You know about Odell Beckham Jr., who has quickly become one of the top receivers in the NFL. You know about Victor Cruz, who was one of the top receivers in the NFL before getting sidelined for more than a season-and-a-half due to injury. And you know about Sterling Shepard, who was one of the top wideouts in college football last year.
Well, all three are playing for the Giants, all three are healthy and all three are producing. In fact, that trio combined for 11 catches for 150 yards and two touchdowns in New York’s 20-19 season-opening win over the Cowboys on Sunday.
“It’s nice to have those guys,” Giants running back Rashad Jennings said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “They’re tough guys to cover and they spread out the field. The defensive coordinator has to play honest. He can’t tip his hat as much as he probably would like. We’ve got a guy that’s under center that’s a great engineer running the table, so we get to play complementary football like we wanted to on offense. (We’re) spreading it out in the running game, spreading it out in the pass game and we have good tight ends that can run down the field. So we can be a tough team to beat when we take care of our job. Eliminating the self-inflicted wounds – jumping off sides – and eliminating the holding and things of that nature, we put ourselves in a position to be a tough team to beat.”
With all the attention on the Giants receivers, Jennings rushed 18 times for 75 yards (4.2 yards per carry) on Sunday. Defensively, New York held Dallas to just one touchdown and forced four field goals.
That’s what happens when you bring in Janoris Jenkins, Olivier Vernon and Damon Harrison and draft Eli Apple.
“Hats off to the defense,” Jennings said. “ We as an offense feel like we have a good defense and our job is to not put them on the field as much, to move the chains, control the clock, third-down management – those type of things. Our defense was out there for a long time, especially earlier on in the game, and they kept finding ways to hold them to field goals and give them an opportunity. Those guys that you mentioned, every single one of those is a true pro. As I look on our team, I think we have a lot of pros on the team – (not) NFL players. NFL players and pros are two different athletes, and we’re all growing and maturing and then we’re (led) by good special team play, too. But speaking to the defense specifically, it feels good seeing guys get after the quarterback and kind of putting us back on the field a little quicker.”
Jennings then explained the difference between an NFL player and a pro.
“An NFL player is a guy who has tremendous talent and (the) skill sets are there,” he said. “He comes in the league and really showcases a lot of those in spurts in a very short period of time. A pro is a guy who develops those skill sets, who hones in on his craft, who stays in hours that’s not required. That’s what we have – leadership, the guys that last beyond five years because they understand what it means to be a pro. That’s the difference between an NFL player and pros. NFL players are in and out with great skill sets and pros hone in on their craft and play a long time and make the team better.”
The Giants (1-0) will go for 2-0 this Sunday in their home-opener. They host the Saints (0-1) in East Rutherford at 1 p.m. ET.