Thursday, October 23, 2003
Updated: October 24, 10:20 AM ET
Task of defending Moss will fall on Giants' Allen
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Without hesitation, Jim Fassel
rattled off a number of pass coverages the New York Giants could
use against Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Randy Moss on Sunday.
They can roll coverage in the secondary, play two deep or use
Fassel could have listed more ways to try and defend Moss, whose
666 receiving yards lead the NFL. The bottom line, though, is all
those coverages will be the extras for the Giants (2-4), who will
try to snap a three-game losing streak against the Vikings (6-0).
The job of stopping Moss is clearly going to fall on cornerback
Will Allen. The first-round draft pick in 2001 has the job because
the Giants don't have anyone else who can stay anywhere close to
The only other candidate would have been Will Peterson, but he's
probably not going to play again this season because of a stress
fracture in his lower back.
"Playing in this game, you want to be the best and play against
the best," Allen said. "That's how you measure yourself. Any time
you get a chance to go against a guy who a lot of people say is the
most dangerous receiver in the league, you have to get up for that
"As a cornerback and a competitor, those are the games you want
to play," he said.
Moss is living up to his billing this season. His 39 catches are
tied for fourth in the NFC and his six touchdown catches are tied
with Marvin Harrison of Indianapolis for second in the league
behind Torry Holt (7) of St. Louis.
Against Denver last week, Moss caught a season-high 10 passes
for 151 yards. The first half ended with Moss catching a pass and
then making an over-the-shoulder lateral to Moe Williams for a
Allen smiled when asked about the play.
"Once in a lifetime," he said.
The Giants don't expect to completely silence Moss.
"He is one of those guys in this league who can change the
whole complexion of a game," Fassel said of Moss. "He does it all
the time. He is going to get his plays. What you have to prevent is
the big plays. To think you are going to hold him to one or two
catches is crazy."
The Giants did that once. In the NFC title game in 2000, Moss
was limited to two catches for 18 yards in a game in which New York
took a 34-0 halftime lead.
The way the Giants' offense is playing now, that's not likely to
happen. New York has scored 26 points in its last three games.
"Once he gets going, it's hard to stop him," Allen said. "The
key is to stop him before he gets going."
The obvious disadvantage Allen has against Moss is height. Moss,
who is 6-foot-4, is 6 inches taller.
"He judges the ball well," Allen said. "He has good
anticipation of where the ball is going to be, and he times his
jumps well. You look at some catches and the defenders are right
there. It's not so much he is jumping way over those guys, they're
misjudging the ball."
Giants receiver Ike Hilliard said Allen can run with Moss, and
his coverage ability has gotten better every season.
"He is one of those special guys, that's why they took him in
the first round," Hilliard said. "He makes it hard on us every
day in practice."