Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell was still a hot name in the head coaching mix approximately 18 months ago. As he went on to win a Super Bowl ring with his New York Football Giants, the enthusiastic coordinator has had a pretty quiet six months following that great win.
The Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos, Cleveland Browns and Tennessee Titans were interested and interviewed Fewell last offseason. Tampa Bay this year was rumored to have interest, but never requested permission to interview him. Although those pesky regular season stats show one aspect of the Giants defense, the showmanship that lives on in a four DVD set put out by NFL Films (“New York Giants Road to XLVI”) tells the world the rest of what a fraction of defensive diehards had already known: what the players on the defensive line of scrimmage were capable of. Fewell knows what he has coming (soon) out of training camp.
“We have a good feel for each other because a lot of the starters are back. We’re on the same page as far as calls and the communication is concerned. We’re tinkering with different ways that we can use our personnel right now. That’s a little bit of an adjustment for the guys, but we do have a flow and that’s very good. You have 11 guys and you have to get those 11 guys playing together,” Fewell said. “We all have to believe in the same things. What we were able to accomplish those last six games is a testament to the players and that, ‘Hey, when we all think alike we can do some good things.”
What appear to be “some good things” for coach Fewell are the strong, competitive mindsets many of his troupes at training camp have armed themselves with. While these athletes walk onto the field or into the classroom feeling that it’s their job to lose, they haven’t lost the focus of the team concept. Each man echoes the sentiment of doing whatever is best for the team. Safety Antrel Rolle’s recent comments on possibly playing nickel (again) are a prime example.
“Yeah, that’s an accurate read, but in life, sometimes you’re going to get some changes … You have to play the cards that are dealt to us. It’s something I’ve done before. I’m not a stranger in this position, so if I have to play it, then so be it…Well, in this league, we have to have an open mind. A ball player is a ball player,’’ said Rolle. “It doesn’t matter what position you are at. And if I have to go down there and do it again, then so be it.’’
Linebacker Keith Rivers has also stated that he’d play wherever Fewell feels he’ll excel.
"I think he’s a helluva coach. I’m excited to work for him. We were watching some film today of the run (to the Super Bowl). It was amazing to see how he’s been able to put guys in position to make big plays," Rivers said. "A lot of places, they just plug you in and say, ‘We’re paying you all this money; just do this.’ You know? He’s like, ‘Okay, let me put this guy in the best position for him to make a play.’ I like that. I’m looking forward to playing in a system like that."
Guys are stepping up this camp and linebacker (whew, especially MLB) is just one area. They all seemingly have bought into Head Coach Tom Coughlin’s goal of improvement, though. Each competitor has his personal reasons for wanting to be the best they can be while also potentially earning starter status, but Perry Fewell is a big part of why this Giants defense is "All In" and gelling. Anyone that’s seen him interact with his men can see why. He’s an accomplished teacher, but his approach is one of an actual team captain. He holds each skill player responsible for their respective assignments and will call them out as deemed necessary (see his rant post-New Orleans Saints game last season). However, he will not only laud players for great plays on-the-field, but get involved in the celebration vocally as well as physically – for the most part from the legal sidelines area. This is a Coughlin, remember?
Fewell is excited for this upcoming season -he’s recently voiced so- and it shows in his training camp demeanor, more so than in the past two years. He knows a lot more than the media and fans do at this point, so it can’t be a horrible idea to get excited and animated along with him, right?
Perry Fewell is signed through this upcoming 2012 season only, but if “Damage, Inc.” comes through for him as predicted by many of the Big Blue Faithful, the defensive coordinator may very well be sacked in January with multiple requests from other NFL teams for interviews as well as a Giants contract extension.
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