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New York Giants Defense Thankful to Be Playing New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees on Sunday

December 6th, 2012 at 2:35 PM
By Paul Tierney

The New York Giants have always had trouble defending mobile quarterbacks. Whether it be Donovan McNabb, Michael Vick, Vince Young, Robert Griffin III or even Aaron Rodgers, the Giants have had some embarrassing losses to teams with athletic quarterbacks. Last Monday, RGIII and the Washington Redskins torched Big Blue for 207 rushing yards. The Giants were unable to find the football against the triple option and it resulted in a 17-16 loss. However, several members of the Giants defense are excited to play against a quarterback this weekend that won't be the fastest player on the field.

'Drew Brees' photo (c) 2007, Ed Schipul - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is obviously an incredible talent. His ability to get the ball out of his hands quickly in the pocket can neutralize a pass rush and put pressure on the secondary to stop his bevy of weapons at tight end and wide receiver. However, defensive end Jason-Pierre Paul said he would much rather face the Super Bowl XLIV MVP then the 'Skins' rookie phenom.

“We already know what he’s capable of, and his targets and stuff, so we’ll go out there and play some great football,” Pierre-Paul said of Brees. “And we ain’t gotta worry about the option.” 

Brees may be capable of more than the Giants are bargaining for this weekend. Despite the Saints' 5-7 record, Brees has thrown for 3,674 yards and 31 touchdowns through 11 games. By comparison, Eli Manning has thrown for 3,170 yards this season and 16 touchdowns. The difference in these statistics are likely due to the fact that the Saints have one of the league's worst rushing attacks, while the Giants are willing to hand the ball off to Ahmad Bradshaw over 20 times per game. Bress has attempted 65 more passes than Manning this season.

Needless to say, it's going to take a stellar defensive effort from Big Blue to contain the Saints offense on Sunday. New Orleans is all but eliminated from playoff competition, but this is still a dangerous football team. If the Giants don't find a way to force multiple turnovers, this could turn into a long day for them. This unit has not played to their potential this season and it's imperative that they find a way to return to form if they want to mak the playoffs. Perhaps, Antrel Rolle said it best when he addressed what was missing from this year's defensive squad.

“This is football. We are not building computers. We are not businessmen,” Rolle said. “We are out there to play a very physical sport, to play ball. And having that dog mentality and having a nasty attitude to go along with, while you are out there on the field, I think it suits us right.”

The Giants have their backs against the wall on Sunday. A loss could strip the team of control of their own destiny. We've saw the 2007 and 2011 teams respond in this situation, and we're about for find out if this year's squad has the talent, mental fortitude and motivation to play their best when it counts the most.

Also…

Tags: Aaron Rodgers, Ahmad Bradshaw, Antrel Rolle, Donovan McNabb, Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Football, New Orleans Saints, New Orleans, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Robert Griffin III, Vince Young, Washington

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19 Responses to “New York Giants Defense Thankful to Be Playing New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees on Sunday”

  1.  JimStoll says:

    can’t imagine this defense “wanting” to play the saints
    they’ve lit us up every time they’ve played us since ’06
    cold rain and wind is what we need but I think we are getting warm and wet

    •  GOAT56 says:

      It’s much more about wanted to play a regular offense. What washington does makes our DEs have to play much differently than other games due to the option.

  2.  GOAT56 says:

    F55 I think you are putting too much stock in Nicks and KP playing in this game. But that’s only because even if they play it’s clear they are far from 100% and at their health the replacements aren’t that much of a step down as would normally be the case. Nicks is probably more important because at least the defense has to respect his presence. If KP is moving like last game we are better off with Brown and Hill anyways.

    It does make winning this game harder. Eli is going to need to play very well and our rookies are going to need to provide a spark.

    •  fanfor55years says:

      If Nicks were out there at even 85% the defense has to occasionally roll his way (they wouldn’t double him given his condition), and that can open up space for Cruz, Bennett and whomever is the #3 wide receiver. Without him out there they’ll double Cruz most of the time and handle everyone else one-on-one. Will Randle or Hixon or Jernigan prove he can beat the corners and use their bodies to ward off the safeties? Randle has the body to do it but he seems so out of it it’s painful. Hixon is savvy and may be our best hope (I think he has to have a very good game or we’re in trouble). Jernigan can beat any of their secondary members, but he’s small and may not be able to handle the physicality on contested throws.

