Even though the season is over for the Giants, the game must still be played, and this week, Big Blue will look to play spoiler as they face the Detroit Lions who are still battling for the top spot in the NFC North.
With an offense that includes the combination of Matthew Stafford, superstar Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush, the Giants defense is going to have to prepared to avoid another blowout. It might not be so much about the preparation for Detroit’s high-powered offense that has talent at every offensive position, but the effort that the defense puts in, knowing that they are playing for nothing other than attempting to salvage what is left of the team’s reputation.
Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell acknowledged that even though the Giants won’t gain anything from winning this weekend, they certainly won’t give up.
“This group is a pretty resilient group,” said Fewell when addressing the media on Thursday. “Everybody gets frustrated, but when we assembled again on Wednesday, they were ready, they wanted to know what the plan was and they were looking forward to this next challenge. It is what it is and they came ready to work again this Wednesday, so I was okay.”
One thing that Fewell noted was that frustration has become evident among the defensive players, but they understand that it is a team game.
“It’s a team game. We all work together,” said Fewell. “Some days we’re going to have good days and some days we’re going to have bad days. If Seattle wouldn’t have scored then it would have been a tie game and we’d be sitting here with a different result. We had some work that we left out there, too.”
With Calvin Johnson ranked among the NFL’s best in receiving yards and touchdowns (second in the league), the Giants secondary is going to have to be especially watchful with the talents that “Megatron” showcases each game.
“He’s tall. He’s got great hands. He runs good routes and so you really have to be on your game and even if you’re on your game, he’s just capable of making the difficult catch,” said Fewell. “It’s one of the tougher challenges that we face this season because just of his skill level and his ability to break the game open.”
The problem for the defense will be matching up a capable cornerback to contain Johnson, especially with the offensive scheme that Detroit runs. Fewell understands that when Johnson switches positions on the field, he could face a better matchup with smaller cornerbacks like Jayron Hosley or Trumaine McBride, who is still questionable this week.
“He lines up at the number one, number two, number three and so to try to follow a guy around and match your coverages and stuff like that against a guy that lines up in multiple positions is a very difficult thing to do,” said Fewell. “So obviously we’ll have a plan of what we’d like to do, but they do a good job of moving him around in different spots on the field.
With Reggie Bush finally finding a team’s offense that he feels comfortable with, as he approaches the 1,000 yard mark, an achievement he has only reached once in his 8-year career, the Giants defense is going to have to make sure they can keep the momentum going in stopping run so they don’t open up the option for the Lions to hurt them on play-action.
“Linval Joseph, Cullen Jenkins, Hank, Mike Patterson, those guys have been really good inside and that’s helped us tremendously in the run game,” said Fewell. “With the addition of Jon Beason, he’s a very smart football player. We keep saying to you guys that he’s been a voice for us, he’s brought some good stuff to us, so that has been really good for us. We’ve tackled well throughout the season.”
Fewell also touched upon the Giants rush defense and the exceptional job they have done throughout the year, in comparison to the poor season that they had last year in stopping the run.
“If we can keep that combination going for the next two weeks, our run defense is improving, as it is night and day.”