The game will be a rematch of the Giants’ 24-17 opening night loss, and Gilbride expects the team to play better football this time around.
“I think we’re a little healthier,” Gilbride said. “I think we can play better. I think we played better as the game went on; unfortunately we got started slowly. I think they’re very good. I think they have an outstanding pass rush; they went out and spent a lot of money to get two terrific corners.”
Those two corners are Brandon Carr and rookie Morris Claiborne, both of whom have helped the Cowboys earn their third-place ranking in total pass defense.
“They do a terrific job of making it difficult to predict what they’re going to do,” Gilbride said. “In other words, their pattern is to change up on a regular basis what they do so you don’t see very often a consecutive expression of one coverage and then play it again and play it again. They do a nice job of trying to keep you off balance in that respect.”
Even without middle linebacker Sean Lee, the Cowboys’ front seven is still dangerous, led by none other than DeMarcus Ware.
“He’s tough; he’s a great player,” Gilbride said of Ware. “He plays hard. It’s a big game; he’s always revved up anyway. He’s even more so in a game against us. We know we have our hands full, and those guys up front have got to do their job, and we have to help them as best we can.”
As far as the Giants’ offensive personnel against the Cowboys’ defense, running back Ahmad Bradshaw made headlines this week after his heated on-field exchange with Tom Coughlin about wanting more carries.
“Have you met a runner that doesn’t want the ball more?” Gilbride said. “Have you ever seen a pass receiver who doesn’t want the ball thrown more? They all do. We just do what’s working best. We weren’t running the ball very well, so we’re always going to do what we’re doing well. We were averaging eight yards a pass attempt and averaging three on the run. We’re always going to do what’s most effective.”
Gilbride said that his tight ends are integral to establishing the run since they are the ones who get out to block the linebackers. Giants’ tight end Martellus Bennett said he was unhappy with his play last week and the past few weeks after starting off the season well.
“I think he’s very attentive to trying to do everything as well as he can,” Gilbride said about Bennett. “It’s always a positive thing when a guy is that critical of himself and realizes where he needs to improve and get better. As a coach, that’s always the first step in being able to help a guy and grow towards his potential.”
Bennett will be taking on his old team this week, but he’ll look to do whatever the team asks him rather than trying to impress the Cowboys.
Gilbride’s offense has been successful in Dallas in the past, and he’ll be hoping for a similar output this week.