Tag:Perry Fewell
Posted on: November 30, 2011 2:54 pm
 

Film Room: Giants vs. Packers preview

Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit



What you’re about to read is not a prediction for the Giants to knockoff the undefeated Packers. The Giants are banged up, have lost back-to-back primetime games and are coming off a trouncing by the Saints offense.

Come Sunday, they’ll have had only six days to prepare for the even-more-prolific Packers – a team coming off a mini bye after playing last Thursday. But there are myriad opportunities to read about why Green Bay can further push New York into one of its patented late-season declines.

We already know which is the better team here. So instead of just joining the masses, let’s challenge ourselves by examining how/why the Giants might be able to pull off an upset.


1. Throwing from base personnel
The Giants offense is most comfortable operating out of base personnel (two backs, one tight end, two receivers). Base personnel gives the Giants more opportunities for a balanced run-pass gameplan and aids their play-action.

More importantly, if last year’s Week 16 matchup between these two clubs is any indication, the Packers will match the Giants’ base personnel with their own 3-4 base personnel. Green Bay is considerably less dangerous lining up in a standard 3-4. Most of Dom Capers’ blitzes and subterfuge come from the nickel 2-4-5 package (with Charles Woodson sliding into the slot).

Against the Pack’s basic 3-4, the Giants pass-blockers can worry less about identifying blitzes and more about traditional execution. The front five can focus on sliding protection towards Clay Matthews and the running backs will have a cleaner look at their help-blocking assignments (such as chipping on the edges or covering for a lineman who gets confounded by a stunt).

What’s more, out of base personnel, the Giants running backs would be bigger factors in the pass game, and Eli Manning would also have a chance to attack A.J. Hawk in coverage. Hawk has recently improved as a space player, but offenses still prefer throwing at him inside and down the seams versus throwing at Charles Woodson or the safeties against the nickel look.

Tight end Jake Ballard (30 receptions, 490 yards this season) gives the Giants an auspicious target in this matchup.

2. The Bradshaw factor
If Ahmad Bradshaw does not return from his foot injury this week, you might as well watch Rams-Niners or Cardinals-Cowboys or The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills during the late afternoon window. Without Bradshaw in the backfield, it will be very difficult for New York to throw out of base personnel, as Brandon Jacobs plays with oven mitts over his hands and D.J. Ware has not shown impressive start/stop quickness in the flats.

Bradshaw is a quick, versatile receiver and an underrated pass-blocker. More importantly, he’s far and away New York’s best runner (Jacobs can still plow over defenders when he has a head full of steam, but his lack of initial burst is a real hindrance to the ground game).

Running the ball is critical for the Giants because it helps keep Aaron Rodgers off the field.

3. The Eli factor
If Eli Manning is not in the tail end of that Tom Brady elite class, he’s comfortably at the very head of the class right after it. It sounds implausible, but Little Brother these days is underrated. Manning is having a career-year despite injuries to his receivers, top running back and offensive line (most recently, left tackle Will Beatty, who missed Monday’s game with a detached retina and will sit out again Sunday).

The Giants offense, even with the injuries and disappearance of its rushing attack (82.3 yards per game, 32nd in the NFL) has managed to post 22.9 points per contest (16th in NFL).

Manning, with his audible powers at the line, almost never lets the Giants attempt an ill-fated play. What’s not talked about enough is his arm strength. He has the gun to get the ball outside the numbers or through tight windows – and he can do it while throwing off-balance or falling back with defenders in his face. He’s as tough in the pocket as any quarterback in the game and, in the last year or two, he’s become routinely accurate.

4. How to attack downfield
The Giants may not prefer to spread the field and make this a shootout – they don’t have the wide receiver depth for that, especially if Mario Manningham’s knee remains an issue. But given the brilliance of the Packers offense, it’s possible – if not probable – that Big Blue will have to score 30-plus in order to win.

If that’s the case, the Giants may want to copy the Chargers’ approach from Week 9, when Philip Rivers & Co. hung 38 points and 460 yards on the Pack. In that game, San Diego lined up in condensed formations, with their receivers in minus splits (inside the numbers). With receivers starting their routes closer to the middle of the field, the Packer defensive backs were forced to defend more space, as they could not rely on the sideline for help:

The Chargers have good receivers and they got great protection up front that day, so they were able to capitalize on the condensed formations. The Giants receivers might be a grade below the Chargers’ (it’s debatable), but regardless, they’re capable of winning one-on-one matchups in space. The Giants’ O-line struggled two weeks ago against the Eagles, but it’s been stellar in protection most of this season.

Condensed formations don’t just create more space for receivers’ routes, they also create opportunities for picks and rubs with crossing routes, which present problems for any defense in man coverage.

