The Giants love to attack the middle of the defense with Jacobs, who is most effective running north and south. In any defense, the middle linebacker is a primary run-stopper, lined up opposite the ball 3 yards off the line of scrimmage. But Ruud will need help from teammates to bring down Jacobs, who outweighs him by more than 20 pounds. The interior linemen, Chris Hovan and Jovan Haye, must hold their ground and stay in their gaps to allow Ruud to flow freely to the ball. And once Ruud makes contact, he'll need teammates to help finish the tackle.
"Obviously, (the Bucs) are more of a speed defense. Their front four is very physical, and their linebackers are very physical. They are not a heavy bunch, but they are very physical, and they can come downhill and play and go side-to-side as well."
"He (Jacobs) looks like a defensive end. He's a big guy, but he's not just a big guy. He's got good feet, and he can break away, too. The middle linebacker is going to be involved in the running game or at least should be. But it's a team, gap-control effort. It's not one person making every tackle. If somebody gets out of his gap with this guy, it can be tough. You don't want to see him with a real head of steam. You want to stop him before he gets started."
Yards after contact
Jacobs is adept at breaking tackles. Rarely does a single defender bring him to the ground. Defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin is calling on everyone to swarm to the ball and tackle Jacobs. "I'm going to think of it as chopping wood," strong safety Jermaine Phillips said. "I'm going to give it my best lick as I make contact, and eventually the tree's going to fall."
He has seen bigger
Jacobs is among the biggest backs in the NFL, but Ruud played against a much bigger running back when he was a freshman at Nebraska. As a senior in 2001, Kansas State's Joe Hall was the heaviest running back in Division I-A, tipping the scales at 290 pounds. "I have a picture of him running me over," Ruud said. "I was a freshman, though, so I was just getting used to it."