Robert Griffin III is fast, but Giants say they're up to the chase
Prince Amukamara is the only Giant who has ever faced Robert Griffin III on a football field. The starting cornerback was a sophomore at Nebraska and faced the true-freshman quarterback in the days before his Heisman Trophy, sandwich commercials and cool nickname.
Still, there was one thing Amukamara said he recalled about facing the Baylor phenom. "All I remember is he was just fast," Amukamara said Wednesday.
The fastest quarterback he's ever faced? "Oh yeah," he said. "By far."
This week the Giants are facing Griffin and the Redskins, getting ready for the speed and quickness he brings to the position and the way he has "energized their offense," to use a phrase of Tom Coughlin's. They've faced Michael Vick. They've faced Cam Newton. But Griffin presents challenges that they have not seen before. For many of them, it will be the first time seeing his world-class speed in person. Until Sunday, almost all of their assessment of his running will be through watching film, and that can make it difficult because, as Justin Tuck said: "It's hard to tell how fast he is because I haven't seen him get caught."
The Giants call their fast pass-rushing alignment NASCAR, but a quarterback like Griffin, if he can get outside, can make them look more like go-karts. Not that the Giants are shying away from the blazing quarterback. "He's a very fast cat," Jason Pierre-Paul conceded, but issued a warning for Griffin. "[But] trust me, we chase quarterbacks all the time. We turn and run to the guy no matter what. He may get past us and zoom right past us, but trust me we're right behind him . . . It's not all about the speed. We've got 11 guys who can run to the ball."
JPP also had a warning for RGIII: "Don't bring it on my side," he said. "Don't bring it. Go the other way."
To prepare for Griffin, the Giants have had wide receiver Jerrel Jernigan split reps on the scout team with backup quarterback David Carr. Jernigan, who played the role of Colin Kaepernick last week, has the speed to best emulate Griffin's and is running most of the options and rollouts. Carr, who is a mobile quarterback himself but nothing in the realm of Griffin -- he dubbed himself "RG minus-5" this week, in relationship to Griffin's RGIII -- has been performing the more traditional passing plays.
Getting ready for a quarterback of Griffin's ilk used to be an odd occurrence. Now, with the increase in fleet-footed quarterbacks, it's become the new normal for defenses.
"You didn't see it [previously]," Coughlin said. "Now, fortunately, you do a little work in the offseason to get yourself started on it. It's not all a game-week type of decision, but yeah, you've got to defend what the opponent does, and that's what two or three teams in the league are doing now."
The Giants do, in fact, face a lot of quarterbacks with somewhat similar skill sets. Including Vick. "It's amazing that [Tony] Romo is the least mobile quarterback in the NFC East that I get to play," Tuck said.
On Sunday, he'll face the most mobile. Most dangerous. Perhaps. "He's a game-changer," Tuck said. "They haven't had a game-changer at quarterback in a while, and he's that. He's still young, though, so I don't know how much of a game-changer he's going to be. But he definitely makes it difficult on defenses."