Asked on Thursday if he knew what to expect from the New York Giants defense on Sunday, Justin Tuck, the group's captain, said simply and directly "no, I don't."
Give Tuck serious bonus points for his honesty. And lump him right in there with just about everyone who has watched the undeniably talented but frustratingly unpredictable Giants defense this season.
"I know we will be ready to play. Some games we come out and rush the passer great, sometimes we play coverage great and sometimes we play run defense great. I just know that this team seems like we have our focus back, not to say that we lost it but it just seems like it is elevated," Tuck said. "I think guys have made that conscious decision that we are going to go these next four games starting with this one against Dallas playing our hardest. Wherever we end up after these four, we will go from there. I think a lot of times you get so caught up defending yourself and making excuses for how you play that you forget if you go out there and play the way it is supposed to be played and how everybody in this room is capable of playing it, it speaks for itself."
Only four teams in the league have surrendered more than the 315 points the Giants have allowed this season. Granted, the Giants played the high-flying offenses of the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers the past two weeks, but the defense needs to give the Giants offense some help over the next four weeks.
"This franchise and a lot of the names on here are defensive guys. We have had some great defenses around here during my time here and obviously previously," Tuck said. "This year, for whatever reason, our offense has been the superior unit and that is not to say that we haven't had flashes on defense. I think our offense has been the more consistent unit."
Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell admitted Thursday that all of the injuries suffered by the Giants have had an impact.
"Six corners and three backers. You can't cry over spilt milk. We're in a position right now that hey, we have to come out and play. Nobody feels sorry for our situation. We know that. I think the guys are really trying to do a good job of focusing and doing what we're asking them to do. We just have to try to get it done," Fewell said. "It definitely disrupts your continuity."
The Giants can only hope that the effort the defense showed against Green Bay makes its way to Dallas.
"This is a big, important game for us. I think the players know that. We know that as a coaching staff we're in a position to do some things that we like to do. I think the passion and the fire will be there," Fewell said.
It had better be if the Giants hope to play a playoff team. If it isn't, this season is over.