The New York Giants have one of the most proficient and powerful running attacks in NFL history. Their 5.3 yards-per-carry is the highest in the NFL by nearly a full yard and the highest since 1963, when Jim Brown was running over people in Cleveland.
That being said, it was no surprise when the Giants shredded, mowed, and flattened the Ravens' defense for not just 100, but 207 yards. That was the most surrendered by Baltimore in 11 seasons. It was a TKO of the highest order. This Giants' running game is something special, even if you know beforehand what's coming.
Before we break down the group that has become known as Earth, Wind, and Fire let's examine the whole package:
The Giants' running game starts with their offensive line...where else? They have had great consistency from their front five for nearly four seasons now. Teams kill for this kind of O-line play. C Shaun O'Hara, G Chris Snee and Rich Seubert, and OT Kareem McKenzie and David Diehl have become the league's most formidable group. To date, none of them have been to a Pro Bowl. That's about to change, no doubt.
The fullback is Madison Hedgecock, a huge body that slams linebackers and secondary personnel like pinballs. The tight ends, Kevin Boss, Darcy Johnson, and Michael Mathews have all been tutored in the fine art of TE blocking by guru/coach Mike Pope and all do their job well.
Complementing the running attack is one of the NFL's most explosive passing games. Eli Manning has a great cadre of receivers at his disposal: Plaxico Burress, Amani Toomer, Steve Smith, Sinorice Moss, and Mario Manningham are as good as group you will find. Add Boss, who can get the yards-after-catch that teams hope for when they draft a TE, to the mix and you have one more guy to worry about.
The running game strategy is simple. Brandon Jacobs, a 6'4", 270 lb monster, starts the game by ramming towards your secondary. Once he gets the line of scrimmage, you are on the wrong end of the league's biggest mismatch.
When he gets tired, Derrick Ward, an excellent inside runner with several gears, comes in to slice away at your tired front seven. When he's done, Ahmad Bradshaw, a runner from the Terrell Davis/Emmitt Smith/Barry Sanders school, comes in and begins to fly through the cracks in your defense gaining huge chunks of yardage.
Should you by some divine intervention put a halt to this downhill parade, the Giants will gladly test your secondary with that receiver corps of theirs.
If a defensive coordinator, how do you prepare for this team?
The answer is you don't.
You would need 14-15 players on the field to shut it down completely. You can't out-physical them or out-finesse them. You can't shut it all down, you just have to hope Eli coughs it up a few times. If that dosen't happen...you're gonna lose.
Good luck everyone.