The Giants get the honor of playing on Monday Night Football tonight, but the catch is a national audience will get to see all their warts.
Big Blue is coming off a demoralizing, opening weekend loss to the Redskins and now look to bounce back against a Rams team that’s also nursing some major injuries. Mounting injuries withstanding, the Giants just don’t have problems staying healthy, but they’re also having difficulty doing things that have been associated with “Giants football“ for years — namely running the ball and shutting down opposing offenses.
If New York is to hold off the Rams (0-1) they must get back to doing what head coach Tom Coughlin promised they’d do during training camp. The further the Redskins game got away from the Giants, the more they got away from their two-headed rushing attack. That added more pressure to Eli Manning, who failed in comparison to Redskins journeyman quarterback Rex Grossman.
Coughlin said the Giants will do everything they can to restore balance and utilize running backs Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs more than the 19 total carries they had last week. But if you ask Jacobs the only numbers he’s concerned about is the final score.
“I’m not expecting anything but a win. I just want to win,” said Jacobs. “I want to go out there and do what I can do to help the team win. Six carries or 26 carries, it doesn’t matter.”
Bradshaw, however, didn’t sound nearly as graceful following the Washington game. The usually reticent Bradshaw bristled at only getting 13 carries, hinting that the Giants abandoned the run too soon. He’s hoping for more touches — for all the running backs — but said he won’t rock the boat anymore.
“It is all what we put ourselves in field position-wise, “ Bradshaw said. “We just have to get better running the ball and blocking stuff up and finishing our blocks as well. We have to get better at keeping the seventh or eighth man out of the box and passing a whole lot better.”
The Eagles ran for 237yards against the Rams last week, so there is hope for Big Blue. The Rams’ front seven got pushed around all game, but also gave up chunks to Michael Vick. Obviously the Giants don’t have a running quarterback, which is why Jacobs said the padded rushing stats could be deceiving.
“Most of their yards came from a quarterback that drops back in the pocket, looks at the hole, has five seconds and he runs through it. You can’t look at that. I don’t take anything away from Vick and what he did, but it’s a tad bit easy to get rushing yards as a running quarterback than it is as a running back,” Jacobs opined. “McCoy did pretty good against them and we’ve looked at the holes on film. It’s not always going to be like that because they are going to try to do something to straighten it out on their end as well.”
Both Bradshaw and Jacobs said they can’t worry about what’s not in their control, so they’ll expect to go out there and do their job when their number is called.
Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride is the gate-keeper to the success of the offense and he admitted even they don’t know who’s going to be the lead rusher heading into the game. It all depends on down-and-distance and who has the hotter hand.
“Our guys decide that this particular run is Ahmad and this particular run will be Brandon but we don’t go into a game set in ways,” Gilbride said. “We just try to choose the run that has the best chance of being successful so you pick the running back that can execute the best.”
Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.