Tom Coughlin on Calvin Johnson: 'You have to know where he is at all times and have some adjustments prepared for him.' (Daniel Mears / Detroit News)
It’s tough for any NFL team to go on the road, especially to start the season. But the Giants could have a more difficult time dealing with the raucous atmosphere at Ford Field when they face the Lions on Monday night in the nationally-televised matchup.
For Giants coach Tom Coughlin, in his 11th season, the preparation takes all the conditions into account, including crowd noise, which has played into the Lions’ favor in recent seasons.
“I don’t say that you prepare any differently; you are aware of all factors, one being indoors and noise,” Coughlin said. “You have to take that into consideration and be prepared for that as best you can. It’s much different than preseason games, obviously.”
In the Lions’ preseason games, Coughlin took notice of the Lions’ first-team offense, which was efficient, for the most part. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford threw just one interception and looked sharp in stretches.
The biggest concern for the Lions was reducing the turnovers from last season, which cost them a shot at the playoffs down the stretch. In offseason practices and in the preseason, there has been a premium on valuing the ball, as Stafford has reduced the turnovers.
“What I did notice is the balance in the offense and the really obvious attempt to not turn it over, coming through the preseason,” Coughlin said. “I would imagine that was something that was a goal and they did it, they accomplished it and they had a good preseason on top of it.”
At the top of the Giants’ scouting report will be stopping Lions receiver Calvin Johnson. Although Coughlin said there are no specific rules in place for covering Johnson, it’s incumbent on the whole defense has to monitor his whereabouts.
“You have to know where he is at all times and have some adjustments prepared for him,” Coughlin said, “and you’ve got to set some of your coverages to try to be in a position to take the things he does really well — he does a lot of things really well — and at least be able to contest for those.”