The Giants’ defense are preparing diligently for Washington’s rookie sensation Robert Griffin III, but at the other end of the spectrum, the Redskins’ defense should be equally worried about Big Blue’s explosive offense.
Despite all the hoopla surrounding Griffin’s electric campaign, the Redskins’ defense has been rather generous — and the Giants are well aware of that.
“They’re giving up some points,” said head coach Tom Coughlin.
The veteran head coach, who’s never prone to give opponents bulletin-board material, quickly threw the Redskins’ defense a verbal bouquet, adding “but they’re playing the run very well. They’re plus-nine [in turnover margin] with four defensive touchdowns, which says a lot about their team.”
Truth be told, the Redskins (3-3) have playmakers on defense despite losing both Pro Bowl linebacker Brian Orakpo and defensive lineman Adam Carriker for the year, but they are still very generous in allowing points (28.8) and yards (417.2) per game. Washington is also allowing 6.2 yards per play, making for very manageable down-and-distance situations.
Wideout Victor Cruz thinks success is there for the taking, considering the Redskins have allowed 15 passing touchdowns, 41 percent third-down conversion rate, 63.2 completion percentage and 12.6 yards per receptions.
Those numbers are a shockingly high considering the talent in the Redskins’ secondary features accomplished veterans like cornerbacks DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson and safeties Reed Doughty and Madieu Williams.
“Guys have just been capitalizing on that defense that they play because it’s a little unorthodox compared to the norm that we see on a day-to-day basis,” Cruz said. “They [the secondary] are just different. Their corners play a different style, [and] the safeties are heavily involved in the run game. It’s just a different style of defense that we’re looking at, so it’s just a matter of being on our P’s and Q’s and understanding what we’re getting on every coverage and every down, and taking advantage of what we have in front of us.”
Quarterback Eli Manning has to be concerned with not only the Redskins’ quirky secondary, but also the rest of the unit. He noted his main counterpart is middle linebacker London Fletcher, who is the quarterback of the defense. Fletcher, a 15-year veteran, and one of the best of his era at his position, intimately knows the Giants’ defense after having played the Giants 14 times.
Manning appreciates Fletcher as a competitor and said he thinks his presence can almost over cover for the holes in the Redskins’ defense.
“He’s just a smart player. He’s all over, making tackles all over the field, and does a great job of getting them lined up, getting everybody in the right spot,” Manning said. “He’s a guy you have to be aware of, because he does make a lot of plays.”
Manning, like his coach, went the route of showering the Redskins’ defense with praise, despite the reality that they can give up yards and points in bunches.
“They still do a good job of getting to the quarterback, a good job of getting a lot of turnovers, and that’s always a concern,” Manning said. “They have playmakers on that defense and the interceptions usually occur because they are putting pressure on the quarterback. … We’re going to have to see what it is that they’re going to do against us [because] they play some unique coverages and good blitzes. They’re just very sound, they’re in the right spots and they have good players.”
Big Blue notes
»Griffin may be the fastest quarterback in the NFL, but Jason Pierre-Paul thinks the rookie passer will have his hands full against a Giants’ defense that might be faster than any he’s ever seen so far. Pierre-Paul, who’s one of the more athletic defensive ends in the league, is relishing the opportunity to chase down Griffin on the Redskins’ read-option plays: “Don’t bring it to my side. Go the other way. … Trust me, we chase quarterbacks all the time. We turn and run to the ball, no matter what. He may get past us and zoom right past us, but trust me we’re right behind him. You’ve got to respect that, too. It’s not all about the speed. We’ve got guys, all 11 guys that can run to the ball very quick. You’d be surprised. Very surprised.”
»The Giants will likely have to defend Griffin without one of their fleetest linebackers — Jacquian Williams. The second-year player is expected to miss the game with a knee injury, a critical blow to the defense since Williams would’ve been the perfect spy defender on Griffin. Veteran linebacker Michael Boley lamented Williams’s loss: “It’s tough [because] with Jacquian’s athleticism, it gave us free range to do some things.” The Giants are now hopeful reserve linebacker Keith Rivers can fill the void.
»Running back Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) and receiver Hakeem Nicks (knee/foot) were taking part in practice during the media access period. Bradshaw sat out Wednesday’s session after aggravating his troublesome foot following last week’s win in San Francisco. Nicks participated on a limited basis Wednesday, which happened to be his first Wednesday practice all season.
»Also seen working out in some capacity were Boley (hip), running back Andre Brown (concussion), defensive tackle Chris Canty (knee) and cornerback Corey Webster (hand/hamstring). Both Boley and Webster sat out Wednesday’s practice.
Safety Kenny Phillips (knee) was riding a stationary bike, while defensive tackle Rocky Bernard (quadriceps), linebacker Williams (knee) and running back Da’Rel Scott (knee) were not on the practice field.
Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.