Giants should be taken seriously

Updated: October 11, 2004, 3:35 PM ET
By Randy Mueller | ESPN Insider
Each week, former NFL general manager Randy Mueller will answer questions from Insiders. To send in a question, click here.

Randy,
I was wondering if you agree with some of your ESPN partners that the Giants have the worst offensive line in the league.
Kyle Vibbard,
Sidney, N.Y.

Kyle,
I think most experts are changing their minds on all aspects of the Giants -- specifically about their O-line. I think their interior guys are run blocking as well as any three guys in the league right now. Tiki Barber and those guys are meshing quite well and Tiki knows exactly where to run.

Shaun O'Hara
O'Hara
Chris Snee still struggles at times when pass blocking but he's improving. Shaun O'Hara has been a pleasant surprise to everybody and is playing with a nasty streak that most O-linemen strive for. You'd better not be standing around a pile downfield if you're a defending when playing the Giants. You'll get your head knocked off if you do.

Watching the Giants click on offense right now might be as fun as watching any group in the league at this point. The reports of them having the worst might have been slightly exaggerated.


Randy,
How much do offensive and defensive coordinators adjust their game plans at halftime? Also, game plans are drawn up according to strengths and weaknesses on both sides of the ball. Why does it seem like many teams don't take advantage of their mismatches?
Thomas,
Los Angeles

Thomas,
You've brought up some interesting questions that are relevant to football at all levels, but I'll try to answer them from an NFL perspective. Coordinators and other assistant coaches make mid-game adjustments very frequently. If they waited until halftime, it might be to late. They adjust on the fly between possessions -- each possession is too important to wait until the half to adjust.

Remember, halftime in the NFL is only 12 minutes, so by the time you run on and off the field your break is under 10 minutes and in some stadiums less than that. Add to that getting a drink and maybe making another pit stop or two in the locker room and the half is over. That doesn't give you a lot of time to sit down and hash over adjustments.

Your point about taking advantage of mismatches is very valid. I think at times coaches spend to much time fiddling with their own system and how their own players can play within it instead of taking advantage of mismatches and the "human nature" of a football player. However, defensive players' level of aggressiveness does enter into some game plans as to how an offensive might want to attack a defense.

For example, you may want to run a bootleg to a certain defensive end because he crashes down sooner than the end on the other side, or run screens and draws into a certain defender who tends to pin his ears back, etc. Don't forget, these coaches do this stuff every day and want to win more than any of us, so they don't leave many stones unturned when it comes to game planning.