Perry Fewell is under fire today after two straight inept performances by the New York Giants' defense. Bluntly, the discussion comes to this -- should Fewell lose his job as defensive coordinator after this horrid, and unexplainable, season by the Giants' defense.
Ralph Vacchiano of the Daily News didn't come right out and call for Fewell's dismissal today, but he did pen what amounts to a scathing indictment of Fewell's work this season:
Asking for answers at this point of the season was probably pointless, because all the beaten players on the Giants’ scorched defense can do now is shake their baffled heads. So many missed tackles. So many blown coverages. So little semblance of a pass rush.
So little energy and passion from a unit that returned nearly everybody from last year’s championship run.
"That’s not us," said Mathias Kiwanuka, moments after the Giants’ latest defensive horror show, a 33-14, season-killing loss to the Ravens. "We knew coming in that we had the talent to be one of the top-ranked defenses. We didn’t get it done, especially the last couple of weeks. But what’s done is done."
What’s done now is the Giants, thanks in large part to Perry Fewell’s defense, which was ranked sixth in the NFL one year ago and now has disintegrated before our eyes. What the Ravens did to them – 533 yards of offense, 224 yards on the ground – was hardly an aberration. This defense, in crunch time of the season, has given up 67 points in the last two games.
How do you explain what has happened to the Giants' defense? The blown coverages, which have been an issue for years now. The inability to get lined up? The lack of pass rush from a defense built for one thing -- to rush the passer? The consistent inability to stop the run despite having quality veteran defensive tackles? The constant changing of styles, on Sunday employing a 4-4-3 look that simply reeked of Fewell, one week after watching the Giants miss 18 tackles, screaming from the mountaintop that he didn't believe in his personnel? A drop, with virtually the exact same players, from sixth in the league a season ago to being the 30th-ranked defense in the NFL after surrendering a ridiculous 533 yards on Sunday?
Yes, there are holes in the defensive personnel. Corey Webster has disintegrated before our eyes. There isn't a big-time, playmaking linebacker among the myriad of guys Fewell shuffles in and out from week to week and play to play. Yes, Justin Tuck has had a miserable season and it's fair to question just how interested the Giants' defensive captain is in playing at this point.
There is, however, no excuse for not being able to straighten out the constant coverage mistakes. There can be no excuse for confusing your defenders to the point where they can't line up properly -- and for being out-guessed as often as Fewell appears to be about how the opposition plans to attack your defense. Chase Blackburn told Vacchiano after the game that the Ravens had the Giants "in a messed up personnel," which reeks of the defense not being ready for what Baltimore was doing. That, unfortunately, is not the first time we have seen that.
There is, finally, no excuse for the lack of pass rush when you have pass rushers as capable as Jason Pierre-Paul, Osi Umenyiora and Mathias Kiwanuka. Even tackles Chris Canty and Linval Joseph have some pass-rush ability. Yet, the Giants have only 32 sacks, 19th in the league. Most times they simply send four rushers who plow straight ahead and try to win one-on-one matchups. Jason Pierre-Paul has 6.5 sacks for the season and none in his last six games.
On a few occasions this season we have heard Fewell say perhaps he hadn't put players in the best position to rush the passer. Isn't that a pretty terrible indictment when your defense is predicated on rushing the passer?
The other thing is that we have seen all of these issues in other seasons -- especially blown coverages and inconsistent run defense. Yes, the Giants put it all together for a great run late last season, but these issues have largely been hallmarks of Fewell's tenure. Why? I don't know, but with the number of talented. veteran players the Giants have it's a mystery why they aren't better than this.
Do you want Fewell replaced as defensive coordinator? Vote in the poll.