      As for KP, just his presence makes teams hesitant to go deep, something the Saints really like to do. Assuming that Fewell will want plenty of three-safety sets and that Rolle will be playing as he has the past three weeks, that means that one of Brown or Hill is the deep safety. Does that make you feel all warm-and-fuzzy? Not me. I think Hill is going to be tremendous….next year. He’s awfully inexperienced to handle the complex route combinations that the Saints will use to allow their bigger receivers to get over the top of the corners. I sure hope he can do it, but I cannot bet on that. And Brown? yeah, more experienced and he played well at times earlier in the season, but he also got suckered at least three times on deep routes that went right past him, twice for touchdowns and once harmlessly when the QB didn’t have time to see a wide-open receiver.

      It isn’t just that players have to step up. In the absence of Nicks and KP the players on the field have to play a near-perfect game to win. No mental errors. No missed tackles. No bad reads. No turnovers. No miscommunication. Could they do it? Sure. But with a few exceptions this season they have NOT done that. Can they now just flick the switch into “Now It Counts” mode? I hope so, but I’m not betting on it. There’s always Eli’s potential for ridiculous heroics, but he has to have someone to whom he can throw the ball while counting on him to have chosen the right route based on Eli’s read.

      I will be at the game, hopeful and cheering. But I will be having visions of how sloppy they were on Monday and just hoping they are over that. They HAVE to be.

      •  GOAT56 says:

        No doubt the replacements have to play well but I think it’s to the near perfect level. I just don’t think KP if he’s out there looking like last week will scare NO. They are the type of team to try him and physically I’m not sure he can hold up. If he can move better than last week than he could help but if he can’t I don’t think he’s much of a help. Brown and Hill don’t provide the consistency KP privides but they are no bums and can make plays. Both are you so they should improve with more playing time.

        Nicks is a fair point. He’s shown enough flashes that teams still at least have to put their #1 guy on him even if singled up.

        NO is dangerous but we did win games without Nicks and KP. we are not as good without them and have less room for error but we still put a good football team on the field.

  3.  JimStoll says:

    I think the giants have to come out scoring 7 on the opening drive and then 2 more times in the first half to have a shot
    unlike GB, the Saints o-line won’t let us maul Brees so he will have time to find his guys and they will score
    we’re likely to get a turnover or 3 and that will be the difference if we’ve otherwise scored and stayed even
    but if we settle for 3′s or worse early, the saints will likely roll us

  4.  GOAT56 says:

    Team Overall Grade Pass Rank Grade Run Rank Grade Penalty Rank Grade
    SF 1 90.3 12 14.3 1 76.4 19 -0.4
    NE 2 56.7 18 1.1 2 42.4 2 13.2
    NO 3 53.6 9 19.9 5 26.3 5 7.4
    CIN 4 53.1 2 45.6 16 4.1 11 3.4
    NYJ 5 51.8 4 26.2 10 14.6 3 11
    DEN 6 49.2 1 53.6 22 -2.1 24 -2.3
    KC 7 41.4 8 22 9 16 10 3.4
    DET 8 39.8 7 25 11 12 13 2.8
    MIN 9 38.3 14 8.8 7 21.9 4 7.6
    CLE 10 33.8 3 27.5 14 6.5 18 -0.2
    TEN 11 32.8 5 25.4 13 7.9 20 -0.5
    HOU 12 31.2 13 14.3 12 11.7 6 5.2
    BUF 13 25.8 6 25.4 19 2.7 23 -2.3
    BAL 14 23.3 20 0.3 6 23.9 21 -0.9
    NYG 15 23.1 23 -5.9 4 27.8 16 1.2
    ATL 16 19 19 0.6 15 4.8 1 13.6
    PHI 17 18.2 25 -8.1 3 30.6 27 -4.3
    PIT 18 12.5 10 19.5 25 -5.1 22 -1.9
    WAS 19 12.4 16 5.2 17 3.9 12 3.3
    GB 20 0.7 11 14.9 29 -11.9 25 -2.3
    MIA 21 0.2 15 6.5 24 -2.7 26 -3.6
    TB 22 -0.8 17 1.5 20 2.5 28 -4.8
    DAL 23 -10.5 28 -18.1 8 17.8 31 -10.2
    SEA 24 -11 21 -2 21 1.4 32 -10.4
    OAK 25 -11.7 22 -4.5 26 -7.3 17 0.1
    STL 26 -13.8 24 -6.7 23 -2.3 29 -4.8
    SD 27 -22.8 31 -31.4 18 3.4 7 5.2
    IND 28 -29.7 30 -24 27 -9.5 8 3.8
    CAR 29 -30 26 -13.6 31 -17.9 15 1.5
    JAC 30 -30.9 27 -17.8 30 -15.1 14 2
    CHI 31 -40.2 29 -20.2 28 -10 30 -10
    ARI 32 -76.5 32 -51.1 32 -28.9 9 3.5

    http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/8720548/nfl-ranking-best-worst-offensive-lines