5. Giants defense
As we covered in last week’s Film Room post, the Giants like to use their big nickel defense (two linebackers, three safeties) against an offense’s base personnel – especially when the offense has a versatile tight end (like Jimmy Graham last week or Jermichael Finley this week). Expect to see Deon Grant, Antrel Rolle and Kenny Phillips all on the field for most of this game.

It’s impossible to devise a gameplan that can stop Rodgers and this Green Bay passing attack. Your best bet is to bank on what you do best. For the Giants, that means rushing the passer with four. They got absolutely nothing from their pass-rush Monday night, which was disappointing given the glaring mismatch they had with their ends against the Saints’ iffy tackles. A four-man rush gives coordinator Perry Fewell seven defenders to play with in coverage, which allows for tighter zones and plenty of freelance defenders in man schemes.

The Giants stymied the Patriots with tight man coverage across the board a few weeks ago. That may not work in this matchup. The Packer receivers are the best in the league at beating man-to-man (in part because Rodgers is a genius when it comes to back-shoulder throws). Plus, the Patriots have a horizontal passing game; the Packers are more capable at beating you vertically. One slip by a man defender can equal six points for the offense.

In all likelihood, there won’t be just one simple solution for Fewell and his men on Sunday. They’ll have to mix coverages and try different things, all the while hoping that their star-studded pass-rush can show up.

So who will win? Check our NFL expert picks for all Week 13 games

Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
Posted on: November 22, 2011 8:28 pm
 

Scobee and Jackson in Twitter disagreement

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

You could understand why Eagles fans -- not to mention the team’s coach -- would be upset by DeSean Jackson these past few weeks.

After all, he slept through a Saturday special teams meeting, leading Andy Reid to bench him in Week 10, and then last week, after making a 50-yard reception, he flipped the ball to Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell, drawing a personal foul penalty and losing the entire gain.

But you know the moment you’ve really crossed the line? When another team’s kicker comes at you sideways on Twitter.

Scobee tweet

On Sunday, after Jackson’s ball presentation to Fewell, Jaguars kicker Josh Scobee tweeted the following: “Desean Jackson is a punk. #growuputinybastard.” To further clarify his thoughts, Scobee then wrote: “Relax people. He’s just a punk which means to me he doesn’t respect anyone or anything around him. Therefore I don’t respect him.”

On Tuesday, Jackson finally got around to responding, and he didn’t take to Scobee’s opinion all that kindly, writing, “This man @joshscobee is Waaaaaaay outta LIne!! Stick to ya Own business.. Mind ya own!! I don't respect what u sayin.. Lil Boi status.”

Jackson tweet

As the Big Lead points out, the tale of the tape if the two ever got into the boxing ring favors Scobee, who’s 6-foot-1 and 192 pounds compared to Jackson’s 5-10, 175-pound frame.

On Monday, Scobee backtracked by writing, "Shouldn't have called Desean Jackson that, I used the wrong words to try and make my point."

Maybe in order to settle this, Scobee could attempt really long field goals, and if they fall short, Jackson could attempt to run them back for touchdowns. Other than that, this is just a good ol’ Twitter feud that, unlike Osi Umenyiora vs. LeSean McCoy, is likely to end sooner rather than later.

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Posted on: November 20, 2011 10:56 am
 

Giants Mark Herzlich to make first start Sunday

Herzlich, a cancer survivor, will make the first start of his NFL career against the Eagles(Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

By Mark Herzlich's junior season at Boston College, he was an All-American and ACC Defensive Player of the Year, and the NFL appeared to be the next step in a successful football career. Instead of entering the draft, Herzlich returned to school for his senior year, but didn't play a down after he was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma.

He returned the following season but was only a shadow of his former football-playing self, and understandably so. Herzlich wasn't selected in the NFL Draft and that seemed to be the end of his professional career. But the Giants signed him as an undrafted free agent and now, 11 weeks into his rookie season, Herzlich, a cancer survivor, will make his first NFL start when New York faces Philadelphia Sunday night.

“It comes hand in hand,” Herzlich said, via the Newark Star Ledger's Jorge Castillo. “The better I play, the better my story gets. Obviously, my goal right now, and in general, is just to play better. I’ve beaten cancer, it’s in my past, but at the same time I continue to be proud of what I’ve accomplished.”

Herzlich, who appeared in nine games this season on special teams, gets a chance to play linebacker with Michael Boley doubtful due to a hamstring injury. But this isn't like Little League, where Herzlich's opportunity is less about his talents and more about letting everybody get on the field. He's earned it.

“Watch out for Herzlich now,” fellow linebacker and Boston College alum Mathias Kiwanuka said. “He’s going to play well.”

Adds Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell: “Mark is a go-getter. He is one of those 100 percent guys that if he sees something, he is going to go smack it and ask questions later.”

