EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck did his best to avoid talking about the Seattle Seahawks having to start Charlie Whitehurst at quarterback for the injured Matt Hasselbeck.
When Tuck finally surrendered and talked on Friday about the 27-year-old Whitehurst making his first NFL start, he did it with one sentence and couple of lyrics from former pop star Olivia Newton John _ sung well off key.
“We’re not going to change anything,” Tuck said. “We’re going to be physical.”
The song came next.
“Phy-si-cal. Phy-si-cal,” a high-pitched Tuck sang in a way that would have had Simon Cowell shaking his head.
“Y’all like that song?” Tuck said.
New York has knocked out five opposing quarterbacks with an aggressive front four, a solid secondary and a stingy run defense. That’s what the gameplan will feature on Sunday, and it doesn’t matter who is taking the snaps.
Linebacker Michael Boley, who separated Dallas quarterback Tony Romo’s left collarbone in the Giants‘ last game on Oct. 25 before a bye week, said Whitehurst has a strong arm and some mobility. Boley said the Giants spent the week studying for both Hasselbeck and Whitehurst and now they are focused on the former Clemson star who has never thrown a pass in a regular-season game.
“It’s hard to say if that is an advantage if you don’t really know the guy,” Boley said. “For us, not playing this team often, we don’t know much about them at all outside of what we have seen on film.”
“No matter how long he has been in the league, this is his first NFL start, so in our eyes, he is definitely a rookie,” Rolle said. “There are going to be a lot of things we can do to rattle him. There are things we can do to rattle any quarterback in this league. Being this is his first start, we are going to try to keep him off balance.”
The most obvious thing a defense can do to throw off a young quarterback is to give him different looks on every play to keep him guessing.
“All I am worried about is beating the man lined up in front of me,” Giants defensive tackle Barry Cofield said. “It doesn’t matter to me who is playing quarterback. If you go from Vinny Testaverde to Michael Vick, maybe that changes your approach. But those two guys, I don’t see a big difference in the way they play the game.”