5 New York Giants Who Need to Step Up Their Game Against Cleveland

Benjamin J. BlockCorrespondent IIOctober 3, 2012

Sep 30, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin along the sidelines during the third quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field.The Eagles defeated The Giants 19-17.  Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Tom Coughlin's clock-management blunder against the Philadelphia Eagles is not the biggest concern in Giants land; there are certain players that must step up, and it starts against the Cleveland Browns

It is worth mentioning how refreshing it is to see the progress that Giants fans have made, as there has been no clamoring for Coughlin to be fired after Sundays 19-17 loss. Some players are not as lucky to be on the fans' good side, especially some members of the vaunted defensive line.

As Jenny Vrentas of The Star-Ledger detailed, 17 of LeSean McCoy’s 23 runs, for 91 yards, were recorded as around the left or right end.

That kind of running success against the Giants line is unusual, which brings us to a pair of Giants that need to bring their A-game for the Browns.


Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora

Usually, there is nothing but good things to say about the two book-end defensive lineman. Shockingly, Tuck has struggled so far this season and is still searching for his first sack. He got exposed when trying to contain Michael Vick last week on more than one occasion.

Osi did manage to sack Vick once in the game, but he has struggled to contain the edge this season as well. He didn't deny this and expressed concern about the Giants ability to counter offenses' strategy.

Via NJ.com:

"There's really no counter for it, honestly," he said in an interview on ESPN Radio this afternoon. "Because if you blitz, obviously, we have some injuries in our secondary so you can't really commit too many people to a rush. If you don't do that then you're going to allow the teams to have more time because they're keeping more people in to protect."

"So it's a very difficult situation that we're in. It's a precarious situation, but at the end of the day it's on us, the defensive linemen, to find a way to make more plays."

Expect Tuck and Umenyiora to step up their game as they'll be licking their chops to take out their aggression on rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden this Sunday.


Prince Amukamara

The young cornerback got his first start last Sunday against the Eagles and did a decent job, but there is room for improvement.

The No. 19 pick of the 2011 draft has a lot more ground to make up before getting back into the good graces with Giants fans. 

He's been injured more than he's been on the field in his young career, and it's never been more paramount that he make his presence felt in the secondary this Sunday.

Kenny Phillips will be out for a few weeks with an MCL injury to his knee, so Prince needs to step up and hold court.


David Baas

Baas is in his second year with big blue, and he needs to start stepping his play up because it's apparent that he's still trying to find a comfort zone with this offense.

Simple things like snapping the ball to Eli Manning has been an adventure for Baas at times. Under his own admission, he needs to ensure that he knows every play like the back of his hand so he can focus more on his technique.

Speaking of his hand, his right hand is still swollen, but Baas is intent on practicing this week and playing on Sunday.


Ahmad Bradshaw

The emergence of Andre Brown has taken some of the focus off of Bradshaw, but a quarter of the season is over and it's time that Ahmad starts stepping it up.

While Bradshaw has been more effective as a play-action receiver, the absence of his imposing running game is being sorely missed.

35 rushes for 133 yards is simply not good enough.

The Browns' defensive line happens to be one of Cleveland's biggest strengths, but Bradshaw will have to start pulling his weight in the backfield.

These five players have clearly underachieved to this point in the season, and Coughlin will need their best efforts in order to beat a hungry and dangerous 0-4 Browns team.