It’s been 13 years since the New York Giants started a season 3-0. After numerous changes to the coaching staff, and personnel moves, it appears the Giants have the right men in place to end that dubious distinction.
With the Giants sitting at an impressive 2-0 mark in the Brian Daboll era, the defense itself has led the charge by confusing well known quarterbacks on their way to a top-10 start. Ryan Tannehill and Baker Mayfield were left flummoxed by the Giants new scheme under Wink Martindale.
But Monday night’s contest against the Dallas Cowboys will be a much different contest, with a far different foe.
With Dak Prescott continuing to recover from a broken hand, Dallas has turned to Cooper Rush to help lead the team in their high-priced quarterback’s absence. Rush has made only two starts in his NFL career but has won both with high precision passing (over 60% completion percentage) and an ability to make the right reads at the right time.
After the Cowboys 20-17 walk-off win against the Cincinnati Bengals, Rush’s performance has been lauded by some of the best defensive coordinators in the game.
“This guys a proven winner. He’s a smooth operator. He doesn’t usually get rattled.” Giants defensive coordinator Wink Martindale before Thursday’s practice.
Preparing for a player with just two starts under his belt offers a unique challenge to any team facing him. The New York Giants are more than eager to accept the challenge Monday night.
“It’s unusual, but he’s done a great job as a starting guy. He takes care of the football. It’s a little different than preparing for Dak, but at the same time we have to respect who he is.” Julian Love said after Thursday’s practice.
Top Giants corner, Adoree Jackson echoed Love’s comments by adding “I feel like for us it’s just about us keeping focus on our technique and our assignment…not trying to get too much outside the frame or thinking about other things, but just doing our job.”
New York’s secondary will be tested by Ceedee Lamb. After receiving minimal targets on opening night with Dak Prescott, the Oklahoma star caught seven passes for 75 yards with Cooper Rush in Dallas’ win. It will be up to Jackson, Love and the rest of the Giants defense to half the connection between Rush and Lamb.
The secondary isn’t the only group that is expected to get a heavy workload on Monday, though. With Rush not having the same mobility as Prescott, the importance of getting a consistent pass rush is paramount for a Giants’ win. With the expected additions of Kayvon Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojulari on Monday, the pass rush could be even better than it has been through two weeks.
“He’s (Rush) a good quarterback. We have to come in. It’s the same scheme. We just have to do what we do, and execute as a defense and get the job done.” Azeez Ojulari said.
Oshane Ximines agreed with Ojulari’s sentiments adding “We just are looking to be aggressive. We’re going to come out and do us.”
New York has struggled against the Dallas Cowboys as of late winning just four of their last 14 contests against their hated rival. The latest win though came on a 23-19 victory when Dak was gone for the year with a broken ankle, while the Giants were able to make Andy Dalton miserable.
Cooper Rush isn’t Andy Dalton, but in order for the Giants to win on Monday, they’ll need to make sure they handle the new rising star in Dallas. It appears the team is eager for the new opportunity.
For more New York Giants news, turn to AMNY.com