This Sunday the Giants will be looking to bounce back after a deflating shoot-out loss a week ago to the New Orleans Saints. While the offense clicked on all cylinders, the defense displayed sloppy coverage and visibly thin depth. Both units need to bring their A-game to Tampa Bay against a tenacious Buccaneers team that has won 2 of their last 3. Offensive and Defensive Coordinator Ben McAdoo and Steve Spagnuolo spoke with the Giants Beat about Sunday’s keys to the game for the Giants.
“Seeing this defense on film for the first time this week, they are well-coordinated, they play with a lot of speed and a lot of energy,” McAdoo said praising the Bucs defense. “They play with a lot of different bodies so they can keep that speed and energy up.”
The Bucs defense is not deficient in star-power, boasting multiple former pro-bowlers including Gerald McCoy, Alterraun Verner, and Levonte David. One of the bigger surprises of this Bucs defense in 2015 has been the emergence of middle linebacker Kwon Alexander, who forced two turnovers last week. McAdoo knows the Giants have to emphasize ball security in practice this week.
“Turnovers are big for them, they like to be well-coordinated and be on the same page with the variety of coverages they run. They spend a lot of time studying the concepts from a past game perspective and they like to penetrate up front. It will be a good challenge for us.”
On the defense side of things, the Giants will be looking to recover from one of the worst defensive outings in franchise history. While Spagnuolo was disappointed about his defense’s performance, he wasn’t shy about giving credit where credit is due.
”We did not play our best football and that’s what’s probably the most disappointing,” Spagnuolo started. “But I’m going to tip my hat off to Drew Brees and what those players did down there, they did some nice work.”
The Giants may be able to receive the defensive boost they are looking for, as defensive end Justin Pierre-Paul is expected to return after practicing throughout the duration of the week. Spagnuolo spoke about whether JPP will be able to play this Sunday or not.
“Hope so. Nothing’s been decided, that’s above my pay level. But optimistic and hopeful”
While it’s an asset to a defense to add a pro-bowl caliber defensive linemen back to the active roster, Spagnuolo believes that fans and experts alike who immediately expect to see vintage JPP may be disappointed.
“To think he’s just going to go out there and be the JPP that everybody hopes and wants, I don’t know if that’s fair, but we’ll see.”
As for other Giants defensive factors, Jon Beason’s status is still up in the air for Sunday, and the defensive captain has now missed the last two weeks. Spagnuolo knows Beason’s absence has provoked a struggle for his defensive unit.
“You always want your quarterback out there. It’s been hard on him, it’s been hard on us.”
When kickoff ensues and the Bucs offense takes the field, with or without JPP or Beason, Spagnuolo believes the key to making the Bucs inefficient is to take away Doug Martin in the running game, who has been the catalyst behind Tampa Bay’s offensive resurgence the last three weeks.
“I think you’ve got to stop the run first, can’t focus on him without focusing on number 22 (Doug Martin) first, he’s really good.”
The Giants offense will be focusing on minimizing their turnovers while watching out for the Bucs’ defensive playmakers, and the Giants defense will be working with the players that are active while focusing on shutting down Doug Martin and keeping Jameis Winston in check.
The Giants will be facing the Buccaneers at 1PM on Sunday in Raymond James Stadium.