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Justin Tuck Says Perry Fewell's Style Is A Better Fit For New York Giants Defense

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ALBANY - On the first day of practice, the Giants' defensive players stood around in five big circles like kindergarteners on a playground. The teacher then threw them a ball and they played "hot potato" until only one was still left standing.


There was laughter, there were smiles, there were even a few good-natured arguments about whether safety Sha'reff Rashad really was the winner.


And in the midst of all the fun, there was also a point.


"You know, everything is done for a reason," said defensive tackle Chris Canty. "He does that to train our eyes, to be aware of the football, and to know where the football is at on the field at all times. That's how you become cognizant of the ball and create turnovers."


Welcome to the world of Perry Fewell, the Giants' new defensive coordinator and the man charged with restoring the pride and confidence in the battered defense. In his first six months on the job and just one week into training camp, he's hit them like a fireball with his undying energy. He's lifted the sagging spirits that came from giving up 427 points last season - the second-worst total in franchise history.


And after a miserable year under the guidance of the unpopular, all-too-serious Bill Sheridan, Fewell has reminded the players that learning - and playing football - can still be fun.


"We definitely needed that," said defensive end Osi Umenyiora. "Last year everybody was down on themselves, everybody was down on the team. Now we have a guy coming in who is upbeat and energetic. He won't allow us to hang our heads no matter what happens."


"He loves excitement and he loves players that like to go out and have fun," added new Giants safety Antrel Rolle. "If you're not having fun, you're not playing ball."


That seems to be the philosophy that the 47-year-old Fewell has brought to the job in his 13th season in the NFL. He has the same energy and enthusiasm that Tom Coughlin saw when Fewell was his defensive backs coach in Jacksonville from 1998-2002. And it's the same attitude that his players loved during his five years in Buffalo, including seven games last year as the Bills' interim head coach.


The Giants' players immediately fell in love with him too, which helps since they appeared to lose faith in Sheridan early in his only season as defensive coordinator. Sheridan's approach was more serious and studious, according to players. Fewell's approach can be seen on his sleeve when he's running down field after an interception in practice, yelling "I got this block!" or celebrating a big defensive play.


Behind the scenes, he manages to keep things light even when he's being serious. The players enjoy laughs when he punctuates his meetings with a quote from an old TV show or a lyric from an obscure song. They smile (and sometimes cringe) when he sings a few bars for them. Most importantly, they believe in their defensive coordinator for the first time since Steve Spagnuolo left to take over the St. Louis Rams after the 2008 season.


The energy, the fire and the positive vibe that once carried them to a Super Bowl championship ... it's all returned. If Fewell is having that much fun and he's that excited about his job, the players figure, how could they not be excited about their jobs, too?


"If your leader is doing that, then it's OK to do that," said safeties coach Dave Merritt. "I don't even have that much energy and I'm eight years younger than him. But at the end of the day he's running to the huddle, getting after guys in a positive, constructive way. It's a beautiful thing. That's what we need, especially on defense. You've got to have that energy."


"That goes a long way," added defensive end Justin Tuck. "When you have young guys that you want to follow you, it's a little easier for guys to get behind you when they see you're enjoying what you're doing."


Fewell doesn't find all this excitement anything to get excited about. As far as he's concerned, there's no other way he'd even consider approaching the game.


"I mean I enjoy and am passionate about the game," he said. "I enjoy communicating with the players. I'm excited about football. When they make a good play, I get excited about that. When they make a bad play, I encourage them to make a better play. That's just the way I coach football. I just love the game, so when you love the game you just coach from your heart. And that's what I love about football."


Whether it translates into a better defense remains to be seen. But Fewell already has accomplished his first big task by reviving a beaten unit. The depression that ran rampant through the defense at the end of last season has been replaced by nothing but optimism.


"Without a doubt," Merritt said. "It's a totally different feel, even for the coaches."


"We've got the right guy here," Tuck said. "He fits our defense better. His personality fits better. But whether that develops into more third-down stops and fewer points on the board, we have to see.



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i want one of those hats.


I used to have on of those.. not sure whay they're called (bodi/boonie hats?). I've been looking but I think the place to find them is one of those Army Navy stores.

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I used to have on of those.. not sure whay they're called (bodi/boonie hats?). I've been looking but I think the place to find them is one of those Army Navy stores.


without a giants logo- i can get the hat anywhere.


Clarence the Blue Puppet user_popup.png

Posted Today, 03:53 PM


I predict the Giants win the Super Bowl, thanks in part to a newly fired up and hungry defense, and Fewell leaves to go coach a shitty team.


I'll take that outcme

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I predict the Giants win the Super Bowl, thanks in part to a newly fired up and hungry defense, and Fewell leaves to go coach a shitty team.

If the Giants ride this D to a Superbowl TC will retire and Fewell will take over the team....

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