Blogging The Boys: The Giants started a little shaky this year, but have turned it around. What happened? We could use a gameplan in Dallas for a turnaround.
Big Blue View: A few things. First, they have played much better defensively. In fact, the Indianapolis game (Week 2) was their only poor defensive effort of the season. Second, they are doing a much better job limiting the penalties and turnovers, which are what cost them the Tennessee game. Third, the past couple of weeks they are running the ball better -- much more like the way you would expect the Giants to run the ball.
BTB: One thing I know is that the Giants defense has been getting to the QB recently. Did they do anything different or did the players just start executing better?
BBV: Well, there are a few reasons for that. First and foremost, this group is healthy this year -- aside from Mathias Kiwanuka being out with a herniated disc in his neck. Justin Tuck has two healthy arms, and is playing great. Osi Umenyiora is healthier than he has been in a long time, and he is as dangerous as any DE in the league once he gets the edge. Barry Cofield, Rocky Bernard and Chris Canty all battled injuries last season. They are all healthy right now. The other thing is run defense. With the exception of the Indy game the Giants have been very stout against the run -- even when they have played 4-2-5 with two linebackers and three safeties. They are putting teams in situations where they can discount the run and go after the quarterback.
BTB: We've gotten used to Brandon Jacobs over the years, now it looks like Ahmad Bradshaw is the man. What kind of back is he? How are the Giants utilizing him and what's Jacobs' role?
BBV: Bradshaw has earned the right to be No. 1. He is a smaller, faster, shiftier back than Jacobs. His big runs largely come on cut backs and situations where he makes 1-2 guys miss. Those are things Jacobs just can't do. As for Jacobs, he has run really well the last couple of weeks. He has been doing a lot of the short-yardage and goal line stuff, and the past couple of weeks he has gotten back to running straight ahead and punishing people.
BTB: Hakeem Nicks seems to be emerging as a star. Give us a scouting report.
BBV: Big, strong, huge powerful hands. A young version of Anquan Boldin, really. He isn't really a blow by you for the deep ball guy. He is a catch the short to intermediate ball in traffic and make yards after the catch guy. You're right. He is an emerging star.
BTB: If Dallas is going to turn their season around and win this game, what's the best way for them to do that? Where are the Giants vulnerable?
BBV: Well, the Giants are always vulnerable on special teams. I hold my breath every time Matt Dodge punts or the Giants have to hold a kickoff. Make a big play or two on special teams is the first thing I would say. Second, you cannot let the Giants put you in obvious passing situations. That means either use the short pass on first down or figure out a way to run the ball. If you let the Giants make you one-dimensional Tony Romo will feel lots of pain.
Thanks to Ed over at Big Blue View for the insight.