All this talk about playing the Cover-2 as a staple sounded like a lot of nothing while talking to Perry Fewell today. He didn't sound like a read-and-react coach at all, but rather someone who wanted his defense to play fast and aggressive, with an eye toward the turnover.
For all of Buffalo's problems last season, turnovers was not one of them. The pass defense finished with 28 interceptions, second in the league, as opposed to the Giants' 13 that placed them 22nd in the league. Fewell said that was a combination of fast play and extra homework by his players.
"Turnovers are an opportunity," Fewell said. "If the ball's on the turf, it's our opportunity to grasp that ball. And if the ball's in the air, it's our opportunity to intercept the football. So creating turnovers is about opportunity.
"Looking at some of our defensive personnel, our front four had the ability to rush the passer very well. We had to seize the moment, and I thought we did a really good job of doing that in Buffalo last year. Really, the players bought into the system and studied. They did extra work when the meetings were over. If we can bring that mentality to the table, we can increase our turnovers with the Giants."
The Bills also scored two touchdowns off interceptions.
"I want to be fundamentally sound and multiple in what we do," Fewell said. "I want to be aggressive. I want our players to play fast and have fun playing the game.
"Definitely create turnovers. I believe you score on defense."
How well the players pick up that defense will determine just how fast they play. Fewell claims his schemes are not complicated in general. But it's not a free-wheeling scheme, either.
"They'll grasp the defense relatively quickly," Fewell said. "Will they be able to execute all the little things? The little details? That's what will take time."
That will be the interesting part. The Giants' defense has historically been one that prefers the physical, aggressive schemes. When asked to fall into the more passive coverages, such as the Cover-2 or zone blitzes, they have had problems. It will be interesting to see how Fewell balances those with the personnel that obviously struggled when placed in a reactive mode.
We're still more than a month away from the players' formal introduction to Fewell's philosophies, however.