New York Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo tried this week to put a positive spin on the Giants' difficulty thus far in covering short passes to opposing running backs.
"I could tell you this, that until that was brought to my attention, it wasn't something that we were sitting there saying we're struggling covering the back. Maybe, I'd like to think this, I'd like to think that the ball is going to the back more often because we're doing something better down field," Spagnuolo said. "And there is an emphasis we talk about all the time that we're going to play deep to short. We're not going to allow the deeper throws to be completed. Now I think we can do better at that than we have."
Here are other takeaways from Spagnuolo's weekly meeting with Giants reporters.
Losing Prince Amukamara is "challenging"
"Although we have a lot of confidence in Hosley. Jayron, he's a good football player and we felt good about him when he went in and played against Atlanta when DRC was hurt. But I look at it, that weakens you a lot of different ways: special teams, depth at corner, it affects the nickel spot. So there's a trickle down anytime you lose one of your top guys, especially on the edges when it's really important in this day and age in football. That'll hurt us a little bit from depth, special teams, but we have a lot of confidence in Jayron going in there."
On the importance of Brandon Meriweather
"Yeah, I love that guy. He loves football, he's into it, he's really smart. He'll come over all the time. When he first got here, I had to calm him down a little bit because he had a lot of—I mean he's played a lot of football, been in a lot of different systems, but now that he has a little comfort level, he's great to bounce things off. I always believe in checking with guys that actually play the game, whether you put something in new or decide to do things a certain way. And he's great that way and he's good for the other players. He's played a lot of football, his experience has been good for us."
Has Meriweather, with a reputation for playing outside the rules, changed?
"It's hard for me to say that there's a change. You know like I know what you're talking about and that's in the past, but it's not like I watched every play that Brandon played. I don't know if those were just isolated plays, but look, we believe in aggressive football players, we don't believe in hurting people. But I think Brandon has played some good football for us and, again, I think the most important thing he's brought to us is he's able to settle things down, he's a smart football player, he's had a lot of experience, so that's been valuable. Really valuable."
Sam Bradford "different challenge than Tyrod Taylor, Colin Kaepernick
"It's a different challenge now. So a guy can beat you with his feet, now Sam, I look at him, can beat you with his arm. So you do some things different that way, but anytime you play a quarterback who can sit there and pick you apart because he's actually a good football player, you've got to find ways to what we say, ‘get him off the spot,' so he can't get settled in there. So we'll be trying to do that and I'm sure they'll be trying to find ways for us not to do that. That will be the game within the game."
On substituting vs. the Eagles fast-paced offense
"I'm hoping the officials help us and he's where I'm going with that. By rule, by rule, when they change people -- I'm talking about the Eagles -- we're supposed to be allowed the opportunity to get our personnel in there. Does that always happen that way in the game? (Laughs) Not always. So you've got to make a decision, we were talking about it this morning. You know when you want to match personnel and they get them in pretty quick and you're half a second behind and now you're relying on the officials to do it right and it's hard, hard for them, hard for us."