The New Giants defense has been bad; however, if you give credence to everything you hear or read in the media certainly there is nothing worth saving.
While the bad press is warranted, few people tell you the entire picture because the world now works in 72 characters or sound bites. It very easy to lop on more negativity to the Giants defense without ever explaining what is real going on.
I will give it a go.
Perry Fewell: This defensive Coordinator has never been an innovator or a motivator.
In 2008 Dave “Spags” Spagnuolo “amped up” defense was fresh off a Super Bowl victory and filled with young pass rushers. They ranked #5 over all in total defense. Bill Sheridan had the job for just one year after “Spags” left to coach the St. Louis Rams.
Sheridan’s defense in 2009 was ranked #30 overall, dropping 25 places in one short year. New Coordinator, Perry Fewell came from Buffalo and took the rich talent that Bill Sheridan failed to use and maximized Tucks and Umenyiora’s talents bringing them respectfully back to the #17 ranked defense. Only to drop #25 spots the very next year but won the Super Bowl.
Why? Purely a testament to Eli Manning and the New York Giants passing attack…not the Giants Defense whom was ranked 28th vs the pass and 25th vs the run. So how does Perry Fewell go from the 25th ranked defense and winning to the Superbowl to the 13th ranked defense and missing the playoffs.
1. Stevie Brown: The Giants gave up 6134 yards in 2012. The 2nd most in the league but only 2 teams had more interceptions.(Bears & Cardinals). Perry Fewell was known at Buffalo for his work with defensive backs and his scheme worked well for an unknown free agent signing named, Stevie Brown. Brown didn’t start until week 8; however, between spot duty and starting, Brown had 8 interceptions. This made a huge difference in turning around the defense.
2. Jason Pierre Paul: JPP dominated in 2011 on a bad defense with 16.5 sacks and 86 sacks. It was the star’s first full year and teams had no “body of work” video for 2010 1st round draft pick. In 2012 teams prepared for JPP and while the sacks numbers were way down, Pierre Paul still contributed with 65 tackles, 1 interception, and 8 tackles for loss and 1 forced fumble.
In 2013 JPP had a microdiscectmy for a herniated disc in his lower back. He rushed back 2 months before he was ready. His 15 tackles and 1 sack are hurting this team.
3. Justin Tuck: Sad to say that Tuck has not been the same player since hurting his neck in 2011. He missed 4 games that year and went from 76 tackles to 37 tackles…he was never the same player. This year(2013) No. 91 started off excellent with 16 tackles and a sack in two games. Since then he has only accumulated 8 tackles in 4 games. His edge rushing days look to be over since it’s clear he lost a step, yet he plays the run so well.
4. Osi Gone: The other side of the line was held down by Osi Umenyiora for 9 years. Even after 9 years Osi still brought speed to the rush. The Giants now have zero pass rush AND zero explosiveness. Osi was not great on the run yet his speed had to be accounted for. The Giants are strong but slow and the scheme is mundane.
5. Ryan Mundy: Ryan Mundy is a tackling machine and is on pace for 114 tackles. That would clearly lead the team, so Perry Fewell might want to consider trying him at “box safety” which is currently being played by Antrel Rolle. Yes, Antrel Rolle is the strong safety but he is a play maker and putting Rolle in space as the Free Safety might help this team gets some interceptions.
Mathius Kiwanuka: Kiwi had been an all around good player. When Fewell(2010) got to New York, Kiwi had 4 sacks in 3 games but got hurt ending his season. In 2011 Kiwi was moved to linebacker and had 84 tackles and 3.5 sacks. JPP had cemented himself as the defensive end and Kiwi make sense at backer; however, either Kiwi played hurt or Fewell forgot how to use him because his tackles dropped to 37. That’s 47 less tackles in one year. Currently is on pace for 29 tackles this year…that is unacceptable.
Damontre Moore: While Joseph, Hankins, and Jenkins are having a nice year, the outside rush is non-existent. For some reason the Giants brass still have the training wheels on 3rd round draft pick, Damontre Moore. With the state of the team in flux, wins being non-existent you would think that Perry Fewell might attempt to let Moore go to potentially change the outcome of a game, or maybe save his job.
With little changing week to week, one would ask when the Perry Fewell and his coaches might just go for it. There is no time for the steady, consistent or conservative Giants ways. If you gamble and loose, at least the fans know you tried.
The lack of speed, the lack of linebackers, the lack of youth and the lack of play makers have hurt this team. But most of all Perry Fewell has done so little to create a furious defense.
Craig J. Santucci | Senior Editor of NY Giants Rush