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Question of the Day
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - The New York Giants defense has always prided itself on stopping the run.
If the running game is shut down, the opponent becomes one dimensional and the Giants‘ pass rushers can make life miserable for opposing quarterbacks.
The problem is that is something the Giants haven’t done the past two weeks despite beating Philadelphia and Arizona.
The Eagles gashed the Giants (3-1) for 177 yards on the ground with LeSean McCoy picking up 128. The Cardinals followed by gaining 156 yards, with Beanie Wells getting 138.
“We really haven’t played great run defense,” defensive end Dave Tollefson said Wednesday after practice. “It’s not like it’s a personnel problem or a scheme problem. We have to play better against the run. Obviously, we won some games not playing well against the run but it’s going to come back and bite you in the butt if it doesn’t end soon. We’re working on that this week and we’ll get it taken care of.”
Tollefson said the problem in many cases is the result of players not getting in their gaps, bad tackling or even taking a bad angle going after a runner.
Wells, who ran for three touchdowns against New York, had a 39-yard run because cornerback Corey Webster seemingly took a bad angle that allowed Wells to turn the corner on a fourth-quarter drive that gave Arizona a 27-17 lead with less than six minutes to play.
Linebacker Michael Boley didn’t seem concerned, noting that the Giants have a veteran group on defense.
“We just didn’t play the run well,” said Boley, who didn’t practice on Wednesday because of swelling in his knee. “We had a lot of different situations in the game where we didn’t fit right as a defense. We didn’t have the details of our stuff right, and that in turn led to some big plays on their part.”
The surprising part of the performances the past two weeks is that the Giants played well against the run against Washington and St. Louis. The Redskins, who are sixth in the NFL in running the ball, had 74 yards on 26 carries. The Rams gained 59 yards on 19 attempts, although they played without No. 1 running back Stephen Jackson.
After watching videotape of the Seahawks, defensive tackle Chris Canty said they are a very physical group.
“The tape doesn’t lie,” Canty said. “Numbers sometimes lie. Just the physical level they are playing at and the commitment they have to running the ball, we have to be prepared to stop them.”
The Giants have employed a lot of nickel defenses the past two weeks to limit the big-play ability of the Eagles and Cardinals, but safety Antrel Rolle said having five defensive backs is not the reason those teams were able to run.
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