Task of defending Moss will fall on Giants' Allen

Updated: October 24, 2003, 10:20 AM ET
ESPN

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 double coverage.

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 Moss.

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 game.

"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 touchdown.

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."

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index