NFL Wire News

Giants ready for physical Rams


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — On Sunday, New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin will bring his team into St. Louis to face a Rams team that despite its 6-8 record can present a lot of headaches.

“I see a very (physical) team. This is a team you are going to have to fight four quarters, four and a half, five quarters, as long as it takes,” safety Antrel Rolle said. “They are very schematic in what they do and they are going to come at you.”

On offense, the Rams’ best playmakers include rookie running back Tre Mason, who leads the team with 661 yards on 155 carries, and tight end Jared Cook, who has 556 yards on 44 receptions.

“(Mason) is a dynamic player. He runs the ball hard and their offensive line is a physical group, and I think that’s where it all starts,” Giants linebacker Devon Kennard said. “We’re going to have our hands full with them.”

Kennard said Cook does a nice job of slipping through the cracks in the defense.

“You have to know where he’s at all times and be ready to cover him and make plays,” he said.

Defensively, the Rams are led by defensive end Robert Quinn and rookie defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who have combined for 18 1/2 of the Rams’ 26 sacks this season and who are part of a unit that hasn’t given up a touchdown in 12 quarters.

“They have a good defense; it is not just their front seven,” quarterback Eli Manning said. “Their defensive backs are playing well and are aggressive. They have done a great job of getting to the quarterback lately (and) stopping the run. They’ll get complex and show you a lot of different looks, so you have a lot of preparation to do.”

Manning said the Giants are preparing for the possibility that Quinn and Donald will be moved around on passing downs.

“They will move them around a little bit, especially on third down; they will move some guys around and try to get some one-on-one matchups,” he said. “For the most part, you know where they are going to be and they are good players. They don’t need a whole lot of help.”

Another thing the Giants will have to be wary of is the Rams’ tendency to try trickery on special teams.

One of the most basic tricks this season came against Seattle, who on a punted ball saw their defenders flow to the right where Rams receiver Tavon Austin was supposedly tracking the ball. Meanwhile, the ball had actually gone to the other side where receiver Stedman Bailey took the return to the house for a 90-yard score to help upset the Seahawks 28-26.

The Rams also take advantage of punter Johnny Hekker’s background. The former college quarterback has completed 5 of 6 pass attempts since 2012, including two this season.

He has fooled the Seahawks twice, throwing a 2-yard touchdown pass on a fake field goal in the Rams’ 19-13 win in 2012 and sealing the win this season with a throw for a first down on fourth down late in the game.

“They have an exceptional punter in that he was a scout-team quarterback at Oregon State,” Coughlin said. “He throws the ball very well, so they do have that ability.”

When it is all said and done, Coughlin and his players say they’re expecting a hard-fought battle.

“The expectation is of a very physical football game,” Coughlin said. “(Rams coach) Jeff Fisher is an excellent football coach.”

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