Giants Coordinator Corner: The nightmare of trying to stop Lamar Jackson

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John Fennelly
·4 min read
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The New York Giants (5-9), losers of two straight, head down to Baltimore to face the Ravens (9-5) who are on a three-game winning streak. As on most Thursdays, the Giants’ three coordinators address the media.

The offense was run by tight ends coach Freddie Kitchens last week while coordinator Jason Garrett was dealing with COVID-19. Kitchens again pinched hit for Garrett, who is expected to resume calling the offensive plays this Sunday.

“Jason’s our play caller, our offensive coordinator,” said Kitchens. “I would direct all of those questions to Joe (Judge). We’re looking forward to getting Jason back. He’s been in every Zoom meeting with us. We don’t have a meeting without him. He’s kind of our leader on offense. I would direct all those speculative questions, not to dismiss it by any chance, to Joe. But we’re looking forward to Jason coming back.”

Special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey’s units have been under-performing the past month which is uncharacteristic for him. That won’t preclude him from being considered for any head coaching opportunities that may arise after the season. After all, Joe Judge and this week’s counterpart, John Harbaugh, were both special teams coaches.

“My thing is I take care of the job I have,” McGaughey said in response to the prospect of taking the leap to the head coaching ranks. “I try and do the best possible job with the job that I have. The one thing that I’ve always learned in this coaching profession, all the jobs you ever chase, you never get. You take care of the one that you have and the next one will jump in your lap. I’m not worried about trying to chase a head coaching position.

“In God’s time, I will get what I want. I’ll just take care of the one I have now. Take care of the job that I have. Try to do the best that I can every day helping this team get better. If that opportunity comes, then it comes. If it doesn’t come, I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing.”

The Giants’ defense will be facing the unenviable task of stopping quarterback Lamar Jackson and the Ravens’ league-leading rushing attack. Baltimore averages 172.7 yards per game on the ground and have ramped that up the past three weeks, averaging 228 YPG.

The Giants have the sixth-best rushing defense in the NFL but have been giving up twenty-plus yards above their season average the last three games.

“You can try to turn him into a pocket passer,” defensive coordinator Patrick Graham said when asked how he planned on containing Jackson. “He’s faster than everybody else on the field. You have to start there. He’s faster than everybody else on the field. You want to take away what he does best, that’s what we’re going to try to do. Whether it’s keeping him in the pocket, making him roll to the right, left, whatever it may be. We have to take away what he does best. If he is going to beat us, have him beat us left-handed.

“He’s so dynamic, if I say okay let’s keep him in the pocket, if he decides he wants to go back 20 yards and get around our pocket, he can do that. You’ve seen it on tape. We just have to try and make him play left-handed and figure out the best way to do that. Whether it’s contain him in the pocket, force him one way or another, have somebody spy mirror him. We’re still working through that.

“Third down is a big day there. That’s where you get some of the passing game showing up a little bit more consistently. We’re working through that today. Unfortunately for you guys, I’ll have a better idea tonight than now. We’re going to try our best to limit what he does best. That’s what we’re going to try to do.”

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