In the late November meeting between the Eagles and the Giants, the Giants utilized a defensive scheme that other teams have since employed in trying to slow down Michael Vick and the league's top-ranked offense in terms of yards.
The Giants already have an outstanding front four defensively with Pro Bowl ends Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora and tackles Barry Cofield and Chris Canty. With the ability to generate pressure with the front four, Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell was able to aggressively utilize the personnel in the back seven to attack Vick. The Giants blitzed free safety Antrel Rolle time after time again to force Vick to his right side, the side that isn't the most comfortable for him since he's a left-handed quarterback.
"They were one of the first teams to kind of do that, kind of go against everything they stand for and throw a little bit different stuff at us and try to maintain us," wide receiver Jeremy Maclin said. "I think we've seen all of the different things you can throw at us. I think we've made adjustments to pretty much everything."
Offensive guard Todd Herremans said the key to beating the extra pressure is recognizing and adjusting the blocking in the pre-snap reads. Even with the extra pressure, the Eagles gained 392 yards of total offense and scored 27 points in a 10-point win. The Eagles left a lot of points on the field with just one successful red zone trip in five attempts.
Cornerback Brandon Hughes shed some light this week into what the Giants were trying to accomplish. Hughes was on the Giants practice squad for the first meeting between these two teams. He was signed the following week after cornerback Ellis Hobbs' season-ending neck injury. Hughes said that the Giants didn't really deviate from their typical game plan.
"They really didn't change too much," Hughes said. "(The Giants) wanted to obviously take away the big play. Every team wants to do that when they play us. A lot of the focus was on the pass game because that's what we do predominantly. Other than that, it was just preparing for a game like we prepare for a game here."
Hughes said that Fewell likes to blitz the safety a lot, but they had to do that while taking away the big play. The Giants switched their cornerbacks and had Corey Webster on DeSean Jackson and Terrell Thomas on Maclin. While Jackson gets the headlines, it was Maclin who had nine catches for 120 yards.
It will be interesting to see if the Giants employ the same rotation this time around. Hughes said that the main thing was getting a jam at the line of scrimmage on Maclin and Jackson to neutralize that speed.
"Make sure they didn't go wild and then stop LeSean (McCoy) in the screen game," Hughes said.
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 8:20 a.m., December 17