New York Giants Notebook | History Lessons, Leonard Williams Gets the Monkey Off His Back and More
Giants head coach Joe Judge made it a priority to teach his players the Giants organization's history during training camp, believing it would encourage respect for the franchise they represent and motivation to represent it well.
Judge admitted this week that he is taking a similar approach with the Chicago Bears history, the team the Giants will face in Week 2.
"As players and coaches, we took time this morning to really review what they’ve done for the league and for each one of us individually when we have this opportunity," Judge said.
"You talk about the Bears, you have to talk about the history of the league. Starting with George Halas and going to the McCaskey family, these are really some of the good people in the world of football. All of us are very beneficial to what they did through their family business to allow the NFL to develop, along with Wellington Mara, really getting this league jumpstarted."
The Giants will look to enter their own chapter in that history on Sunday when they go to an empty Soldier Field for the first road game of Judge's tenure as head coach and his first regular-season win.
There will be several things on the Giants agenda to help them get a win, starting with containing Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.
Trubisky led a 21-point fourth-quarter comeback against the Detroit Lions in Week 1, earning himself a passer rating of 104.2 and a whole boatload of confidence in having rebounded from a shoddy start. He completed 20 of 36 passes for 242 yards and three touchdowns against the Lions.
The Giants are coming off a game in which they gave up a similar passing performance to veteran Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Trubsiky doesn't present the same type of experience and poised opponent as Roethlisberger; however, Judge believes that Trubsiky presents an entirely different threat to the Giants with his mobility.
"The one thing you have to remember about Mitch is this guy is a competitor. This guy is a tough dude, he can extend plays, Judge said. "He can make them with his feet running.
"He’ll run through contact. He’s also the guy that you have to keep on covering throughout the down because when you think he’s running, that’s when he finds the open receiver and gets it down the field.
"He finds different ways of making plays, a lot of times maybe unconventionally. But he’s an effective player."
The Giants will have to adjust their defensive gameplan to account for Trubisky's versatile skill set and keep the young quarterback from making plays outside of the pocket on Sunday.
Leonard Williams Lays the Foundation for 2020
There's nothing better for a sack artist than to get that first sack out of the way.
Well, that's what defensive lineman Leonard Williams was able to do Monday night when he surpassed his entire 2019 sack total (half sack) by bringing down Roethlisberger at the end of the third quarter.
While Williams might not achieve the 16-sack total that he is on pace for in 2020, the sack and the fact he was so disruptive against the Steelers (he also had two hits and two tackles for a loss in that game) is no doubt a welcome development for the Giants defense.
"Getting a sack always feels good, regardless of the circumstances; it's one of the best plays as a defensive lineman that you can get," Williams said. "But at the same time, it's only one week. It's the first week of the season I'm not satisfied.
"I'm ready to keep working with the rest of my team, the rest of my defense, and the rest of the guys I'm rushing with to keep getting home."
Williams wasn't alone either, as second-year defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence recorded a sack of his own for the Giants' only other sack of the night.
The Giants rotated their defensive linemen throughout the night and played with a variety of different unconventional formations. On some plays, the Giants did not have anyone upfront with their hands in the ground.
Williams, who this off-season worked to improve his strength and anchor, played the most snaps of any of the Giants' defensive linemen (44 out of 64) and even with that workload. He credited that rotation with helping to keep him fresh throughout the game.
"I think everyone was able to stay fresh," he said. "I think it really contributed to how we worked in camp and how hard we worked and how much we focused on conditioning and I think it showed."
Another Offensive Line Test
The Giants offensive line won't be getting a break this week due to the quality of pass rushers it will face.
This weekend they'll see Khalil Mack and, if he's healthy enough to play, Robert Quinn.
"Their edge players definitely jump out at you. Quinn didn’t play last week. We know how talented he is. We have coaches in the building who have had personal experience with him, obviously, from his days in Dallas," Judge said.
"(Mack) is one of the top guys in the league for a reason. He has a high motor, he’s very productive, he’s explosive off the edge. He gives you a lot of issues,"
The Giants' offensive line had a mixed showing Monday night as they continue to jell and build chemistry in both run blocking and pass protection. Running back Saquon Barkley only managed six total rushing yards while quarterback Daniel Jones was sacked three times as part of 11 overall pressures.
The Giants tried to deploy their tight ends in the blocking game last week, but that didn't help much. So will the Giants try again with a similar approach if Judge and his staff view the Bears' defensive talent on par with the Steelers'
"Every game is going to be a little bit different. Obviously, there are talented guys on the edge for every team. Last week against Pittsburgh, that game is behind us now. We have similar talent on the edge this week," Judge said.
"Again, based on some of the calls that come out or some of the checks, they may change some alignments. Whatever we’re asked to do, we have to execute."