Perry Fewell was hired by the New York Giants on January 14th, 2010. He replaced Bill Sheridan, who was fired after the 2009 season in which the New York Giants were ranked 13th in Total Defense. When the G-Men won the Super Bowl in 2007, their defense ranked 7th in that category. 2008, they ranked 5th. Fewell’s defense showed promise in his first year as the Giants finished out the regular season ranked 7th in total defense, but unfortunately missed the playoffs. Since his 2010 debut season, the Giants defense has trended in the wrong direction at a troubling rate. In 2011, the Giants Total Defense ranked 27th; in 2012, 31st. Yes, his 2011 performance was salvaged by the Super Bowl victory over the Patriots, but that triumph had become a distant memory, until recently. Perry Fewell and the New York Giants defense has looked revitalized over the past few weeks, and it’s Fewell’s willingness to adjust that has his players believing again.
After the first 5 games of the 2013 NFL season, the New York Giants ranked 26th in Total Defense and allowed a league leading 182 points to teams playing against them. Fewell’s defense has always relied heavily on pressuring the quarterback and generating turnovers. But this season the Giants haven’t been able to pressure the quarterback, and were having a tough time generating turnovers. It’s a defensive coordinator’s responsibility to adapt his schemes to the personnel he has. If a coordinator can’t adapt, he won’t compete. And for the first time since joining the Giants in 2010, Fewell has showed a willingness to adjust his defensive schemes to adhere to the personnel he has on the field.
Jonathan Beason’s value in sealing up the center of this defense cannot be stressed enough; his impact to the improvement of the group has been immediate. One major fault to Jerry Reese has been his unwillingness to address the LB position for this team, and the addition of Beason only magnifies the importance of having a game changing backer to command a defense. With Beason at the MIKE position, Fewell’s been able to simplify the defense and allow his players to perform without over-thinking schemes by simply attacking the ball. The run defense is stout; the past 3 weeks the Giants have held Matt Forte to 67 rush yards, Adrian Peterson to 28 yards, and most recently Shady McCoy to 48 yards. All 3 backs are top 10 in the league this year in rushing, with McCoy leading all running backs up to this point with 733 yards. By shutting down the run, the defense has been able to put more pressure on the quarterback, and force more turnovers, which has been Fewell’s goal all along. Since allowing 182 points through the first 5 games, the Giants defense has allowed only 27 since, with 2 shutouts in their past 2 games. The NFL’s geography is constantly changing and it’s promising that Fewell has taken a proactive approach to improving the defense of this team. The recent results have shown promise.
Now the attention shifts to Kevin Gilbride. Does he have what it takes to make the Giants offense the juggernaut it once was? His job may depend on it.