New York Giants
Inside Slant | Notes, Quotes | Strategy and Personnel |
Injuries may hinder Giants' attempt to rebound
According to members of the New York Giants, the team should be 3-0 at this point. However, that's not the case, not after the Giants' 29-27 loss to Washington last week in a game that New York basically gift-wrapped to their division opponent.
This week, the Giants begin the first of a tough two-game, primetime road stretch against the NFC North. They start with the undefeated Minnesota Vikings on Monday night, a team that dismantled the Super Bowl runner-up Carolina Panthers 22-10 last week and a team that has outscored opponents so far this year 64-40.
Matchups aside, the Giants will need to quickly get their collective minds right for this challenge and make sure that the haymaker dealt to them by Washington last week doesn't carry over to this week.
"Just get back to work and work hard and stay focused," defensive tackle Damon Harrison said when asked how the team can ensure that they don't fall into a rut.
"It is the National Football League, so you are going to have weeks like that, but it is just all about how the guys respond and take it to next week's game, which is what is pretty cool about the NFL you always have the following week to prove yourself, especially early on in the year."
"You just go back to what got us here in the first place, go back to the basics," added left guard Justin Pugh. "Make sure we're not hurting ourselves. I think this is definitely a wake-up call for us and you see how easily a game can go the other way. So just going back to those basics and making sure it doesn't happen again."
Besides losing the game in a devastating fashion, the Giants team that will take the field Monday night isn't exactly the same team that started the season 0-2. New York lost running back Shane Vereen to a triceps injury that landed him on injured reserve.
Further, the Giants are potentially looking at not having three key members of their defensive secondary, corners Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Eli Apple and free safety Darian Thompson, all of whom are nursing injuries.
"DRC and Eli those are two pretty good football players and we also have some other good corners waiting in the wings to have their opportunity and make the most of it," Harrison said. "If the coaching staff is comfortable putting those guys out there, then I have the utmost confidence in them."
Beyond the personnel issues the Giants face, there is the matter of the team fixing some of the sloppiness that marred last week's defensive performance, specifically tackling and finishing off plays.
"All of the stuff that we did wrong is correctable," Harrison insisted. "It is nothing that anyone should be panicking or worrying about. We just have to go back out this week, have a great week of practice and get back to the basics."
Offensively, the Giants are in for a big test against a Vikings defense that last week recorded eight sacks against Carolina.
The Giants' offensive line has been decent and the coaching staff has done a good job of scheming around a still shaky right side of the line, which last week saw second-year man Bobby Hart make his 2016 starting debut. It will be interesting to see what the coaching staff does to try to slow down a Vikings pass rush that currently has 15 sacks through three games.
"They have a really good front," Pugh said. "Just from watching some of their games and playing against them last year, I know it's a really good defensive front and we have our work cut out for us. I talked to a buddy who plays for the Packers and he said that the place gets loud. So obviously we need to be ready for that."
It won't be easy, though, not against a Vikings defense that, in addition to its league-leading sack total, also has 24 quarterback hits.
"We know what our job is to do," Pugh said. "We've got to keep (quarterback) Eli (Manning) upright and open up holes for the running backs. That's a challenge that we're ready to accept."
SERIES HISTORY: 25th regular-season meeting. Vikings lead series, 14-10. The last four games between these two teams have resulted in a lopsided win for the victor, with the margin of victory in each being at least two touchdowns. The Vikings have won five out of the last seven meetings and the Giants have not won in Minnesota since 2010.