Thursday, January 28, 2010

Talent Up Front

New defensive coordinator Perry Fewell just addressed the media and, predictably, spoke in a lot of generalities and few specifics. But the one thing he did way was that the strength of the Giants' defense remains up front.

That's not exactly a big surprise, considering Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora reside there. But it did indicate that he might just think he can get by with the front and save the bulk of whatever rebuilding has to be done for the back seven.

"I think I have some talent here," Fewell said, cautioning that he has watched tape only to familiarize with his players' skills and not to evaluate scheme or the causes of last season's downfall. "I think the strength, as I look at it right now, looks like our defensive front. If we can stay healthy in the secondary and at linebacker, I think we have talent."

Of course, one of his biggest decisions up front will involve Umenyiora, the pass rusher who was demoted after the Denver game to part-time status because of his deficiencies against the run. Fewell has come away with positive impressions of him so far, and it sounds like he'd love to reinstate him to three-down status.

My guess is that he'll have new defensive line coach Robert Nunn coach Umenyiora hard on run defense to get him on the field as much as possible. But Umenyiora and the rotation Fewell decides to use will have much to do with that.

"I can't speak to what happened a year ago," Fewell said. "When I look at Osi, I see a football player. And when you're a football player, obviously you want that player to be on the field all the time.

"But in today's game, we substitute players so they can stay healthy and play the entire year. So I see Osi as a football player."

I would imagine that several long talks are coming up between Umenyiora and Fewell, as there will be with other components of the defense. Fewell said he's only met a few of his players -- he wouldn't specify who -- but has come away with positive impressions.

"I've had a chance to meet several of the defensive linemen," Fewell said. "I've had a favorable impression of all the men I've met. Very professional. Good-looking, strong men. They play the game excited. That's my impression."

He also said he'd like Tuck to be around from Day 1 of the offseason program to add leadership and better work himself into Fewell's new system, which he promised will be an aggressive one focused on creating turnovers. But that will depend on how quickly he progresses from recent shoulder surgery. "Will he be available?" Fewell said. "It depends. It's up to the doctors, and we'll have to do the right thing by Justin."

His next job will be getting past first impressions and discovering why that front four, and the other two, failed so miserably in 2009.

But at least he starts off on a positive note.

"I can't speak to scheme right now," Fewell said. "I can speak to talent level, and I see a talented group of men who can play football, who are football players. As I evaluate the numbers of athletes in that position, I haven't been with very many teams that have that many talented athletes at that defensive line position. That's why I say it's the strength of our team."

They didn't play like that in 2009.


1 comment:

  1. Fewell won't say a word to Osi because he sux, everybody on the Giants knows he sux and is overrated. Draft day at the latest this one game wonder will be off the Giants and he can go blow up another locker room and get pushed off the ball EVERY play. Glad Fewell got the memo to talk him up.