The Giants are coming off a dominating performance over the vaunted 49ers, but there is no time to pat themselves on the back, because up next is the football phenomenon named Robert Griffin III.
Also known as RG3, the Redskins’ rookie quarterback has taken the league by storm, so for Big Blue, they can’t afford to slack off, especially since the Redskins (3-3) are only a game out of first place.
“We’ve turned the page very quickly,” said linebacker Michael Boley. “We know that at this point, we’re behind in the division, so with the big division game coming up, it’s kind of key for us to kind of put that behind us and look forward to move into the next game.”
The Giants (4-2) corralled Panthers quarterback Cam Newton — on a short week, no less — but head coach Tom Coughlin said Griffin and Newton are different in some ways.
- Celebrity deaths 2018: All the stars we lost too soon 45 Pictures
- 10 finalists for TIME Person of the Year 2018 11 Pictures
“In terms of the type of option that they run, his option is similar to the one with Cam Newton,” Coughlin said. “[Eagles quarterback] Michael Vick is a whole different [type], so each individual brings to the table something very unique. So, yes, they are different.”
The Giants have allowed just three rushing touchdowns, while Griffin has the second-most rushing touchdowns this season (six, tying Houston Texans running back Arian Foster) and has already tallied 379 yards on the ground. Griffin is also the third-highest rated passer in the NFL, and has averaged 223 passing yards per game, which means he’s not the average mobile quarterback.
In order to prepare for someone as fast as Griffin, Coughlin acknowledged they’ll use the scout team offense to the fullest. Backup quarterback David Carr will be used extensively this week, as will reserve wideout Jerrel Jernigan. And while neither has the straight-line speed of Griffin, Coughlin said they’ll do the best they can.
“We have two or three guys that can hopefully do it. David Carr is slick enough to do it, and quick enough to do it, and give us that look. And Jerrel Jernigan has given us a few plays over there last week, and the week before,” Coughlin said.
This is Griffin’s first venture in NFC East play, but the rookie already sounded like a veteran when talking about the Giants’ defense on his Wednesday conference call.
“Their edge guys are talented, and one of the best, if not the best defensive lines in the league,” Griffin said. “You always have to feel you’re the fastest guy on the field. That’s what happens when you run 76 yards down the field [for a touchdown against the Vikings last week].”
Griffin ended his call displaying the confidence that has allowed him to execute plays most quarterbacks only dream of.
“Everyone is buying in [and] everyone has confidence,” Griffin said when asked if he thinks he’s already the team’s leader. “You can’t just say you’re a leader, [but] I think I’ve proven I’m the leader. … That aggressive mentality hasn’t changed.”
Big Blue notes
»Griffin tried to do a preemptive strike regarding the “Bob Griffin” comments made by Osi Umenyiora before the season began. Umenyiora said at that time he could not call Griffin “RG3” because the rookie “hadn’t even played a down yet … you have to earn a nickname, so I’ll just call him Bob.” That lasted one game, when Griffin destroyed the Saints in his first career start. Griffin scoffed at any brewing controversy by saying it’s not the first time he’s been called out of his name: “Osi is a guy who’s proven himself. I got where he’s coming from, so it’s not something to build up. I’ve been called worse.” Griffin also noted, though, that he’s not a fan of being called Bob and hopes to change that on Sunday: “It hasn’t stuck at all and I don’t plan on having it stick either.”
»Chris Canty worked on a football field in full pads for the first time since Super Bowl XLVI. Canty was activated off the physically unable to perform (PUP) list this week and the Giants now have a three-week window to decide if he will be activated. Canty said he’s thrilled to be back: “It was good to be out on the field with the guys. I’ve got a lot of work to do, a lot to catch up on, [but] that’s to be expected. And [I have] a long ways to go before I can help and contribute to this football team.”
» Seven players did not practice on Wednesday: linebackers Michael Boley (hip) and Jacquian Williams (knee), running backs Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) and Da’Rel Scott (knee), defensive tackle Rocky Bernard (quadriceps), cornerback Corey Webster (hand/hamstring) and safety Kenny Phillips (knee). Williams, who likely would have had an important role as a spy watching Griffin, won’t even practice this week and isn’t expected to play in the game. Coughlin also noted that Phillips is “improving, but is not yet ready to practice.”
» Wideout Hakeem Nicks (foot/knee) was limited in practice. Running back Andre Brown, cleared to return to action after suffering a concussion 10 days ago, practiced fully. Running backs David Wilson and Brown said they split the reps at practice in Bradshaw’s absence. Bradshaw will practice Thursday, said Coughlin, but the coach added he doesn’t foresee Bradshaw returning to his practice habits of years past: “I don’t want to go into that one-practice-a-week business that we’ve had, so I’m hoping this is something that he’s able to overcome and we see the end of it.” Scott underwent a right knee debridement and a repair to the meniscus, on Tuesday. Coughlin did not say if Scott is a candidate to go on injured reserve.
Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.