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Posted on: November 18, 2011 3:27 pm
 

Justin Tuck down on himself this year

TuckPosted by Josh Katzowitz

It seems clear that Justin Tuck is not having a great time this season. He’s missed four games with groin and neck injuries, and while Jason Pierre-Paul has become one of the league leaders in sacks and Osi Umenyiora has returned to his effective ways, Tuck is sitting at two sacks.

He’s so down about his season that he went into full self-flagellation mode on Thursday.

“I suck? Yeah," the Giants' defensive captain said.

And: “I'm not me. I'm not."

And: "I'm not a very good player right now."

He’s particularly down this week because Tuck is coming off a tackle-less game against the 49ers, and though defensive coordinator Perry Fewell is optimistic that Tuck eventually will return to full strength, he also has to remind Tuck that his presence helps free up Pierre-Paul and the rest of the defense.

"He just wants to make plays," Fewell said. "He made a comment to me, 'I have to get good again.' I said, 'Yeah, you've got to practice.' And this has been really his second week of really practicing at full-tilt for us. It'll come. He's a gifted player."

"You see the good, you see the bad, you see the things that are encouraging with some of the players and sometimes you see things they don't see. I just think it's, 'Man, I was in position to make this play and I didn't make that play. I would have made that play a year ago.'"

Some worse news for Tuck. He missed practice Friday, and he’s questionable heading into Sunday’s game. But Tuck said somebody stepped on his foot in practice Thursday, and the Giants were only holding him out as a precaution.

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Posted on: September 24, 2011 10:32 pm
 

Reggie Bush says Saints had fake injury play

Bush: the Giants looked "real bush league" on the fake injury play during MNF. (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

The biggest story of Week 2 didn't emerge until Monday night, specifically the moment when Giants safety defensive back Deon Grant (allegedly) faked an injury to slow down the Rams' no-huddle offense.

In the ensuing days, Grant defended himself, inexplicably, Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell did not, and plenty of folks have come forward to share their thoughts on what it means to pretend to be hurt.

Next up: Reggie Bush, who admitted that the Saints had a such a play in their playbook (via the Miami Herald): 

“We actually had that before in New Orleans,” Bush said, referring to the fake injury play. “It’s just one of those things when you get those hurry-up offensive teams. I mean, it’s legal. They haven’t made any rules yet to say it’s not legal.

“... For the most part you’re supposed to have a designated guy for that. It’s not supposed to be four or five guys falling on the ground at the same time. Obviously that looks real bush league.”

Faking injuries: everybody's doing it

Remember all the mock outrage in the days and weeks following the Patriots Spygate scandal? And then we found out that, to varying degrees, almost every NFL team taped opponents' signals? Sounds like faking injuries isn't much different.

Don't misunderstand, New England was rightly punished for Spygate. But it's not like they were the only team with a video recorder pointed at the opponent's sideline. And, as Bush mentioned above, the Giants had guys going down like there were snipers in the stands. The takeaway: moderation is the key to avoiding detection and ultimately, league sanctions.

Either way, we're with Ed Reed on the whole faking injuries phenomenon.

“I don’t know if they were pretending, man,” Reed said earlier this week. “Sometimes guys get tired. But it’s all within the game. It’s all tactical stuff that you need to use. Whatever it takes.”

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Posted on: September 23, 2011 10:30 am
Edited on: September 23, 2011 10:56 am
 

Giants coach Perry Fewell doesn't deny faking

Perry Fewell and Deon Grant respond to accusations by Bryan Kehl(Getty Images/US PRESSWIRE)

Posted by Ryan Wilson


We're four days into "Fake injuries: Why, lord, why?" and while the mock outrage has waned, the conversation about whether it's acceptable to take dives continues. Vikings punter Chris Kluwe sent out a helpful reminder that "this isn't soccer, play like you have a pair" (the league sent out its own memo on the matter, too), but that came a day after former Giants linebacker Bryan Kehl accused Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell of teaching his players to fake injuries.

When asked about it Thursday, Fewell, instead of flat-out denying the charge, offered this: "I can't say I've ever done that and I can't say that I haven't done that."

Informative. There's more.

"I know that [Giants safety Deon Grant] was down and I was glad that he got up, and he was able to play. If the guy can't play to his full potential and he was hurt, then he was hurt. But I can't say I did and I can't say I've never done that. So I'm not gonna go back and forth about it."

Weird, we thought "maybe, maybe not" was exactly what it meant to go back and forth. Not to worry, though; Perry defended himself when asked if Kehl's accusations were an attack on his integrity. "I'm not gonna respond."

The Giants and injurygate

That's a peculiar reply to somebody calling you out like that. But Grant, the player accused of faking an injury during Monday night's Rams-Giants game, had Fewell's back (Grant has defended himself, too).

