Tom Coughlin vs. Steve Spagnuolo
Aside from both teams looking for their first win, the major storyline heading into Monday night is Steve Spagnuolo's return to face his former team. Spagnuolo was the Giants defensive coordinator for the 2007 and '08 seasons, helping the team to a victory in Super Bowl XLII. Spagnuolo took over as head coach of the Rams in 2009, and during Thursday's conference call he talked about his relationship with Tom Coughlin.
"Tom and I, we talk a great number of times now that we are updated into this century; we text to keep up with each other. I am very close to Tom. Typically here, if something comes up and I need another opinion on how it has been done or what somebody thinks, I immediately pick up the phone and talk to coach Coughlin. He is a great resource and has always been terrific with that. Coach has never been one to try to hide anything for a competitive edge. He has always been one to share. He has some great insights and has been doing it for a long time. I respect that and really appreciate it."
RB Ahmad Bradshaw vs. MLB James Laurinaitis
Last week, the Redskins limited the Giants to 75 yards on the ground on 20 carries (3.8 avg.). Bradshaw had 13 carries for 44 yards and a touchdown, while Brandon Jacobs only touched the ball six times for 29 yards. On the difficulties of maintaining the ground game, Bradshaw said it was more about what the Redskins were giving the Giants on defense with seven or eight men in the box. Meanwhile, middle linebacker James Laurinaitis and his Rams gave up 236 yards rushing in Week 1. The blitz-heavy Rams will surely be trying to remedy those numbers on Monday night against the Giants.
MLB Greg Jones vs. RB Cadillac Williams
With injuries to the defense, Greg Jones has been thrown into the spotlight along with the other three rookie linebackers on the Giants' roster. In his first NFL game, starting at middle linebacker, Jones had four tackles and helped the Giants hold the Redskins to 74 yards rushing on 26 carries (2.8 avg.). While three-time Pro Bowler Steven Jackson is expected to be out for the Rams with a quad injury, Jones will still have his hands full with Cadillac Williams, who took over and rushed for 91 yards, as well as catching six passes for 49 yards.
DE Jason Pierre-Paul vs. T Rodger Saffold
The Rams gave up five sacks to the Eagles last week (Sam Bradford was sacked four times and backup quarterback A.J. Feeley once), and the Giants had four of their own without Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora. Jason Pierre-Paul had a pair and will take on another second-year player in left tackle Rodger Saffold. A 6-foot-4, 323-pound second-round draft pick out of Indiana, Saffold started all 16 games as a rookie last season.
T Kareem McKenzie vs. DE Chris Long
Another battle of tackles will be veteran right tackle Kareem McKenzie against Rams defensive end Chris Long, who had a sack and two QB hits in Week 1. The Giants, who gave up the fewest amount of sacks in 2010, gave up four in the season opener. Meanwhile, Long's sack totals have steadily increased in each of the three years he has played. Now in his fourth NFL season, Long had 8.5 in 2010. Long also had four tackles and a sack in his only game against the Giants as rookie in 2008.
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