One season after winning the Super Bowl the New York Giants appear to be headed toward missing the playoffs. A large part of the reason is a disappointing defense that had not rushed the passer effectively, has surrendered too many big plays and is ranked 30th in the league in yards given up per game.
Over the past two weeks the Giants have been torched for 67 points in losses to the Atlanta Falcons and Baltimore Ravens. Thus, it's no surprise that defensive coordinator Perry Fewell was peppered with questions on Thursday about what had gone wrong, especially in the past two weeks.
"We’ve prepared better than what we’ve played," Fewell said Thursday. "We haven’t made plays. I think if you look at the tape, we’re in position to make plays, and we haven’t made plays."
The Giants are surrendering only about 111 yards more per game this season than last -- 376.2 in 2011 to 387.8 this season. During last season's playoff run that numbers dropped to 328 yards per game.
"They just have to make up in their minds…I think they’ve been playing hard, but they have to make up in their mind that we have to make some plays," Fewell said. "We have to get a spark from somebody. Somebody has to go through and make a football play and get everybody going."
Fewell has been frustrated by the defense's inability to produce turnovers the past two games.
"We’ve been in position, we haven’t made a football play for the last couple of weeks. We’ve been in position to make football plays, but it hasn’t gone our way," Fewell said. "They say turnovers come in bunches and sometimes we get them in bunches, and right now, we’re on a dry spell, a two-game dry spell."
The Giants have surrendered 73 plays of at least 20 yards this season, 16 of those going for at least 40 yards.
"It’s frustrating for me and for the defense to give up the big play. That’s been our nemesis all year," Fewell said. "Have we worked to eliminate the big play? Yes, we have. Have we been able to do that? No, we haven’t. I can’t tell you why."
Fewell was also asked about the lack of productivity from Justin Tuck, who sat out last week and has only three sacks on the season.
"Is he as effective as he was at the end of last year right now? No," Fewell said. "I think Justin is trying to play hard, but he’s not making any plays. Just like our guys haven’t made any plays in the last couple weeks."