  5.  GOAT56 says:

    Struggles exposing holes for the Giants

    Following Monday night’s loss to the Washington Redskins, the New York Giants have dropped three of their past four games. Those kinds of struggles are not unusual for the Giants, though.

    They endured a four-game losing streak in 2011 before going on a Super Bowl run, lost three of their last four games in 2009, and four of five (including a playoff loss) in 2008.

    New York has often been able to overcome that inconsistency in the past and play its best when it matters most, but the Giants can’t continue to walk that tightrope as the Redskins get stronger behind Robert Griffin III and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones continues to look for ways to bring a Super Bowl title to Dallas.

    How might the 2013 draft help address some of the Giants’ issues? Here’s a look at New York’s biggest needs at this point and the prospects who might fill those holes.

    Strongside linebacker/defensive end
    This might not be the Giants’ biggest need, but it’s at the top of this list because how they handle it could determine their course of action for the rest of the draft.

    Mathias Kiwanuka lines up at strongside linebacker at times, but he has problems matching up with opposing tight ends and is clearly a better fit at the defensive end spot he occupies in the Giants’ pass-rush packages. Keith Rivers fills that spot as well, but he has durability concerns and is a better fit on the weak side.

    Ezekiel Ansah has the tools to add to the Giants’ stable of quality pass-rushers.
    And with DE Osi Umenyiora in the final year of his contract, there could be a need at end if the sometimes-strained relationship between Umenyiora and the team doesn’t improve. And because there is no early-round value in the strongside linebacker class, the Giants might be better served to further strengthen their defensive end situation late in the first round.

    Florida State’s Cornellius Carradine and BYU’s Ezekiel Ansah are two prospects to keep an eye on. Carradine recently suffered a torn ACL that is a concern, while Ansah is a very raw but incredibly athletic prospect. However, Carradine was cementing a first-round grade before the injury, and Ansah has the physical tools to become a difference-maker at the next level.

    The concerns are there, but if Carradine or Ansah reaches his potential, he would bring great value later in the first round.

    That would then allow New York to look for strongside linebacker help in the third-round area, where someone like Khaseem Greene of Rutgers or Chase Thomas of Stanford could be a good fit.

    Right tackle
    This is clearly the Giants’ most pressing need. Left tackle Will Beatty seems to be developing well, as many other linemen have under the current coaching staff, but things are far less certain on the other side.

    Sean Locklear suffered what appeared to be a serious knee injury against the Redskins, David Diehl has been unable to stay healthy recently, and 2012 fourth-round pick Brandon Mosley suffered a season-ending ankle injury earlier in the year.

    New York could opt for a tackle like Michigan’s Taylor Lewan — a tenacious run blocker with good feet who could compete for a starting spot right away — later in the first round, but getting an edge rusher is probably a bigger priority there.

    That would make Wisconsin’s Ricky Wagner an option in the second round. Wagner hasn’t been as steady as Lewan this season, but he has all the tools to become a solid starter in the NFL. He’s been slowed a bit by a knee injury, but if Wagner can return to the level of play seen on his 2011 tape, he’s a good value.

    Cornerback
    Terrell Thomas is coming off consecutive season-ending knee injuries, Corey Webster is 30 years old and has been caught out of position in coverage at times this season, and 2012 third-round pick Jayron Hosley is a better fit playing over the slot than on the perimeter. Additionally, 2011 first-round pick Prince Amukamara is yet another Giant with an injury history.

    New York seems to value size at corner — both Amukamara and Webster are 6 feet –– and needs more big plays from its cornerbacks, which could create interest in a pair of prospects.

    Washington’s Desmond Trufant and Iowa’s Micah Hyde are both just a shade under 6 feet, but they are physical enough to hold up in the Giants’ scheme and have the above-average ball skills to develop into playmakers. Trufant grades in the late second round, while Hyde carries a midround grade.

