Most fans of the New York Giants already know of the team's defensive struggles from a year ago; where they ranked 31st overall in the league in total defense, 25th overall against the run and 28th overall against the pass.
The defense was a big reason (especially in Weeks 15 and 16) why the Giants finished 9-7 in the season following their Super Bowl XLVI victory and missed out on the postseason and more importantly, missed out on a chance to defend their title.
Not only are these things the fans know, they are all things Giants head coach Tom Coughlin and more importantly, defensive coordinator Perry Fewell know and most improve on if they want to have success in the 2013 season, otherwise, they could be looking at a second straight season where they are watching the playoffs from their couches instead of playing in January.
When Fewell first got to the Giants in 2010, he was there to restore some order and consistency from a defense that struggled tremendously under then-defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan in 2009; who only lasted one season from taking over from Steve Spagnuolo.
Fewell's results worked wonders in his first season, as the defense got back to the plan of creating turnovers, rushing the quarterback and making life for the opposing team difficult on the field; a theme that also worked late in the 2011 season and helped get the Giants to the Super Bowl, but in 2012, the unit took a giant step backwards, which is why Fewell's defense needs a rebound season to keep him off the hot seat.
During practice this week before the team's opening game against the Dallas Cowboys, Fewell told Connor Orr of the Newark-Star Ledger that the struggles from last year are always on his mind and the defense will return to its previous glory.
"It never goes out of my mind," he said. "You never want to be ranked last or near last in anything you compete at and as a professional, you want to improve each and every year. We’re very motivated to erase that number and be a top defense in the league."
In the two games last season against Dallas last year, the Giants allowed 433 yards of total offense in the first meeting and 434 yards of offense in the second game; 415 of those yards came through the air; a total the Giants would like to avoid in this meeting. The one thing the Giants would like to replicate again is the six turnovers the team created; four of which were interceptions against Tony Romo. If the Giants can force those kind of turnover again in the meeting, then the Giants should be able to come away with a win on Sunday night in Week 1.
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