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Scouting report: Giants' defense

Nov. 25, 2012
 

Coordinator Perry Fewell calls plays and runs a varied scheme with multiple fronts and coverages that defies a conventional name. The Giants rank No. 12 in points allowed, No. 22 in yards allowed, No. 15 in rushing yards allowed and No. 25 in yards allowed per carry.

Here is a scouting report on the Giants' defense based on interviews with scouts and coaches:

Rushing defense

Their defensive line probably is the best and deepest in the NFL. Their best run stopper is tackle Linval Joseph (6-4, 323), though tackle Chris Canty (6-7, 317) and ends Jason Pierre-Paul (6-5, 278) and Justin Tuck (6-5, 268) play the run well when they decide to.

Their linebacker corps is on the pedestrian side. Mathias Kiwanuka (6-5, 267) is stout against the run on the strong side, and middle linebacker Chase Blackburn (6-4, 242) relies mostly on toughness and smarts. Weak side linebacker Michael Boley (6-3, 230) used to be more of a playmaker but has lost some explosiveness.

Passing defense

The Giants rank No. 25 in passing yards allowed and yards allowed per pass, and No. 10 in sacks percentage. They have the potential to be dominant rushing the passer but haven't been this season.

Pierre-Paul, who exploded in his second season last year (16,5 sacks last season), has been only OK this year (6.5 sacks), though he still scares the life out of offensive coordinators and could come on at any time.

Osi Umenyiora (four sacks) at age 31 doesn't have quite the juice he used to. Fewell often deploys special packages on passing downs with names such as The Four Aces and NASCAR, where he puts four defensive-end type rushers on the line. Pierre-Paul and Tuck move inside, and Umenyiora and either Kiwanuka or Adrian Tracy (6-2, 245) play the ends.

The secondary has been the Giants' biggest liability this season. Cornerbacks Corey Webster (6-0, 200) and Prince Amukamara (6-0, 207) aren't great in space.

The Giants should get some help with safety Kenny Phillips likely to return after missing six games because of a sprained MCL. He's a center fielder-type, and his return will allow Antrel Rolle to move from safety to slot cornerback in the nickel. Rookie Jayron Hosley was a liability in the nickel job when Rolle had to stay at safety.

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