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Giants Vs. Rams Preview: When St. Louis Has The Ball

(Sports Network) – Sam Bradford put forth a terrific debut season that culminated in the 2010 No. 1 overall draft pick taking home NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors, but his sophomore campaign didn’t exactly start with a splash. Prior to getting hurt, the 23-year-old completed just 17-of-30 passes for 188 yards and no touchdowns against the Eagles, while also losing a fumble that was returned for a score. To be fair, Bradford did have to deal with a persistent Philadelphia pass rush that produced four sacks, and he’s still learning all the nuances of a new offense now coordinated by ex-Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels. Losing the sure-handed Danny Amendola, who amassed 85 receptions out of the slot a year ago, is a big blow, with unproven rookie Greg Salas now stepping into that spot alongside the inconsistent wideout tandem of Brandon Gibson (3 receptions, 50 yards last week) and offseason pickup Mike Sims-Walker (1 reception). Steven Jackson’s shoes may be a little easier to fill, as backup Cadillac Williams is a capable veteran who rushed for 91 yards on 19 attempts in a substitute role last week. The oft-injured former Buccaneer is also an asset as a receiver, as evidenced by his five-catch, 49-yard output against the Eagles.

A New York secondary that’s without both Terrell Thomas and promising rookie cornerback Prince Amukamara (broken foot) had its lack of depth exposed in the opener, with Washington quarterback Rex Grossman completing nearly 62 percent of his throws and surpassing the 300-yard plateau. Mounting a steady pass rush is therefore critical to the Giants’ chances of success, and getting Justin Tuck — who’s posted double-digit sack totals in three of the past four years — back alongside emerging young end Jason Pierre-Paul (6 tackles) should bring a boost to that area. The latter had two sacks of Grossman this past week and has compiled 6 1/2 over his last seven games dating back to last season. The defense did a better job in containing the run in Week 1, holding the Redskins’ Tim Hightower to a pedestrian 72 yards on 25 attempts, with rookie Greg Jones (4 tackles) doing an admirable job stepping in for the injured Goff at middle linebacker and active safety Kenny Phillips contributing a team-high nine tackles from his backfield spot. The Giants also registered four sacks on the afternoon and placed fifth in the NFL (46) in that category in 2010.