If defensive coordinator Patrick Graham is working on a secret cornback cloning machine, now would be a good time to unveil it.
Like the last time the Giants learned to face the Cowboys, um Michael Ree Cooper completes pro bowler James Bradberry gluing only when Michael Gallup and CD Lamb are also No. 1-caliber wide receivers.
“These three guys could fit into the label of being the top receiver and feature matchup person for the team,” said Giants coach Judge.
What is the difference between the three of the cowboys? The statistics tell part of the story, as Cooper, Gallup and Lamb are responsible for catches in 21 games, 2,759 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns in 15 games. Giants leader Darius Slaton will be fourth among the Cowboys in achieving yards.
“You get a lot of receivers in the league who are probably big, fast targets who are downfield dangers. Then you get other people who are probably the small type, the quick ones who get caught and make threats, ”the judge said.
“They all have good sizes, they have very good speed, they can build their speed and catch their speed on the field, they have good hands to make fight catches, but they do exceptional work to lengthen plays.”
The play’s latest play tapes remain fresh in the judge’s mind: Cooper on the slant, Gallup on the screen, settling in the middle of the lamb. All big profits without the risk of big shots.
You might think of running Ezekiel Elliott first when it comes to Cowboy offense, but it’s the acquired corps that makes such a difficult matchup for the Giants in more than one way.
“They’re getting all this praise, are they blocking?” Graham said. “The thing that shows me is what’s going on there and blocking.”
And they are rewarded by the air. Bradberry stopped Cooper in 5 meetings of the week, but Lamb had eight catches for 124 yards and Gallup covered 57 yards to set a winning target.
“This is a special group,” said safety Xavier McKinney. “We’re going into a game ready and ready for a dog fight.”
McKinney missed the first rivalry game after foot surgery, but is now part of the Giants’ secondary power: three safety rotations with Gabriel Papers and Logan Ryan.
McKinney is in more slots than expected before his training camp injury, although teammate Rookie Darnay Holmes (knee) tends to return after missing three straight games.
McKinney and Lamb once beat Oklahoma in Alabama, Mexico, in the college football playoff national semifinals earlier, despite Lamb catching eight passes for 109 yards from Killer Murray.
“I always thought he was a great receiver,” McKinney said. “It was definitely a problem to deal with in college.”
Graham has relied on zone coverage in disguise to save his inexperienced Cornbachs, but the quarterbacks are starting to find weak spots. There is nothing that PV Andy Dalton has not seen.
“Andy is very smart to understand where he needs to go with the ball,” the judge said. “It simply came to our notice then. Most of his passes have actually been completed within 20 yards. But that doesn’t mean it’s not an explosive game. “