While the Giants pass rush will most certainly be a focus for Bill Belichick and his offensive staff, the very talented Giants receiving corps is also a concern. Cruz, Manningham and Nicks are one of the top trios in the league with all three capable of the big play. But I believe Belichick will employ a similar tactic to the one he utilized in Super Bowl XXV as defensive coordinator of the Giants when they squeaked past the Bills 20-19.
James Lofton had a huge playoff run that first Super Bowl year for the Bills, but Andre Reed was still Jim Kelly’s go-to guy that allowed for quick passing over the middle. Victor Cruz works similar routes in the middle of the field and has shown great run after the catch ability as well. In Super Bowl XXV Belichick at times would put a linebacker on Reed and they’d smash the heck out of him off the line of scrimmage.
Any chance they got to put a lick on him they’d bury him, even on run plays. Reed had eight catches in Super Bowl XXV, but they went for a pedestrian 62 yards, with a 20-yard catch on a 2nd-and-11 his longest in the game. Afterwards Reed said it was the hardest he had ever been hit in a game.
I think Victor Cruz, knowing how much Manning depends on him in the pass game, should expect a lot of linebacker attention off the line and better have his head on a swivel because the Patriots are going to try to intimidate him physically in this one.
Tags: Andre Reed, Bill Belichick, Super Bowl XLVI, Super Bowl XXV, Victor Cruz
Posted in Inside the Bills