Tom Coughlin was not pleased with the first team defense's play against the run last Saturday. Although they didn't surrender any touchdowns or big plays, the coach was critical of the way they got beat off the line, much like the way they did last season.
DC Perry Fewell has been given a few new interior lineman to work with this year and yet, the run defense came out soft vs Pittsburgh.
"There were some plays at the beginning of the game that I felt like we could have defended better," said Fewell. "We didn’t defend them as well. I thought we were anxious at the point of attack. We reached on the first play and didn’t play that as well. I thought later on in the game we settled down. I thought we tackled better as the game went on. When we don’t take people to the ground here in practice, I was concerned about how our overall tackling would have been. I did not have a lot of missed tackles in the football game, so I was pleased with that. We tried to focus and we tried to hit what we saw and obviously we want to be better each week and so we’re a work in progress. No doubt about it."
He makes a good point. Lack of contact in the preseason practices could very well be the reason for getting sideswiped in the first game. As time goes on, they will ramp up the physicality. That is, if they have their full squad intact for the season.
Fewell addressed the media before practice today....
[sny-accordion title= "Perry Fewell Transcript Aug 13" ]Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell
August 13, 2013
Q: How concerned are you about Antrel Rolle?
A: Any time he goes down and he stays down, he’s not a player that stays down and doesn’t miss practice, so I was concerned.
Q: Are you less concerned today?
A: Well we don’t really know. So I’m always concerned when a player is down and we just have to keep waiting and you have to check with Tom on updates for injuries.
Q: Can you talk about Ryan Mundy?
A: A sound football player, a smart football player. I’m happy that he’s with us. He’s very conscientious and physical.
Q: How difficult is it for a defensive coordinator not knowing from day to day how a guy’s ankle is going to feel?
A: It is a difficult process for us because it is a touch and go situation with an ankle. Because it is preseason and we’re in our training camp mode, we’ll do the best possible thing that we can to take care of him and make sure that he is healthy. But it’s going to depend on the player, and he responds well to injury or to bumps and bruises, so we’ll just have to wait and see.
Q: How would you characterize Antrel Rolle’s value to this defense and what he gives you game in and game out?
A: He’s one of the building blocks. He’s a brick. He’s always there. He’s tough. He’s the motor that sails us. His presence is always valuable for us.
Q: How is Terrell Thomas coming along?
A: Yesterday, he received about 50 percent of the reps that we were wanting to give him. I thought he responded extremely well. There were two situations he was in man coverage and he did an outstanding job, in my opinion. He showed burst. He showed the ability to come out of a break when he was covering in man coverage. So we’re going to take it day by day with him. We’re going to bring him along as the trainers and as Terrell speaks to us about how he feels on a daily basis, but it was exciting to see him back in action.
Q: If things continue to go well with him, will you try to get him in the Colts game?
A: That’s a question for Tom.
Q: What about Ryan Mundy in terms of his knowledge of the defense?
A: He is very knowledgeable, as far as the defense is concerned. He does not have the experience and the background that Antrel has because he hasn’t been in the system as long, but he’s very conscientious and working with Stevie Brown, he’ll be fine.
Q: The secondary has been pretty consistent since the spring with Corey Webster and Prince and at safety. Do you envision, regardless of Antrel’s situation, that maybe you might have to play around with different combinations at the back end before the preseason ends?
A: I hope not. That’s a tough question for me to answer right now because Antrel is our glue and he’s the guy that binds us together. We will always explore different things each week, each preseason game just going into the season to say this combination looks good versus these sets of wideouts versus this team and we’ll always explore and experiment during this time, but hopefully we can stay intact as much as we possibly can in practice and during some of the preseason games.
Q: Is Cullen Jenkins more versatile than you originally thought seeing the tape and seeing him live in person?
A: He was pretty good on the tape I saw and having him with us, he is definitely versatile. We’re going to take advantage of his versatility. He’s very explosive. He’s much stronger than I initially thought he was and he is violent in his reactions and so that’s a good thing for us and it’s very pleasing.
Q: Can he be a fourth pass-rusher in the NASCAR package?
A: No question.
Q: How has Marvin Austin been performing?
