When defensive coordinator Perry Fewell came to New York, he had a tough role of patching up the Giants beat up defense. In 2009 the defense was humiliated many times and often played with a lackluster effort.
Fewell has this group re-energized and flying around the football field. The result, a confident group that is one of the best units in all of football.
It’s not one player, not even one position that Fewell has improved. The entire defense unit for the New York Giants has played excellent high energy football. After eight weeks and seven games, the Giants are second in the league in total defense behind only the San Diego Chargers.
After a slow start to the 2010 season, the Giants have won four straight games. The defense is giving up an average of just 263.3 yards per game this season. Not only are they tough to move the ball on, the Giants defensive players are having fun once again.
Fewell is putting his players in positions to make plays. Making plays is what keeps football players happy. A prime example is defensive end Osi Umenyiora.
Just a year ago, Umenyiora was benched and only used on passing downs due to his struggles against the run. This season, Umenyiora is once again playing big time football. The defensive end is second in the NFL with eight sacks. Umenyiora is also making people pay if they do not secure the ball, having already forced seven fumbles. His play is being recognized as some members of Double G Sports Expert Panel have chosen him as the NFC Mid-Season Defensive MVP.
It’s not just Umenyiora however. His defensive line mates are playing lights out football as well. Justin Tuck and Barry Cofield have four and three sacks respectively. Both of those lineman have over 30 tackles already this year. This group has helped shut down the run. The Giants are allowing just 85.4 yards on the ground per game, third in the league.
Chris Canty has elevated his game after an injury riddled season a year ago. Canty is one of the big reasons for the improvement of the Giants defense. He has provided stability on the Giants interior defense front.
The linebackers are doing a very good job. Fewell has figured out how to put Michael Boley in the best situations for him to succeed and it is paying off. Boley is having a nice year for the Giants. Other players like Jonathan Goff are well on their way to career years.
The additions of Deon Grant and Antrel Rolle have turned the Giants secondary into an All-Pro unit. The Giants are giving up only 177.9 yards per game through the air, second in the NFL.
Grant and Rolle have teamed up with the likes of Kenny Phillips, Corey Webster, Terrell Thomas, and Aaron Ross to form one of the best secondaries in the league. The depth has been an advatage as well.
The secondary has been used in multiple ways, allowing them to not only shut down passing games but also help against the run. Rolle leads the Giants in tackles with 43 while Thomas is close behind with 39.
Thomas is also tied for fourth in the league with 11 pass deflections.
Grant and Thomas each have two interceptions while Phillips, Rolle, and Webster each have one.
The 2010 Giants defense is confident and having fun but also staying focused. Perry Fewell deserve a lot of credit for gluing this group back together. It’s once again a feared unit.
With the Giants offense showing the ability to move the ball when it wants to, if the defense can continue it’s top notch play, the Giants can make a deep run in January.