Good morning to you all, a happy Tuesday for everyone (or, as we like to say, festivus for the rest of us!). Another day of Giant OTA(s) concluded yesterday, and there are not a ton of individual highlights to talk about (other than the ever growing legend of Ramses Barden making spectacular catches during practice time, which has led to about no catches thus far in a real game, though we have high hopes for the second year wideout from Cal Poly). Still, yesterday’s OTA brings us a little more insight into new defensive coordinator, Perry Fewell’s defensive strategy.
From the sound of it, Fewell, a disciple of Lovie Smith and the famed Tampa 2 defense, is going to be mixing it up quite a bit with his coverages in the secondary. Thank god. After watching the Giants get decimated week after week in the secondary (not to forget the Giants, at times, were almost as bad playing the run), a shake-up in philosophy and personnel was necessary. Gone are C.C. Brown and Aaron Rouse (with incumbent safety Michael Johnson clearly sitting on the roster bubble), welcome in Pro Bowl safety Antrell Rolle, veteran free agent Deon Grant, rookie 3rd round pick Chad Jones, and a possible return of Kenny Philips (who was once again running on the side during the OTA activities). Couple that with young practice squad holdovers Vincent Anderson and Shareff Rashad, and the Giants are deeper, younger and more athletic at safety (with a solid core at cornerback with Webster, Thomas, and Ross). Not a bad start personnel-wise, especially if the d-line again forms a beast-like pass rush. Fewell has more talent and weapons to work with than during any of his time in Buffalo, a good start for sure.
With news that Fewell is going to run a hybrid coverage scheme, making multiple adjustments along the way. Ahh adjustments, every coordinator has the ability to make them, but not every coordinator does so successfully (Spagnuolo mastered the art, Bill Sheridan, his predecessor, not so much. Giants safeties coach Bill Merritt had this to say, “I would label Coach Fewell as a multiple-front, multiple-, multiple-coverage defensive coordinator,” Merritt said. “He is the furthest from a Tampa-2 guy.” (thank you to Mike Garafolo of nj.com for this bit of information). At least Perry Fewell recognizes the need for varied looks not only in the secondary but also on the front line so he can take advantage of multiple pass rushers (Tuck, Osi, Kiwi, JPP, Sintim) while rotating guys in and out to keep them fresh (I can not wait to see a healthy Cofield and Canty team up with the Anvil, Linval Joseph, to plug the middle and give this defense some teeth).
One more interesting piece of news: Jonathan Goff continues to get the majority of reps with the 1st team defense at middle linebacker, but rookie Philip Dillard has also seen time with the 1st team. It is only June folks, but it looks like Dillard is going to get his shot and the competition is shaping up to be fierce. Stay Blue!