Tom Uddo, Contributor
A different week, but the same questions.
Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell was not shy when talking the media about the importance of the Giants defensive line this week against the fast paced offense of the Philadelphia Eagles.
A topic that Fewell has gone to great lengths to talk about throughout this struggling season, has been the health of DE Jason Pierre-Paul and the impact of veteran DE Justin Tuck who has been an enigma so far; and yesterday was no different.
When asked about the progress of JPP, Fewell said that although his play looks better each week, he hasn’t performed up to the expectations that he has set, especially with the breakout year that JPP had in 2011.
“With the time off and those types of things, he’s not playing to the standard that he wants to play to. Everyone expects so much of him and he’s trying to get there, but he’s just not there yet,” said Fewell. “The biggest thing for us is we believe in him and he has got to believe in himself also.”
Fewell said coming off of the back surgery, he set high goals for JPP that he has yet to match with one sack on the stat sheet, but one explosive week could change all of that.
“The biggest thing for us is we believe in him and he has got to believe in himself also. He could have a breakout game this week and we’ll say, ‘oh, he’s back.’” said Fewell. “He’s an athlete. He knows his body better than we know his body and what we’re trying to do is put him in the best position for him to have success.
One of the positives from Monday nights win against the Vikings was the Giants ability to stop the run attack led by reigning MVP Adrian Peterson. Big Blue gave up a mere 28 yards on 13 carries and bottled up AP whenever they had the opportunity. More importantly, Tuck has been a major factor in the Giants run defense, even though the defensive line has had problems getting pressure on the opposing QB.
“He did do a good job in Monday night’s game of getting pressure on the quarterback even though he only had the one sack and I think for Justin, his expectations are really high,” said Fewell. “People don’t look at Justin as a run defender. They look at him as a hit-the-quarterback, sack guy. But Justin is really doing a nice job for us in the run game.”
MLB Jon Beason has been a key piece to the Giants turnaround on defense and he will continue to be heavily called upon to make plays, especially this Sunday as the Eagles pose various threats on the ground with the quickness of QB Michael Vick and RB LeSean McCoy.
“He’s got a nice voice and when I say voice, he has good command,” said Fewell of Beason. “He’s a very smart football player too. He can visualize plays. When you talk to him he understands concepts and so I think that’s a nice addition to have on your football team.”
The Giants hope to string together a couple of wins in these next few weeks and salvage at least a little something left of a season that has started off like nobody expected.