    Interior run defense
    When facing a quarterback like Griffin — who can burn defenses with his legs and his arm — twice a season, an extra burden is placed on a defense to rush the passer with just its front four and stop the run with just the front seven.

    Needing to bring a safety down to help in run support would leave the Giants vulnerable to Griffin’s solid play-action game, while bringing blitzers against the pass increases the chances that Griffin and his exceptional speed will find open space if he is able to elude the rush.

    New York’s bevy of defensive ends and the way they are employed take care of the front-four pass rush, but New York would be wise to shore things up at inside linebacker and defensive tackle to get stronger against the run.

    As good as the backstories are for Mark Herzlich and Chase Blackburn, neither is an elite linebacker, and missed tackles have been an issue.

    Wisconsin ILB Chris Borland does not have ideal height, but at 250 pounds he is explosive when uncoiling on lead blockers at the point of attack. Borland’s instincts, preparation and recognition skills help mask his lack of height, and he could be a nice pickup early on Day 3.

    Also keep an eye on Virginia Tech’s Bruce Taylor, who has Day 2 potential when fully healthy. There is a risk/reward assessment to be made with Taylor, but he can play in the middle or on the strong side, and if the Giants were to select him on Day 3, he could offer some flexibility.

    Up front, New York has a potential stud in 2010 second-rounder Linval Joseph, but 2011 first-rounder Marvin Austin missed his entire rookie season and the light hasn’t yet come on for Austin in his second year. Chris Canty is also not a great fit inside at 6-foot-7, and both he and Rocky Bernard are north of 30 years old.

    The Giants showed their willingness to employ a one-dimensional run-stuffer by picking up Shaun Rogers, but Rogers landed on injured reserve, and a pair of 2013 prospects could fill that role next season.

    Michigan State’s Anthony-Rashad White has slipped down the board a bit this season, but he has the size, strength and toughness to plug the middle for an NFL team. Tennessee-Martin’s Montori Hughes plays a similar game and might have a bit more upside, but both players need to keep their weight in check and maintain their conditioning to be NFL contributors.

    Both grade in the midround area and could fit a very specific need for the Giants.

    http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/blog/_/name/nfl_draft/id/8710372/2013-nfl-draft-new-york-giants-need-help-lines

    •  JimStoll says:

      Ansah is a perfect Giants pick
      he is raw, crazy athletic and African

      •  Krow says:

        Not Samoan huh? Too bad.

      •  GOAT56 says:

        He is just like Jones was last year which means he will never get to us assuming he tests well. I think Carradine is more likely our pick because he tore his ACL and will drop to the late first round or early second.

  6.  JimStoll says:

    Been listening to Francesca
    came in around the middle and they seem to be talking about the NFL changing the kick-off rules again to attempt to lessen injuries
    anyone hear anything about this?

    •  fanfor55years says:

      Not surprising.

      You listen to Francessa? I stopped listening to nearly all sports talk shows years ago when he was still paired up with what I called The Maddening Dog. I really cannot stand these guys blathering on. Does he still repeat himself twenty times every time he has a point to make?

      I think the only radio guy who ever sounded intelligent was Colin Cowherd (not sure of the spelling) and I’m not sure whether he’s even still around. But he was a bright guy who ended to make fun of conventional wisdom.

  7.  fanfor55years says:

    I’ve seen a lot of Chase Thomas and Desmond Trufant and BOTH are the real deal. And I’ve really been impressed with Chris Borland. I don’t care about his height. He has that explosiveness in the hole that NONE of the Giants’ current linebackers do. he is a guy who will not give up many yards after contact. I love Blackburn, but he gets knocked back on occasion and can be blocked away from the gap too often. So far, Herzlich looks a lot more like Blackburn than he does like Ray Lewis.

    As for some of his other speculations, for all we know Ojomo is going to be a big factor for us next season, so I wouldn’t bet we go for a defensive end when we can bring Kiwi down there, add Ojomo (assuming he can hold off Tracy and Broha), and have a pretty fine rotation.

    I also don’t know what the Giants think about Brewer and the three other guys they have who they think are capable of playing tackle (Capers, Mosley and McCants). It may not be a huge priority for them.

    The things they MUST get, either through the draft or free agency, are a cornerback who can play on the outside, a stud MIKE linebacker capable of blowing up plays, a strongside linebacker, and probably another defensive tackle to join Joseph, Canty/Tuck, and Kuhn. They cannot come out of the draft without having gained people for those positions. And they almost certainly want to get a tight end and a wide receiver too.

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