CHARLOTTE – Preparing for the Panthers versatile offensive attack is a significant challenge under normal circumstances.
A short week can make things even more problematic.
"It's difficult there's no doubt," Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said in a conference call Tuesday. "You spend all kinds of time in the offseason studying and putting together schemes. Then you get the regular season and perhaps a preseason game, and you try to do the same thing, and it ends up a (short) week like this where really little (practice) is full speed.
"You may have people in position, but you really are not going to know until you get into the game."
The Giants are preparing for a Carolina offense that found its groove on the ground in Week 2. The Panthers rushed for 219 yards against the Saints, utilizing the zone-read effectively on several big running plays, where quarterback Cam Newton has the option to keep the ball or hand it to one of his running backs.
"Not only are they looking to read certain individuals in a defensive front, they're also setting up other things by the reaction," Coughlin said of the Panthers' zone read attack. "And when you have a couple of obvious runners with the ability of (DeAngelo) Williams and (Jonathan) Stewart it puts even more pressure on you, because you're not going to arm tackle those guys."
When Carolina's running game is successful, it opens up the passing game, which totaled 244 yards against New Orleans.
"The guys on the outside make you stretch the field," Coughlin said. "You've got (Brandon) LaFell playing well and Steve Smith playing well and the tight end (Greg Olsen) has done a nice job. He really blocked well the other day and he's a threat as a pass receiver, so you've got a complementary group of athletes that just benefit from the system."
New York's offense, on the other hand, exploded in the second half of last week's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Giants put up 25 fourth-quarter points to edge the Bucs and quarterback Eli Manning finished with 510 yards passing and three touchdowns.
Quarterback Drew Brees threw for 325 yards against the Panthers in Week 2, but saw the pocket collapse around him in the second half. Brees fumbled once and was picked off twice.
After studying that game tape, Manning assessed the Carolina defense he's getting set to face.
"They're doing a good job of getting pressure on the quarterback whether with the blitz or whether with the front four," Manning said in a conference call. "They show a lot of different coverages, different types of zone blitz, so they do a good job of making the quarterback hold the ball and have receivers work in the second lanes."
"It's hard to get a good rhythm of what they'll be calling and their looks," Manning added. "They played well."