Most Giants fans are asking, “Who is Perry Fewell?” and what does the hiring of Perry Fewell mean for the G-men in 2010? Long overdue, here is my take on what the G-men faithful can expect as a result of the hiring of Perry Fewell.
Perry Fewell is a leader. After taking over for Dick Jauron after week ten of the 2009 season, Fewell led the Bills to a respectable 3-4 record the rest of the way. Fewell enjoyed the support of his players and it was obvious that the team did not quit after his appointment as interim head coach, all positives.
Fewell is described as a “get in your face” type of coach who relates well to his players and is aggressive with his defensive schemes and play-calling. After the G-men’s defensive collapse in 2009, an emotional, high-energy defensive coach is a sight for sore eyes. Under Fewell’s leadership, the 2008 Bills finished fourth in red-zone defense, another welcome sight for the G-men, who, in 2009, reached unchartered territory (prior to the final game against the Vikes, the G-men posted a league worst 68.5% touchdown rate in the red-zone).
Another positive for Fewell is that the 2009 Bills were the second ranked pass defense in the league, giving up only 6 yards per pass play while totaling 28 interceptions, while giving up only 14 touchdown passes for the year. The 2009 Giants gave up a whopping 31 touchdown passes with only 13 interceptions. My friends, this is a statistic that must change in 2010 in order for the G-men to return to the playoffs.
The Giants must improve against the pass, especially in a division where they face Miles Austin and Desean Jackson twice per year (yes, I am leaving out the vaunted Redskins passing offense for right now). Fewell’s arrival brings hope on this front. The Giants are not without talent in the secondary (Webster/Thomas), but the secondary is clearly an area that must improve.
Expect Giant changes to the secondary in 2010. Other than the return of Webster and Thomas, nothing is guaranteed. Aaron Ross, the Giants 2007 first round pick, missed most of the season with a ridiculously nagging hamstring injury. Kevin Dockery, a favorite nickel-back of year’s past, regressed last year and lost his job to an un-drafted free agent out of Miami, Bruce Johnson, who was exposed during the second half of this past year. No one know how Kenny Phillips will recover from major knee surgery, and Michael Johnson simply did not get the job done at the other safety spot. It’s not smart to pencil in Aaron Rouse as a starter in 2010, though he showed enough in run support to be a viable back-up next year.
Where does this leave Fewell and the G-men? Obviously, the cupboard is not bare. The return of a decent pass rush (a healthy Justin Tuck would be nice as well as a return to form from Osi) will help out the secondary and the addition of a play-making safety (expect the G-men to take a long look at George Wilson of the Bills, who is familiar with Fewell’s defense or watch the G-men leap for Kerry Rhodes, if he becomes available) is an absolute necessity in what has become a pass happy league.
P.S.: I am not drinking the Perry Fewell koolaid. The Bills were awful against the run in 2009 (30th in the league, giving up an ugly 4.7 yards per carry and a horrific 156 yards per game). But, Giants fans can have some confidence that the Giants run defense should be considerably better as the Bills front four (Kelsay/Spencer Johnson/Kyle Williams/Aaron Schobel) is hardly considered to be a talented group.