There are two things this New York Giants defense possesses: serious talent and recent grim glitches. The “proper” post-game speeches are being recited about these concerns, but are they able to be mended?
Perry Fewell’s defense has a Jekyll and Hyde personality anomaly going on through its first ten games. Sometimes they show up and show out then they collapse and fold. The coaches are clearly using the bye week to evaluate and assess the players in action.
Linebackers coach, Jim Herrmann is looking at basics: tackling and wrapping up.
"It’s hard because there’s the rules. I mean there’s only one padded practice per week….Yeah, it’s hard and you can work individual type things, which we do especially like open field tackling and angles and how to leverage the guy… They wouldn’t be here if they didn’t know how to do that. So what you try to do as a coach is you try to teach them how to minimize the missed tackle. There’s going to be some missed tackles….Missed tackles are a part of the game, but being able to eliminate those or not eliminate them but to reduce those is what you’re trying to do. You’re trying to teach them the proper leverage. All these guys got here for a reason and so we continually work on how do you leverage a ball carrier or what’s the best way to tackle a ball carrier when he’s on the sideline or where’s help? Just reinforcing all of that….We do what we call thud or thud tempo because we don’t want anybody on the ground because that’s when you get injured. We don’t need to necessarily teach the impact part of the tackle because guys here want to do that. That’s the way they’re playing the game. It’s the other parts of it that you have to work on as a coach to get them to see it the proper the way and leverage the proper way and to reduce the amount of missed tackles that you have…”
Secondary coach, Peter Giunta talks more than basics; he’s preaching communication along with tackling. In a cover two base, the defensive backs have way more pressure on them than the linebackers do, so overall that constant, loud communication is crucial and he ostensibly views his veterans out there as a large part of what needs to change:
“Everybody is just being aggressive and trying to make plays, instead of doing what they’re supposed to do. He [Corey Webster vs. A.J. Green] should have just been a little more patient and waited for the other guys to get there to execute their responsibilities. That wasn’t a case of completely, ‘Hey, we miscommunicated.’ We communicated, but guys are being so aggressive, really playing the game, trying to get in there to make a play, that it opened up the big play….It’s a little bit consistency wise. Some of it is tackling…Sometimes, we have to get up and tackle better. It’s a multitude of things. It’s not just one thing as the reason that that happens. When we studied it last year, we found out that we gave up a lot of big plays over 25 yards. Yet, when the ball is in the air over 25 yards, we were one of the better teams in the league in stopping those kinds of throws. Part of it is making plays on the ball down the field on the deep throws. The other part of it is making tackles when we should…In this league, you have to make plays. Players have to make plays and we as coaches have to put them in position to make plays. It’s a little frustrating for them and for us that we’ve been in position where we haven’t made plays that we’re capable of making right now.”
Defensive line coach, Robert Nunn has a bit more of a laid-back approach when speaking about his pass-rushers that have a goal of disrupting the opposing quarterbacks—especially when asked about the last game played:
“It was a combination of things. It certainly wasn’t a game that we were going to be able to rush the passer much. I thought there were a couple of opportunities that we didn’t take advantage of, but for the most part, the ball was out pretty quick. We still got our hands on a couple balls, batted a couple of balls, but it just didn’t turn out to be a game that we’d be able to get after the passer much….I thought we played the run well. For the most part, I thought we got a little sloppy with our technique a little bit there a couple of times. But overall, I thought we made some improvement there…we certainly are going to go back and look on tape and see what caused it and try to fix what caused it just like we do every week, but take a little more time and go through it and when our guys get back in here we’ll go through it individually and try to improve in those areas….He’s [Marvin Austin] been positive for us and so it’s time for Marvin to step up and he’s going to have to see it in practice and he’s got to carry it over in the games…[Linval Joseph has] been outstanding…the guy has been outstanding and shows up every day to work and he’s tough, competitive, does exactly what you ask him to do and he’s off to an outstanding start and we’ve got to finish the year up strong with him.”
Listening to these guys you want to believe that the problems on the defensive side of the ball are easier maintenance. One huge help would be one that’s honestly out of their hands to change: getting much-needed help from the offense to keep these guys off the field longer.
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