Ferguson, Giants' Umenyiora lock up in preseason.
The Jets' starting offensive tackles will step into the national spotlight Sunday against the Giants. That's what happens when your opponent just racked up an NFL-record-tying 12 sacks in a pummeling of a division rival.
D'Brickashaw Ferguson, in his second season at left tackle, will match up against RDE Osi Umenyiora. The NFC Defensive Player of the Week pushed past Eagles T Winston Justice to rack up six sacks — a team record and one off the late Derrick Thomas' league-record seven — in a 16-3 win.
"You definitely see that and say, 'Hey, man, I don't want that to happen to me personally or even this organization,' " Ferguson said today. "It's real important to watch that tape and just develop a game plan."
Back in August, the Jets and the Giants had their annual preseason contest at the Meadowlands. Ferguson, who continues to show steady progress, said that summer work was beneficial.
"Anytime you have an opportunity to play against somebody and you can use that information, it's definitely good," he said. "It's a big difference seeing it on tape and actually physically going out there, using your hands and seeing how the moves work. It's definitely a bonus."
The Giants have the extra benefit of having a future Hall of Famer line up at right defensive end. Michael Strahan, who thought about retirement in the off-season, is back for his 15th campaign and he collected one of the Giants' dozen sacks against Philly.
"When you have 12 sacks and a lot of guys getting pressure, and you're not talking about Strahan as much, that's a pretty good situation to be in," said Jets head coach Eric Mangini. "If you fall asleep on a guy and his ability, his talent level, the things he's able to do — he can ruin the game."
Anthony Clement, a towering figure at 6'8" and 320 pounds, is the Green & White's right tackle and his assignment is to prevent Strahan from becoming a factor. Clement is familiar with the Giants' all-time sack leader, having frequently lined up against Strahan when he played from 1998-2004 for the Cardinals, who were members of the NFC East through 2001.
"They were probably the toughest matchups I will ever have the pleasure of facing," Clement said. "He is one of the better guys I had to face in the NFC East."
The 35-year-old Strahan is a complete player and Clement said the summer off did him no harm.
"He's experienced. He's a smart player," he said of his adversary. "Physically he's strong, he moves pretty fast. He still moves pretty good for an old man."
Playful jabs aside, Clement and Strahan have a cordial relationship.
"Every time I see him, I ask him how he's doing because we've been playing each other ever since I've been in [the NFL]," Clement said.
Strahan has transformed his body over the years, trimming down pounds and gaining speed in the process.
"He's a lot quicker than he used to be and still very explosive regardless of the weight loss," Clement said.
Following their sack party, the Giants are tied with the Bears for the league lead with 16. But that means they had four sacks in their first three games.
"The Giants do an excellent job defensively creating pressures in different ways," Mangini said. "They can create pressure with their front four, and then there's going to be some game plan pressures where they're going to overload the offense and do some core things."
They certainly brought the house against the Birds. What will the plan be against the Jets? Ferguson and Clement are prepared for two talented, familiar foes and the entire offensive line is expecting a knock-down-drag-out affair.
"It makes you buckle your chin strap a little bit tighter," said C Nick Mangold, "knowing they have that kind of pass rush."