffs, slow down a bit. Manning is the key ingredient to a playoff run but isn’t the whole recipe. The defense has to play much better than last season and the offensive line must be at least adequate. Remember Manning put on a clinic last season and the Giants went 6-10.
SH: First preseason game for both teams, how important is it to set the tone early and get off on the right foot?
CS: It’s important to get off to a strong start just to build some confidence. You want your starters to be able to get some quick work in. You want your back ups to get some game time so the coaches can coach them up a bit. The players who accept the coaching and who strive to work towards the coaching staff’s goal will make the team.
SH: We aren’t expected to see much of the starters, how important is this for the 2nd and 3rd lines to show what each teams depth looks like?
CS: You’re not really looking at the team depth as much but you’re looking at who can make the team. I feel like the second and third string guys are all but determined at this point whether they like to admit it or not. What I’m looking for is what bubble players that are on thin ice perform at a high-level.
Sure there are some position battles that make the preseason interesting for example the Giants for safety position could be anybody at this point. I don’t know if we really can determine if the team has great depth though if the backups play well against backups. Having great depth basically means that my backup right guard and come in and play game and he’ll get an adequate job done.
SH: Although it is preseason, there is still scoring and a final result, who wins and do you think we learn from preseason game one.
CS: I think we get a good insights into what the Giants plan to do with the free safety position. I think we get a good insight into what they’re thinking for the offensive line. Because I write for a Giants site, I’ll say the Giants win. But in the preseason anything can happen and that’s half the fun.