Excerpt: "The search to unlock the secret began months ago.
Tom Coughlin started breaking down film of Chip Kelly’s revolutionary, frenetic no-huddle offense at Oregon this summer.
The Giants then ramped up conditioning in training camp, accelerating their offensive tempo to simulate the system that Kelly brought to the Philadelphia Eagles.
And then came lessons gleaned from Kelly’s first four games as an NFL head coach.
"But there’s nothing like the real deal," Justin Tuck said.
And Sunday, the banged-up, besieged Giants’ front seven gets to see if all that preparation to stop Kelly’s scheme paid off.
It will be more than a rivalry game between bitter NFC East foes at MetLife Stadium. It will be a battle between desperate teams that are a combined 1-7 — and between defenses that rank last and next to last in points allowed (the Giants’ 36.5 ppg vs. the Eagles’ 34.5).
"This is a must-win game. When I say must-win game, it is a must-win game," said Jason Pierre-Paul, moments after announcing he had practiced with a sprained MCL. "It’s going to be very intense. ...
"We got to win this game no matter what. We’re both playing to save our seasons."
But the Giants enter that "dogfight," as Tuck called it, with three members of their defensive line and three cornerbacks unable to practice Wednesday.
With rookies Johnathan Hankins and Damontre Moore likely to break into the line rotation as a result. And with a defense whose once-feared pass rush is tied for the fewest sacks (four) in the NFL.
That defense will face Philadelphia’s second-ranked offense (458.8 yards per game), which utilizes speed, a tireless pace and confusion as weapons.
It also has the league’s leading rusher in LeSean McCoy (468 yards, 6.0 yards per carry) and sixth-leading receiver in DeSean Jackson (393 yards).
Defenses still are scrambling to figure out their system as they exploit mismatches and breakdowns.
"I think the biggest challenge is confusion and chaos," Tuck said. "They go fast. ... When you’re looking to the sideline for a call or you’re trying to get lined up and you’re scrambling, that’s when you see huge plays."
The Eagles lead the NFL in yards per reception (16.6), pass plays of 20 yards or more (24) and are tied for pass plays of 40 or more (four).
"They’re not really figuring out what we’re doing," Eagles quarterback Michael Vick said in a conference call. "They’re just keeping it simple, putting a man on a man and playing simple football."
The Giants (0-4) already have enough to worry about.
Pierre-Paul downplayed his sprained MCL. He practiced fully, said he’s "not hurting" and expects to play Sunday at "full-speed." However the All-Pro defensive end admits he’s still "pretty slow off the ball" when rushing the passer.
Meanwhile, corners Aaron Ross (back), Terrell Thomas (knee) and Jayron Hosley (hamstring) sat out practice and starter Corey Webster (groin) was limited.
Starting defensive tackles Linval Joseph (ankle/knee) and Cullen Jenkins (knee/Achilles) also did not practice due to injury. Nor did backup Shaun Rogers (back).
That’s very bad news when facing the NFL’s top-ranked rushing attack (198.2 yards per game)." Read more...