Brees aside, Giants prepare for Saints RBs, too

There’s more to the New Orleans Saints offense than Drew Brees

these days, and the New York Giants know it.

While ranked 27th in the league in rushing, the Saints have a

four-headed run attack that has averaged nearly 120 yards in the

last five games.

If Pierre Thomas, Darren Sproles, Chris Ivory and Mark Ingram

get going on Sunday at MetLife Stadium, Brees is going to have

another big game and the Giants (7-5) may not find themselves alone

in first place in the NFC East afterward.

The Giants have been shaky against the run of late. Washington

gained 207 yards rushing last week with running back Alfred Morris

and quarterback Robert Griffin III combining for 196. The Redskins

gained 151 in the second half.

In four of New York’s losses, the opposition has rushed for at

least 100.

”A lot of people talk about their pass game and that’s what a

lot of people focus on,” Giants linebacker Michael Boley said.

”But they run the ball very well. They have four backs that can

run it and they do a good job of putting those guys in good

situations.”

Coach Tom Coughlin said the Saints also have a big offensive

line that can open holes as well as protect Brees.

”We’ve been victimized by that before,” Coughlin said. ”They

rush the ball very well and the fullback (Jed Collins) is a good

player.”

Linebacker-defensive lineman Mathias Kiwanuka said some of the

pre-play responsibility in defending opponents falls to veteran

cornerback Corey Webster. It’s his job to see who is coming on and

off the field and to call it out to the defense. If Sproles is in

the game, for example, there’s a good chance he’d be an option for

a pass out of the backfield.

”I don’t want to repeat myself, but it’s the same thing: You

have to stop the run. You have to defend the pass and you have to

get to the quarterback,” Kiwanuka said. ”If you don’t stop the

run, no team is going to throw the ball. But they are very

effective at both. It all comes back to us as a defensive squad. If

we play the way we can and everybody plays with the intensity we

had a few weeks ago, we’ll be fine.”

The Saints, who likely need to win out to have a postseason

chance, have had their way offensively with the Giants recently.

They posted a 48-27 win in 2009 and ripped New York 49-24 last

season. Brees threw eight touchdowns and no interceptions in those

wins.

”I wanted to forget about that game because they kicked the

(stuffing) out of us,” Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell

said of last year’s contest. ”We have a chance to defend them this

time and we’re doing everything that we possibly can, watching as

much tape, getting as many tips as we can in order to be able to

compete with these guys this year.

”They have a very good football team.”

Fewell said the game was so bad that he didn’t even want to

watch the tape. But Webster did.

”I use that film to get better, move forward and see what we

can use to help us be a better team this time around,” he said.

”Many mistakes that we made last year, hopefully we can correct

and don’t make those same mistakes. Any tip or tendency we can get

from what they’re doing that will help us in this game, I’m going

to use that.”

Make no mistake, the Saints still rely on the pass. Brees has

thrown for a league-high 31 touchdowns to go along with 16

interceptions. But Boley said no matter what Brees has done, the

principles of defense do not change.

”You have to read run first,” he said. ”That’s with any team.

If you are thinking pass first, you are going to be back on your

heels and they are going to pound the ball at you.”

Defensive tackle Chris Canty said if the Saints can run the

ball, it will slow down the Giants pass rush. Webster concurs.

”We have to stop the run,” he said. ”It all starts up front.

If you don’t stop the run, it makes the pass game a lot easier.

That will be a big challenge this week.”

NOTES: LB Jacquian Williams seems ready to play for the first

time since a knee injury vs. San Francisco on Oct. 14. …S Tyler

Sash (hamstring) and TE Travis Beckum (knee) won’t play Sunday. …

S Kenny Phillips (knee) is doubtful, while WR Hakeem Nicks (knee)

is questionable after being limited in practice on Friday.

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