Is Giants vs. Jets a rivalry?
It's a hot topic this week as players and coaches from both sides are peppered with the same question. Sure, they share the same stadium. But they only meet as often as the country votes for a president.
While Big Blue and Gang Green fans debate the merits of the inter-conference matchup that will be played on Sunday at MetLife Stadium, running back Shane Vereen has perspective on what a bona fide rivalry with the Jets looks like. He's a former Patriot.
"I don't really sense much of a rivalry, but I do sense this is a humongous game for both teams as far as where we want to get to at the end of the season, as far as our goals for continuing this season and just playing well," Vereen said. "I know, personally, we have a lot of things offensively -- goals -- that we need to get to and start playing better. So I think in that sense, it's a huge game for both teams."
Vereen saved some of his best performances for the AFC East counterparts throughout his four years in New England, racking up 356 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns in five games. The Patriots won all five outings, and Vereen notched receiving touchdowns from distances of 83 and 49 yards, which are the longest and third-longest of his career.
However, Vereen is now wearing a Giants jersey, and Todd Bowles is the head coach of the Jets -- not Rex Ryan. Still, not much has changed on the side of the ball Vereen will face.
Under Bowles, who, like Ryan, was a defensive coordinator before getting his first head coaching job, the Jets have the No. 3 defense in yards allowed and are No. 1 against the run. From 2009-2014, Ryan's Jets ranked first in passing yards allowed, first in yards allowed per play, and second in total yards allowed per game.
"To be honest, across the board, they're strong," Vereen said of the current personnel. "Starting from their front four, then you include the front seven, it gets even bigger, faster, stronger. And then their secondary is one of the best secondaries in the league, especially with [cornerback Darrelle] Revis back there. So you look at a defense from a lot of angles, and they've got a lot of ways they can attack you."
One of the main ways is by forcing offenses to abandon the run.
Check out players who have played on both the Giants and the Jets
Opponents have rushed the ball fewer than 20 times in five games this season, including 11 attempts by Miami in Week 4, nine by New England in Week 7, and nine again by Miami last week.
"A lot of things you see on tape from other offenses is they've got to find what works well against this defense because not everything is going to work well," Vereen said. "The way that they play, they're too good of a defense for everything, for you to have your full playbook open. They're going to take some stuff away. So what I've seen from other offenses is what have they used to continue to attack the defense and try to put points up."
1. HART PLAYS RIGHT TACKLE AS O-LINE RESHUFFLES
After placing guard Geoff Schwartz (fractured lower leg) on injured reserve on Tuesday, right tackle Marshall Newhouse missed Wednesday's practice with a back issue. That opened up the door for rookie Bobby Hart, the Giants' seventh-round draft pick who was thrust into his first NFL action on Sunday when Schwartz went down. Hart, who finished the Redskins game at right guard, practiced at right tackle today. Meanwhile, the Giants hope to get back starting center Weston Richburg (ankle) and left guard Justin Pugh (concussion) this week.
"Well, the hope is that they both make it," Coughlin said of Richburg and Pugh. "Whether that's realistic, I'll let you know. Today, I think, hopefully, Pugh will be able to go and feel better after practicing and then he can increase the workload the next day. And we'll do what we have to do on the right side. With Newhouse missing today, Hart will be in there, have an opportunity there. We'll see how Newhouse does tomorrow."
2. INJURY REPORT
Photos from Wednesday's Giants practice
TE Larry Donnell (neck), S Brandon Meriweather (knee) and right tackle Marshall Newhouse (back) did not participate in practice. DE Robert Ayers Jr. (toe), LB Devon Kennard (hamstring/foot), LG Justin Pugh (concussion) and C Weston Richburg (ankle) were limited. DE Jason Pierre-Paul (hand) practiced fully.
3. JPP LOOKS FOR HIS FIRST SACK
Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul appeared on the injury report today because of soreness in the hand that he severely injured in a July 4 fireworks accident. However, he was able to do everything in practice as he looks for his first sack in his fourth game back. Pierre-Paul had two of the Giants' five sacks on Mark Sanchez in their last meeting in 2011, but the 2015 Jets are tied for first in fewest sacks allowed with just 14.
"Look, I'm still trying to get a sack myself," Pierre-Paul said. "I'm not even worried about that. How I feel, I'm going to go out there and give my best game. That's how I'm going to play the game, giving my best game, and I know about the d-linemen behind me, so I'm going to play at a high level and they're going to play at a high level."