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Coughlin: Making The Case for Tampa

Tom Coughlin on Sunday’s matchup in Tampa Bay:

First of all, as I told our team, do not be misled by the record of Tampa Bay. In the fourth quarter in both games – the Dallas game is 20-14 with 11 minutes and some seconds left in the fourth quarter. And Buffalo, it is 23-14. They rushed the ball for 174 against Dallas. Anybody that can do that – and we just finished playing them – can rush the football. And they were disappointed at only 19 rushes against Buffalo and felt like they lost their balance because of really being behind 14-10 early on. And so they were disappointed in that. But they have got all kinds of big play capabilities. Their running game is strong with (Carnell) Williams and Derrick Ward. So the big play capability down the field, of course, is enhanced more if Bryant plays. I don’t know much about that situation right now. But to be able to play a kid like (Maurice) Stovall, who only had three plays down the field, is pretty impressive.

They are aggressive. They run extremely well on the defensive side of the ball. They have good special teams, a Pro Bowl player, punt returner, kickoff returner in (Clifton) Smith. So they do have multiple weapons and they have played two games which were very tight. In the first game – you look at Leftwich, there wasn’t a sack, and there wasn’t an interception. The guy threw for, I believe, 276 and they rushed for 174. They are averaging 401 yards a game. And they are 0-2. So it doesn’t quite fit. It doesn’t quite jive together. And our team has always focused on the next opponent and studying as hard we can to prepare for a team which is a good football team, has played two games extremely competitively and lost both games.

True to Tom Coughlin’s character — he’s made a nice little argument here as to why the Giants need to prepare for a grueling battle down in Tampa. It’s true — the Bucs can move the ball down field effectively and systematcially, and they can put some points up on the board. Byron Leftwich is a very stable and accurate passer, yes slow at times but he can be dangerously efficient. We know about the running game – Cadillac coming off a major knee injury looking to impress this year, and we especially know the capabilities of “Windy” Ward.

A quick aside – Does anyone really care that Ward’s gone? I know about the Giants having issues running the ball this year, but I personally like Ahmad Bradshaw in the #2 slot – he’s faster, just as powerful, and can be more explosive when he rips off huge gains that can shake out at any moment. They used Ward to catch a ton of balls out of the backfield last year — I see Bradshaw really shining in this area but we haven’t seen a whole lot of that. I look to this weekend as an opportunity for Bradshaw to emerge as a huge threat, particularly because he’ll have more to prove playing against the guy who used to hold his slot on the depth chart.

Anyway — Tampa Bay does have weapons at their disposal, and this test on Sunday should not be taken lightly. Think about the Cleveland massacre last year that tarnished the Giants perfect record. We expected the Giants to roll all over the dawg pound, and the Giants were the ones who came out licking their wounds.  Keep that lesson in mind as we head into Florida this weekend, Tom Coughlin seems to be with good reason.

One game at a time, that’s the Coughlin way.

To see more from Coughlin – view the transcript in it’s entirety here.

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