"That's a lie. That's a lie," Grant said after Giants practice on Thursday. "Perry never said that a day in his meetings since I've been here. And Kehl's been here as long as I have with Perry Fewell."

Grant then hedged.

"And even if (Fewell did teach players to fake injuries), that was a coward move to me," Grant said of Kehl. "Even if that's something I was coached and I go somewhere else, I'm not selling out the guys that I went to war with. That's just not me. So that's a coward move if that was the case, and he still said something about it, but it's even worse when he lies. A grown man lying on another grown man, that's terrible."

Right. It's almost as awkward as a grown man saying something like, say, "I can't say I've ever done that and I can't say that I haven't done that."

Look, we don't have a dog in this fight, and in the scheme of things, pretend boo-boos are hardly the scourge on the NFL that some folks have made it out to be. In fact, we're with Ravens safety Ed Reed, who was asked if he thought the Giants were faking Monday night.

“I don’t know if they were pretending, man,” Reed said, according to the Baltimore Sun. “Sometimes guys get tired. But it’s all within the game. It’s all tactical stuff that you need to use. Whatever it takes.”

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Posted on: June 15, 2011 10:06 am
Edited on: June 15, 2011 1:22 pm
 

Fewell still confident about coaching prospects

FewellPosted by Josh Katzowitz

A few months ago, after Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell had gone 0-for-4 on landing a head coaching job in the offseason, Fewell felt fine about his position in the NFL.

He didn’t wonder if he had taken over for Leslie Frazier as the hot new Rooney Rule token interview. In fact, he felt as if the Rooney Rule helped him get his face and his ideas in front of the executives who hire head coaches – not just those who needed new coaches immediately, but for the entire league.

And just because the Browns job went to Pat Shurmur and the Broncos job went to John Fox and the Panthers job went to Ron Rivera and the 49ers job went to Jim Harbaugh – all of them beat out Fewell for those respective positions – that doesn’t mean Fewell feels hopeless.

Instead, Fewell – who was in charge of a Giants defense that ranked No. 7 in the league last year (after it was No. 13 in 2009) – is a confident man.

His attitude hasn't changed. Fewell still feels pretty good about his spot in the NFL.

“I know now, probably more so than ever, that I’m ready,” he told the Newark Star Ledger. “I’m prepared to lead a club and an organization and a football team into battle on Sundays to win a Super Bowl. I learned a lot about administration and organization and preparation as far as the interview process is concerned.”

Fewell's journey
Not only has Fewell steadily improved New York’s defensive ranking, he also has true proof that he can be a successful head coach. In 2009, the Bills fired Dick Jauron midway though the season, and they elevated Fewell – the defensive coordinator in Buffalo – to the interim head coach position.

Almost miraculously, Fewell led the Bills to a 3-4 record during the final seven games, giving his head coaching profile a huge boost. It was a wonderful performance by Fewell, and though the Bills passed him over in order to hire Chan Gailey, Fewell suddenly became a legit candidate.

Obviously, he went undefeated in NOT getting a new job this offseason.

But like Frazier before him, Fewell eventually will land his head coaching job. And it will have had nothing to do with the Rooney Rule.

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Posted on: February 26, 2011 2:09 pm
 

Kiwanuka's future very much unclear

M. Kiwanuka's NFL future is unclear (Getty). Posted by Eye on Football staff

UPDATED (2:05 p.m.): Jerry Reese released a statement, via the NY Times, that Kiwanuka has been cleared by doctors to play.

----------

INDIANAPOLIS -- Giants DE Mathias Kiwanuka had such a hot start last year, recording four sacks in three games and really thriving in new defensive coordinator Perry Fewell’s system. But he had a herniated disk problem in his neck, and he missed the final 13 games of the season.

He made $1.76 million in the final year of his contract next season, and though New York obviously likes his abilities, his future with the Giants is still unclear, especially considering he still hasn’t been cleared by doctors to play.

“Kiwanuka’s been getting good reports,” Giants GM Jerry Reese told the media today. “I don’t think he’s quite out of the woods yet with the doctors’ investigation on the neck. But he has been getting good reports. That’s good for us.

"I just think that confirmation, he’s been all over the place trying to get the right information so he can make his decision if he’s going to play again next fall. I think there’s a couple more doctors that he wants to get some confirmation from and our doctors want to huddle up and make sure everybody is saying the same thing, on the same page.”

But there seems to be a chance that Kiwanuka – who, thus far, has avoided surgery as he tries to make a recovery – wouldn’t play again at all.

“It’s a possibility. Who knows?” Reese said. “When you talk about neck injuries, Antonio Pierce, he had a neck injury and boom it was over just like that. Neck injuries are serious injuries and you have to be careful.”

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com