A: I thought Marvin performed well this past Saturday. He’s progressed each week in practice. He’s had a full offseason with the OTAs, which he didn’t have in the past. I look for good things from him this Sunday in the football game. This will be a really good opportunity for him to showcase his quickness and his abilities. I think Pittsburgh is really a big massive offensive line. Indy, they’ll play more to the strengths of Marvin and so it will be exciting to see him in this game Sunday.
Q: What’s your take on the linebacker situation? Has anybody stepped up?
A: I think we’re working together as a linebacking corps very well. There is no standout. I think they worked together well as a group. I like the combinations that we use in practice and that we’ve used in the game and I hope we can continue to grow and build in that respect.
Q: When you look at the hypothetical depth chart when everyone is healthy and then you take into account the injuries of JPP and Antrel, how different is that unit from what you would ideally have?
A: When you take those two players out, you’re talking about two playmakers that any team in the National Football League would love to have. So that’s hard for me to assess when you don’t have those pieces, but I think as a unit we’re working hard and we’re striving to be a better unit and I like our approach and our attitude and I like the way our players are working and so we’ll keep making strides towards that goal.
Q: It’s August 13th. Between now and the season opener, how hopeful are you that those two will be back?
A: Very hopeful.
Q: How are things shaping up at the middle linebacker spot with Mark Herzlich and Dan Connor?
A: Both players are outstanding players in my opinion, and both bring different things to the table for us. We’ll work both combinations. For instance, the first play of the ballgame on Saturday, Mark did a great job of taking the guard on. He was very physical in the football game. He ran through the guard that he could have made the tackle. Dan did an outstanding job in taking on blocks. He shedded some blocks well. He made some plays. He did well in coverage. So I like the combination of both those guys in our defense and I’m happy that we have both of those guys.
Q: How is the competition between Damontre Moore and Adrian Tracy going for the fourth pass rusher spot?
A: As I look at it, it’s a healthy competition. Damontre is a young man that loves to play football. He’s got a lot of football in him, but in the same sense, as a rookie, he’s making a lot of mistakes right now; things that can hurt us, but he plays so hard and he’s having so much fun and the exciting thing about your first preseason game and a rookie is just to watch their faces. They light up. They have a smile on their face. It’s a genuine love for what they’re doing and I respect what they’re doing out there. Damontre was having a ball. He was having a great time. He was playing hard. Adrian Tracy is much improved. I think he’s going to contribute to our football team. We’re going to be a better defense if he continues to get better and if that competition continues to thrive, we’ll be better at the ends and in our pass rush.
Q: Why are you switching your defensive ends from side to side?
A: Schematics. Looking at the offseason, I thought that this would be a good change for us, so just schematics.
Q: Is it not letting the offense know who is going to be there?
A: It’s schematics.
Q: Can you show some 3-4 looks this season?
A: We’ll be very multiple. Personnel wise, we have guys that fit a 4-3. We have guys that fit a lot of different defensive combinations and so I’m going to build a defense based on our personnel.
Q: Does Damontre’s ‘wow plays’ throw the balance against those rookie mistakes?
A: I love ‘wow plays.’ He had a critical play in the ball game in a fourth down situation for us Saturday and he took an inside pass rush move and the quarterback escaped outside and he lost contain and we lost the integrity of the defense and so I appreciate what he was doing and I think that’s part of his learning process and so once he understands that I think that he will play within the framework, but he will still continue to give us the ‘wow plays’ because he has that type of ability.
Q: Are you sure he can help you this season?
A: I’m positive he can help us this season.
Q: What about Aaron Curry? What have you seen from him?
A: Very strong at the point of attack. I like him as an on the line of scrimmage linebacker. He’s shown really good leadership in our room and with the linebackers and he is working hard to return to form.
Q: Is the defense more versatile this year than you were a year ago?
A: I think we have some players that have some versatility at the different positions. We’re experimenting. We don’t actually know if we’re as versatile as we can be, so we’ll find out in some of these preseason games, but we’d like to think we’re more versatile.
Q: How has Jacquian Williams been developing?
A: I’m pleased that he is on the field each and every day practicing. For us last year, he wasn’t on the field in training camp. He gives us some versatility. He gives us some flexibility because of his coverage skills and so he’s a big part of our puzzle in helping our pass defense. I’m very pleased with what he’s doing on a daily basis and if he continues to improve for us we can be better as a pass defense.