In an aspect of this Sunday's upcoming bout with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that has gone generally undiscussed, the New York Giants will square off against several former coaches and players that may possess an in depth knowledge of Big Blue's schemes and personnel.
Among them are Bucs offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan and defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan. Having two high level coaches with significant experience within the Giants coaching staff on the opposing sideline could present an issue for Tom Coughlin and Co.
While Bill Sheridan's time as the Giants defensive coordinator was a complete train wreck, Mike Sullivan's tenure as Eli Manning's quarterback coach resulted in his two best seasons to date. In both years that Manning had Sullivan in his back pocket, the Giants franchise quarterback threw for over 4,000 yards.
While natural maturation may have had something to do with Eli's progression, there is a clear correspondence between his success and the implementation of Mike Sullivan as quarterback coach. Today, Justin Tuck talked about how the Giants are preparing to face their former coach.
"I know Sully’s going to have some tricks to kind of keep us off rhythm, give us some looks that we see from our offense every day and do something different with it," says Justin Tuck. "We know he’s going to throw some wrinkles in the game. The thing we have to do against a team like this where you feel like you know what they’re going to do, is you have to play your keys because he’s going to throw some things that’s going to look exactly like something we did on our team but is a completely different reality. So just play our keys and we’ll be fine."
However, Sullivan is not the only guy the Giants have to worry about keying on their plays. As you may recall, the Giants cut veteran running back DJ Ware less than two weeks ago, and Ware was quickly snatched up by Tampa Bay. In fact, it's more than likely that Ware has a better knowledge of the Giants offense then he does of his own team. Ware will know every signal, audible, and formation that the team had in the playbook at the end of the preseason.
On a lesser note, former Giants offensive tackle Jamon Meredith is also on the Bucs. Meredith played the majority of the 2010 season in New York. While he will not be as knowledgeable as DJ Ware is of the Giants offense, he could provide some insight into Big Blue's blocking schemes.
The Giants will surely have a few tricks up their sleeve in order to throw off their former comrades. While it certainly puts the team at a disadvantage to have so many people on the other side of the ball with an in depth understanding of the team's offense, this is almost a weekly occurrence in the NFL. With the non-stop coaching carousel that spins each offseason, it's inevitable that team's are going to be forced to play against former coaches. The Giants have dealt with situations like this before, and they are smart enough to figure ways around this issue.
Photo Credit: Mike Gannon
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