New York Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell has been studying the offense of the Eagles for a while now. Not just the days leading up to the game when most teams study film, but Fewell told the media he has been preparing his defense for Philadelphia head coach Chip Kelly, "when the Eagles hired him" in the offseason.
Kelly, the former Oregon Ducks head coach, has incorporated his college-style offense, which relies heavily on the read-option and a fast-paced attack, into the Eagles playbook, but so far he has not had much success; and the Giants hope they can keep the trend going.
When Fewell was asked about the Eagles offense ran by Kelly, he said, "it was something that was new coming into the National Football League and so obviously you wanted to go and prepare for something that was new and challenging coming into the league."
Fewell admitted that although they have studied film on Oregon, the offense that the Eagles run will be somewhat different come game time.
"We’ve watched a lot of tape on the Ducks. "Not only their 2012 season, but ’11, ’10," said Fewell. "There are some things that are similar. He hasn’t put his whole offense in yet, we feel like. There are things out there that haven’t been tested, but there are similarities."
The Giants, who have started the season winless and lost four games straight, have been plagued by injuries, and it is the list has only grown longer. CB's Aaron Ross and Corey Webster did not practice yesterday, while LB Mark Herzlich and CB Terrell Thomas were limited.
"Whether it’s one guy or two guys, it’s always difficult because you don’t have continuity," Fewell said on the injuries.
One concern that is on the mind of Giants fans is the health of the defensive line, including DE Jason Pierre-Paul who has been invisible this season, along with the entire defensive line as they have generated next to no pressure on the opposing quarterbacks. Fewell believes that the expectations for JPP were too high as he was returning from offseason back surgery.
"Yeah. I think everybody’s expectation level was so high that he would come back and be superman. I’ll use that term," said Fewell. "But obviously a player has to work himself back into shape. He has to work himself back into a football mentality and he has to keep working at his craft in order for his skills to rise to the top level."
While Fewell said that he did not want to comment on any medical conditions because he believed some players would suit up on Sunday, he made clear that he was not afraid to use some of the less-experienced players on the line.
"I don’t have any problem playing Johnathan (Hankins). We’ve been saying all along we wanted to try to find a way to get him some game experience," said Fewell.
When it comes to the pass rush, it's an obvious spot that the Giants must improve on, especially with the ability of Eagles QB Michael Vick, who has the skillset to pass the ball or use his legs for a long yardage run.
"I think that we have to get them into situations where they want to drop back and throw the football and then the pass rush would be huge in that sense," said Fewell. "As we studied this offense in the offseason and during this season, they’re a good running offense and they’re a good running offense with a play-action pass. We’ve got to create those situations where they become a drop-back offense."
With the Giants struggling on offense to put points on the scoreboard, the defense is going to have to come up big this Sunday and keep Kelly's high intensity offense, relatively quiet.