Giants' Quarterback Question Won't Distract Packers

While the Packers have to spend some time this week watching film of the New York Giants’ two quarterbacks - starter Eli Manning and backup Jared Lorenzen - their defensive preparation isn’t focused as much on any individual as on the Giants’ scheme. - More Audio | Video | Packers-Giants Game Center


While the Packers have to spend some time this week watching film of the New York Giants' two quarterbacks - starter Eli Manning and backup Jared Lorenzen - their defensive preparation isn't focused as much on any individual as on the Giants' scheme.

It's unclear whether Manning will play on Sunday after sustaining a shoulder injury last week in Dallas. Medical reports have indicated there is no structural damage to his right (throwing) shoulder, so his availability likely will come down to how he feels on Sunday morning.

If he can't play, Lorenzen would start in his place. Lorenzen replaced Manning for the conclusion of last week's game in Dallas, though Manning said that if the Giants had been within one score, he would have gone back in to try to win the game.

But rather than try to guess which quarterback it will be, the Packers are simply focusing on the Giants' offense (which will be missing starting running back Brandon Jacobs, who has a knee injury), and they're putting together a game plan based on that, and not the quarterback.

"You just have to spend a little extra time, but it doesn't really change what happens in terms of what they do schematically," defensive end Aaron Kampman said of the quarterback dilemma. "Maybe a few plays here and there, but really, it's going to be the same offense."

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said Manning did not practice on Wednesday but took some snaps and did some throwing on the side, so the team is hopeful he'll be able to play. Manning, the younger brother of Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning, apparently has never missed a game due to injury at any level of football, including a streak of 42 consecutive games played as a pro.

The uncertainty puts the Packers in a bit of a tough spot because should Manning sit out, Lorenzen is an entirely different type of quarterback. At 6-foot-4 and 285 pounds, Lorenzen is built like a defensive end and may not be very mobile in the pocket, but he's not exactly easy to tackle. He's also left-handed, which changes where his so-called blind side is.

"We'll have to buckle up our helmets because that's a big guy," said defensive end Cullen Jenkins, who's 6-2, 303. "I anticipate him being kind of hard to bring down."

A third-year pro out of Kentucky, Lorenzen has a strong arm, which Head Coach Mike McCarthy recalled noticing when he studied him coming out for the 2004 NFL Draft. The Giants also have used him as a short-yardage quarterback to run sneaks, including once in the playoffs last year.

"Because of his body structure, he's so thick, he can take a blow like nobody's business," Coughlin said.

{sportsad300}While Lorenzen's size is certainly unusual for a quarterback, make no mistake about the kind of athlete he is. He finished his career at Kentucky as the school's all-time leader in completions, passing yardage and touchdowns.

"I remember watching Jared play in college," Brett Favre said. "He's a heck of a player, he moves around well. Yeah he's big and it makes for funny conversation, but the guy can play."

As a lefty, Lorenzen would likely run any bootleg passes the opposite direction as Manning, and his first move in scrambling will likely be to his left rather than his right. But other than that, the Packers aren't concerned about making major defensive adjustments if they're facing Lorenzen.

"Conceptually what they do in their one-back run game, how they throw the football, I don't think that's going to change a whole lot," McCarthy said. "So that's really what we're preparing for."

One difference, according to nickel cornerback Jarrett Bush, could be Lorenzen's comfort level with the receivers behind starters Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer on the depth chart. David Tyree is out for this game, but rookies Steve Smith and Anthony Mix, along with Sinorice Moss, have probably worked with Lorenzen plenty.

"In the preseason, the backup quarterback plays with backup receivers, therefore he might have a little more chemistry with the backups instead of Plaxico and Amani Toomer," Bush said. "But for the most part, we have to cover the same. We can't change our mindset, and keep building from what we've got going now."

The Giants also may have to lessen the volume in the game plan if they go with Lorenzen, who would be making his first NFL start. But seasoned veteran or raw newcomer, there's no better way to try to rattle a quarterback than with steady pressure, and the Packers plan to bring that no matter who is throwing the ball.

"It doesn't matter because up front we're trying to get after every quarterback," Jenkins said. "We feel like we're one of the best pass rushing D-lines if not the best, and we're trying to get after every quarterback to make it easier for the guys behind us."

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