Now in his third season at the helm, Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo makes his first return trip to his old team on Monday night as St. Louis squares off with Tom Coughlin and the Giants.
Coughlin and his former defensive coordinator (2007-08) keep in touch as much as two NFL coaches have time for. Coughlin said during Wednesday's press conference that they look for each other at league meetings and text each other at the start of the season to say "good luck."
Spagnuolo is getting a fill of his old division early and often this season. The Rams open up with three NFC East teams in the first four weeks, including the season-opening loss to the Philadelphia Eagles last weekend.
"They're a physical football team," Coughlin said of the Rams-Eagles game. "I don't know whether it's categorized as an NFC East, but it looked like an NFC East battle – that type of game."
The Rams fell, 31-13, and lost starting running back Steven Jackson, while quarterback Sam Bradford was also injured. Cadillac Williams replaced Jackson and rushed for 91 yards on 19 carries and caught six passes for another 49.
"It was a very physical game, without a doubt," Coughlin said. "Both teams rushed the ball very well. Eventually Michael Vick took off and made 97 yards and LeSean McCoy had 122 yards against them. But really McCoy's run was a long one towards the end of the game. It was a very physical game. Both teams got after the quarterback -- five (Eagles) and three (Rams) sacks. So they played a very physical game. We played a very physical game, and now we're excited about getting ready for Monday night."
There's no doubt coach "Spags" brought his defensive mindset to St. Louis – among other things.
"He's the head coach so he has all those hats to wear, but there's no question he has his hand on the defensive side but I'm sure offense as well," Coughlin said. "Special teams as well, they're an aggressive special teams outfit."
Five Giants were on Wednesday's injury report: Prince Amukamara (foot), Travis Beckum (hamstring), Hakeem Nicks (knee), Justin Tuck (neck) and Osi Umenyiora (knee).
Coughlin said Nicks will not practice today and that tests revealed the injury to be a bone bruise. Nicks will be day-to-day but is making "pretty good progress."
While Umenyiora is out, Tuck will be limited in practice as the team works in shells today. Coughlin was then asked what will be missed if Tuck cannot go for the second straight week.
"Leadership ability. Pass rush. Where do you want me to stop?" Coughlin said.
He then pointed out the efforts of defensive ends Dave Tollefson (who had a sack against the Redskins), Jason Pierre-Paul, who "rose up when he had to," and Justin Trattou.
"They're playing hard," Coughlin said. "There's no ifs, ands, or buts about that. But you're talking just about reinforcements of a very, very high quality."