The return of safety Kenny Phillips and a handful of minor tweaks along the defensive line allowed New York to hold the potent Green Bay offense to a mere 10 points.
Phillips joined a defensive backfield tandem of Stevie Brown, the team’s leader in interceptions, and Antrel Rolle, who can now play closer to the line to defend against the run.
The results spoke for themselves.
“(Our four-safety look) was very effective. We had a chance to utilize our personnel and use their talents,” defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said. “It can be effective against a running team (or a) passing team because of who those people are and what they bring to the table.”
The changes were instituted during the bye week, as healthier bodies returned to practice giving Fewell the depth to make some changes in personnel.
Such changes include shifting Mathias Kiwanuka to the defensive line, who registered two of the team’s five sacks of Aaron Rodgers Sunday.
“We have some added flexibility because sometimes he can be down and sometimes he can be up, so you never know what you’ll get, so I think it has an element of surprise to it,” Fewell said. “Obviously we’ll use him in a lot of different ways, but he’ll play backer, he’ll play defensive end. So we’ll utilize him in any way that we need possible.”
Fewell’s report card for the defense last week was more complementary than in previous weeks following a fourth-quarter loss to Pittsburgh and a no-show against Cincinnati.
Execution, he said, was critical to his unit’s success. As the secondary came together, the defensive line was better able to pressure the quarterback, and vice versa.
He’s hoping his Giants can enjoy similar success against RGIII and the Redskins on Monday night.
“You just have to have great discipline. You have key in on your reaction and know the people that you’re playing in front of, if they give you a run-pass tip, or not,” Fewell said. “A lot of it is going to be based on the individual study of the player because they have to get some tips with a terrific offense like this because they’re really good in the run and they’re really good in their play-action pass.”
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