How the New York Giants should approach Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals

New York Giants, Wayne Gallman
Nov 29, 2020; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; New York Giants running back Wayne Gallman (22) celebrates his touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals during the first quarter at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants did something special against the Seattle Seahawks last weekend, trouncing them 17-12 in an improbable victory. During the contest, the Giants racked up five sacks and 10 quarterback hits, season highs in both categories, showing off their unique ability to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

However, the way they did it was pure genius, orchestrated by defensive coordinator Patrick Graham. The defense did things you will never see on film and other games, rushing four defenders, but all different positions.

At one point, I saw linebacker Tae Crowder, outside linebacker Carter Coughlin, interior defender Leonard Williams, and safety Xavier McKinney at the line of scrimmage. Often times, you will see a 3-4 or 4-3 base scheme, but Graham instituted one of the most diverse and unique game-plans seen in recent history.

In order to contain future Hall of Fame quarterback Russell Wilson, the Giants utilized spies to keep the pressure on at all times. Frequently, they would use twists and stunts on the defensive line to flush the interior to either side, opening up holes in the A-gap. This allowed players like Crowder and hovering safeties to blitz untouched and corral Wilson in the pocket. Even when Wilson escaped and rolled out to either side, they had spies locked up on the offensive tackles ready to spin off and make the play.

We saw this with Williams later on in the game, and Crowder flushed Wilson to the left side of the field, and Williams utilized a perfect spin move and caught the quarterback before he was able to round the edge.

Altogether, this was the perfect game plan against Seattle, and I expect to see plenty more of the same against the Arizona Cardinals and Kyler Murray. Look at this as a dress rehearsal for Murray, who is one of the more mobile quarterbacks in the NFL and has similar traits to Wilson. He’s a shorter quarterback, so filling the throwing lanes and putting bodies in his face will force him to flush from the pocket.

That is exactly what the Giants want to do, force Kyler to run the ball and hope the outside spies can take him down in the backfield. Ultimately, it is impossible to diagnose who the spies and blitzers are when everybody is moving at the line of scrimmage.

The New York Giants had multiple units clicking, and expect to see more of the same:

The defense wasn’t the only unit that performed well, as the offensive line for the New York Giants looked great, shifting bodies in the run game and hitting their double-teams. The rotation of Shane Lemieux and Will Hernandez has worked well in the run game, allowing the Giants to enjoy four consecutive games with 140+ rushing yards.

Running back Wayne Gallman has found his groove, and I estimate the Giants will continue to look to him to lead their rushing attack. Considering Seattle ranked third in rushing yards allowed per game going into week 13, Arizona ranks 22nd, indicating a great matchup for Big Blue.

Nonetheless, we can expect several things, the Giants to implement spies on nearly every play to contain Murray and flush him out of the pocket, and the reliance on the run game to waste time off the clock and dominate in the trenches.