Traveling to Landover for their first NFC East matchup of the season, the Giants will know that stopping the big play in the passing game will be key to ensuring victory. It has been an issue for the Giants defense thus far – with four passing completions of over 40 yards already registered against New York’s defense, the Giants are tied with four other teams for the dubious honor of giving up the most 40+ yard receptions in the league.
To make matters worse, the team hosting the Giants on Thursday night is tied for the league lead in creating such plays. Perry Fewell and the Giants defense will have to figure out a special plan to slow down this explosive passing attack, and it starts with a player the Giants have become quite accustomed to seeing over the years: wide receiver DeSean Jackson. ,p>Having caused plenty of problems for the Giants as a member of the Eagles, Jackson had his first signature performance of the season last week, showcasing his trademark explosiveness against his former team. Although officially listed as questionable, the Giants can’t afford to take Jackson lightly regardless of his status and the Giants shouldn’t hope to catch a break like they have the past two weeks, when Carson Palmer and Arian Foster were ruled out in their Week 2 and Week 3 matchups respectively.
The first of several steps in adjusting for the big play was taken when it was announced earlier this week that Stevie Brown would be benched for Quintin Demps. Brown, who is coming off an ACL injury last season, was noticeably caught well out of position on Houston’s third quarter passing touchdown and subsequently was pulled from the game. Perry Fewell, refusing to be drawn into comment on Brown’s benching, simply referred to the decision as “an internal Giants decision”.
When it comes to stopping Jackson, Fewell knows what the Giants are up against, comparing his role in Washington to how Jackson was deployed as an Eagle.
“They kind of use him the way they did in Philly,” Fewell said. “He had an 81-yarder. I know he was pumped up to play against Philly, his old team, and he probably had a little bit of extra motivation. He is still fast and he can still split the middle of the field. If he is out on the edge on the outside, he has jets and he can run. The quarterback has been delivering the ball there when he can catch and run. That is the key. Can we get enough pressure on the quarterback so that the quarterback can’t deliver the ball so he can catch and run? He is an outstanding player and you just hope he is having a bad day.”
Fewell also said that the Giants safeties will be deployed “a little bit deeper” to combat Jackson’s big play ability. For Big Blue to find success Thursday night it’ll be more than just about turning a weakness into strength – it’ll be about preventing an old nemesis from haunting them once again.