Giants have to rethink strategy vs. Buccaneers’ stingy D
Information about Giants have to rethink strategy vs. Buccaneers’ stingy D
TAMPA, Fla. — It is very likely the formula the Giants used for their success two weeks ago will not be the approach they take Monday night against the Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium.
The Giants ran the ball 31 times and passed it only 20 times in their 23-16 victory over the Raiders. The decision was made to do everything possible to mitigate the damage the Raiders’ edge rushers could do to the Giants’ offensive tackles and that meant keeping Daniel Jones under wraps and getting the ball out of his hand quickly when he did pass it.
“The game they want to play is rush, go get the quarterback,” offensive coordinator Jason Garrett said of the Raiders. “The game they don’t want to play is direct runs. They don’t want runs right at them. That’s just the way they’re built. You don’t want to let those defensive-end players destroy the game. I thought we did a good job of that. Our guys were physical upfront, we went north and south against them.
“I thought DJ did a really good job in that game. I think we only threw it 20 times. He was 15 out of 20. I think he threw the ball away three times, so he really handled himself well. We played the game on our terms and if you had followed that defense up to that point, they had been playing the game on their terms, so that was an important thing for us. The by-product of that is limited touches for all the receivers. Unfortunately, sometimes that’s the case, but our guys embraced their roles and did what we needed to do to help our team win.”
Two weeks later, the Giants will not expect to be able to run the ball as effectively against the Bucs as they did against the Raiders (149 yards). The Bucs through nine games were the second-best defense against the run, allowing only 79.8 yards per game.
Taking someone off the field who plays 97 percent of the snaps on defense is never ideal. Logan Ryan rarely misses any time at free safety but he tested positive for COVID-19 and thus he will sit out his first game in his two seasons with the Giants. It is a loss for a defense that now has to combat Tom Brady without a heady, experienced player — a former teammate of Brady’s with the Patriots.
“You want to have all of your tools available and ready versus a team like this and obviously, their offense,’’ Julian Love, Ryan’s replacement in the starting lineup, said. “It’s definitely a blow, but we’ve got some resilient guys.’’
Love was used in 66 percent of the defensive snaps in 2020 but his workload decreased this season, down to 236 snaps (38 percent).
Interesting take offered by James Bradberry, the Giants’ best cornerback, on the differences between covering WR Mike Evans now, as opposed to when Jameis Winston was the Bucs’ quarterback.
“I feel like Jameis does more deep balls than Tom Brady does just because I feel like Jameis Winston has a really, really strong arm,’’ Bradberry said. “Tom Brady, he’s also an elite quarterback, so he makes smart decisions back there quite a bit and he’s very accurate as well. Just two different quarterbacks, but both of them are hard to play against, really.”