By now, New York Giants fans have heard all about the uproar caused by Cris Coillinsworth saying Antrel Rolle got 'barbequed' last Sunday on a 50-yard touchdown pass. Rolle, of course, has been voicing his displeasure. Well, Thursday it was defensive coordinator Perry Fewell's turn to be grilled over an open flame as reporters peppered him with questions about the team's beleaguered defense.
After reading Fewell's comments I am not any more clear on what the Giants were trying to do on that 50-yard touchdown pass to Dez Bryant. The only thing that is clear? There was a problem, there is still a problem, and it seems as though no one is completely certain how to fix it.
Here is an excerpt from Fewell's meeting with reporters:
Q: What happened on the Dez Bryant touchdown pass?
A: We gave them a different look and all 11 defenders were responsible for that look. The defenders saw it different and we had a communication breakdown and the big play happened.
Q: Do you believe that all 11 players knew what the call was?
A: Actually I sent in a call and we gave them a special look. They got confused on the look. We had a special look for it and they got confused on the look. All 11 players were responsible for this call and all 11 defenders did not execute the call and that is why it was a big play for Dallas.
A 'special look?' I am not a defensive coordinator, but are 'special looks' that require perfect communication a good idea on a defense that has shuffled parts all season and had difficulty communicating and executing? Fewell obviously felt his players would understand what was called, and we know that did not turn out to be the case.
So, which player messed up the coverage? Rolle and Corey Webster have each said they were in the right spot, based on what they thought the coverage was.
Back to Fewell, who danced around that question as he tried not to point the finger at anyone and was also non-committal about how he might change his defensive calls to alleviate the confusion.
Q: Were Antrel and Corey in the right spot?
A: We didn't execute the right call so nobody was in the right spot. All 11 defenders were responsible for being in certain spots and we were not in the right spots.
Q: Does that mean that you need to simplify things?
A: I guess you can say yes and simplify things but sometimes you get too specific and you try to get some things. The offense can confuse you at times and that's what happened. Dallas did a good job and we didn't do a good job of recognizing.
Fewell was pressed for more comment on the way Webster and Rolle have reacted to the play:
Q: Are you fine with two players saying they were in the right spot?
A: No, I get the problem corrected between us as I am the defensive coordinator and they are a defensive team.
Q: Are you ok with them saying they were in the right spot?
A: I get the problem corrected with me being the defensive coordinator and with them as a team in the defensive setting and we try to fix the problem. I think the problem is fixable and the problem is correctable.
Give Fewell credit for not throwing anyone under the bus, even if the non-answers are frustrating. Mike Garafolo of the Star-Ledger, with the advantage of being able to review the 'All-22' film, has a great breakdown of the Braynt touchdown play which seems to back Rolle's contention that he was correct. It seems, though, that we will never get a definitive answer on that.
Fewell did say of the defense, ranked 30th overall in the league, that "we haven't been a complete functioning unit this year."
"I think we should be better. Sometimes we hurt ourselves by giving up some big plays and that type of thing," Fewell said. "We work fairly hard to eliminate those big plays and nobody is proud to be 30th but we just need to keep winning football games and trying to find a way to correct those big plays."