IRVING, Texas – Here's an early look at the Dallas Cowboys upcoming opponent, the New York Giants, who invade AT&T Stadium Sunday night with a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.
- The offensive skill on this Giants squad has always been impressive but with running back David Wilson as the full time starter, they have added an element that they have not shown in the previous years. The Giants have always been a power running team that was built with backs like Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs but now with Wilson, they have the ability to score from anywhere on the field. When you study him on tape, you see a compact runner that keeps his legs driving on contact when he has to carry the ball inside but what is his most impressive trait is his ability to bounce the ball outside and get it around the corner.
There is an explosive, acceleration to his game and you will see him beat angles and out run defenders. Has the ability to make defenders miss in the open field with a slight cut or just straight power. He catches the ball well out of the backfield. Team likes to use the screen packages in any situation and any point on the field so he is always a threat there as well. Tacklers have to get to him quickly before he has a chance to get going.
- From what I have observed from Eli Manning in this preseason, is there a complete willingness to throw the ball down the field regardless of the down and distance. There were times in previous seasons where Manning would just launch the ball down the field in third down situations and allow Victor Cruz or Hakeem Nicks to make a big play. Now, we are seeing it on all downs and at a successful rate of completion. Cruz and Nicks have always had this type of ability to finish a play but it now appears that the squad has a great deal of faith in Rueben Randle and his ability to get down the field as well.
With Cruz and Nicks out of the lineup at various points during training camp, Randle has developed into a nice option as the third guy. He is extremely long and rangy in his build which he uses to his advantage. He has the ability to make plays all over the field. He will extend his hands to catch in them, hard guy to defend when he does this. Offensive coordinator, Kevin Gilbride created some plays to get him the ball quickly on the outside and let his abilities take over. Cruz and Nicks will see be the main focus of this Giants offense and by all accounts, they should be but some attention needs to be paid to Rueben Randle and the ability he brings to this offense.
- Like the Cowboys throughout training, the Giants have had their share of issues along the offensive line with injuries. Normal center, David Baas has struggled with a knee problem and his status for the game is uncertain. Jim Cordle has filled in while Baas has been out but he is nowhere as effective as Baas who doesn't always play with the best technique but when he has to handle his man one-on-one, he can get the job done. If Baas cannot go, that would be a setback for this offensive line. A player that will not go is, right tackle David Diehl who just recently had thumb surgery and in his place will be rookie Justin Pugh, who played left tackle at Syracuse in 2012.
In studying his college film, I viewed him more as a guard than a tackle but he will get the start. Pugh is one of those new era college linemen that tend to catch and try to control the rusher with upper body strength. There have been times in the preseason where this has got him in trouble and he just isn't strong enough to play that way at this point. If Anthony Spencer was healthy in this game, here's a matchup that could be a win for this defense. Do not be surprised if at some point in this contest Sunday night that DeMarcus Ware takes a rush or two from the left side. I believe that Pugh would struggle if he had to deal with a rusher that would show him all kinds of pass rush moves. Keep an eye on the matchup of Ware against Will Beatty as well. Beatty is a tackle that tends to get overextended and reach when he has to pass block. Ware could give him huge problems.
- The Giants tight ends are not household names but they are solid in the way they go about their business. Bear Pascoe is one of those players that you are always trying to upgrade but he keeps landing on your roster because of all the positions that he can play. The majority of the snaps you will see him line up off set in the backfield from David Wilson. Is not going to get great movement or push at the point of attack but he can seal and wall off as a blocker. He will have his hands full with Sean Lee, Bruce Carter and Justin Durant.
Where this defense has to be careful in dealing with him is when he sneaks out of the backfield and into the routes. Is a large, mobile target that has secure hands and has a nose for the sticks. Brandon Myers was signed in the off season from the Raiders to replace Martellus Bennett as the inline or up the field tight end. He is clearly the athlete of the group and when a play needs to be made down the field, he has the ability to get open but he has the soft hands to make the catch.