Ahmad Bradshaw, RB
How he beats you: Bradshaw is an elusive runner who gives the Giants a big-play threat out of the backfield, both running the ball and catching it. Brandon Jacobs gives the Giants a complementary power runner, but Bradshaw was a focal point of the offense last season and that should continue this season. He is coming off a career-best 2010 season in which he ran for 1,235 yards and had 47 catches for another 314 yards. The Giants would love to control the ball with their running game and keep their shorthanded defense from being on the field too often.
How to stop him: The Redskins’ ability, or inability, to bottle up Bradshaw could provide an early measure of how far the defense has progressed in its second season in the 3-4 scheme. One key is to force him into turnovers. Bradshaw had seven fumbles last season, losing six of them.The Redskins had mixed success against Bradshaw last season. He ran for 97 yards in the teams’ first meeting but managed only 22 rushing yards in the season-ending rematch.
Jason Pierre-Paul, DE
How he beats you: Pierre-Paul has terrific speed and athletic ability. He had two sacks in an early-December game against the Redskins last season and takes over as the Giants’ starter at right defensive end, with Osi Umenyiora sidelined after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery. He had 4-1/2 sacks last season as a rookie and the Giants hope he can become a top pass rusher in his second season to complement fellow DE Justin Tuck.
How to stop him: With Tuck to worry about, the Redskins probably can’t afford to devote too much attention to Pierre-Paul. It will fall primarily to left tackle Trent Williams to stay in front of Pierre-Paul and keep him away from QB Rex Grossman. That’s why the Redskins used the fourth overall choice in the 2010 NFL draft on Williams, who they expect to take on talented pass rushers in one-on-one situations. But Jordan Gross, Carolina’s standout left tackle, struggled against Pierre-Paul in a preseason game.