Giants Can Protect Defense By Running Early and Often - NBC New York

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Giants Can Protect Defense By Running Early and Often

Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs can mitigate the damage done to the defense



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    This is the best sight the Giants defense could hope to see.

    Injuries have the Giants defense springing more leaks than a boat made out of tissue paper, leading just about everyone following the team to ask how they are going to survive a season played without so many key players.

    It is going to be very difficult to find replacements from outside the organization. Players will be cut loose from other teams, but most of them are going to look like cornerback Brian Williams and defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy, who the team signed to fill out the roster this week.

    Both players have played enough NFL games for other teams for us to know that they aren't good enough to be anything more than filler for teams that have nowhere else to turn for bodies to put into uniforms. It is equally unlikely that the team is going to uncover a difference-maker who's already on their roster, because any such player would already be playing a major role for the unit. 

    So, how can the Giants survive with so many key players on the shelf?

    The answer is to do exactly what they did to beat the Bills in Super Bowl XXV: Keep the defense off the field.

    That's easier said than done, obviously, but the Giants have the running game to make it happen. The Ahmad Bradshaw-Brandon Jacobs combo has looked good in the first two preseason games and the team would be wise to scrap some of the more aggressive parts of their offensive scheme in favor of plain old vanilla power football.

    That won't be easy for Kevin Gilbride, an offensive coordinator who has never met a moment that didn't call for a pass. With the defense compromised, however, the Giants can't afford clock stopping incompletions and field-flipping interceptions that put extra pressure on their defenders.

    So Gilbride will have to put aside his neverending attempts to impress people with his unconventional approach and stick with the basics. That doesn't mean giving up on the pass, it just means putting the balance back into an offense that gets out of whack far too often.

    That's where Bradshaw and Jacobs come in. Contrary to popular perception, Bradshaw is a very good runner between the tackles and Jacobs has actually been more effective when getting around the corner which means the team isn't going to telegraph anything by having one or the other in the game. 

    Having two backs of roughly equal ability means the Giants can rely heavily on both of them without taking on too much risk of wearing anybody down. They will also lessen the risk they're taking by playing Will Beatty on Eli Manning's blind side and make play action passing a much more dangerous option because teams will have to respect the run more than they have in past years.

    It seems too simple to work, but that was what everyone thought back in 1991 when the Giants used the exact same strategy to knock off the explosive Bills. And that team had a pretty darn good defense.

    It's a strange concept for a franchise that has long prided itself on winning with defense, but it is a wise one for them to put into play. The best way for the Giants to minimize the damage done to the defense is to minimize the defense.

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