New York Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell agrees with head coach Tom Coughlin, who agrees with most Giants fans. Defensive end Damontre Moore should have been in the game Sunday on the final game-winning drive by the Dallas Cowboys.
"I had the freedom to call what I needed to call at that point in time. That wasn't a factor at all. He should have been in on the coverage package that we were in. He should have been in," Fewell said. "We just didn't do a good job of managing who ... because things were going fast, so we just didn't do a good job of managing that. That's poor on our part."
"Everybody wants him [Moore] in the ball game. He did have some success the other day with one sack. Should have been playing a little bit more."
Well, Fewell, Coughlin and defensive line coach Robert Nunn don't get a do-over on that one. Maybe, just maybe going forward this means the Giants will finally take the shackles off the second-year defensive end. It seems like this is the umpteenth time this season that we have covered this topic, and that the coaching staff has talked about getting Moore on the field.
Nunn talked at mid-season about getting "more at-bats" for the 2013 third-round pick. GM Jerry Reese said during his mid-season press conference that he would like to see Moore on the field more often:
"I think he needs to play a few more snaps. I think he needs to be more of a contributor with the amount of snaps that he plays," Reese said. "It seems like when he gets in the game, he makes something happen. I think he's progressing, but I think he needs to play a little bit more."
Here is what Fewell said on getting Moore playing time during the final five games:
"For Damontré, I think really we just have to do a better job of just managing his snaps. He's a better pass defender than he is a run defender and really that's the bottom line. Sometimes when you see him in practice, he doesn't always execute his assignments so when you go in, you don't know exactly what you're going to get. We keep coaching him up in the assignment aspect of what we're trying to do," Fewell said. "We're just going to have to go with what he does because he is productive at times when he's on the field. We just have to do a better job of managing his snaps. That's just the bottom line. We have to try to get him anywhere from 15 to 20 to 25 snaps, if we can, in the ballgame and go with that."
Fewell, while taking responsibility for the personnel decisions on the fateful final drive against Dallas, did not let the players who were on the field off the hook completely.
"The unit that we put on the field, to be quite honest, we just didn't get the job done," Fewell said.
Why didn't the Giants blitz more on the final drive?
"We had not been executing our pressures with the other personnel group very well. ... I was thinking about pressuring the guy [Dallas quarterback Tony Romo] on that drive still. We had something that occurred that wouldn't allow me to do it and then we had another factor where we jumped offsides on another pressure. There were several things that went on in the ball game that said, hey, I had to pull off the pressure."
Mostly, what happened was that Fewell didn't trust his players to execute a blitz successfully. Why? Because on the 45-yard touchdown pass to Cole Beasley earlier in the game middle linebacker Jameel McClain blitzed when he wasn't supposed to, per Fewell, hanging the secondary out to dry. On that play, I had said in 'Kudos & Wet Willies' earlier this week that it looked as if slot corner Jayron Hosley had gotten smoked on the play. If, however, McClain was not in the middle of the field where Hosley and the rest of the secondary expected him to be that changes the story significantly.
On the game-losing 13-yard touchdown pass to Dez Bryant it appeared that Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was in 1-on-1 coverage. Fewell indicated that was not supposed to be the case and that someone lost track of where he was supposed to be on the play:
"There was a double on Dez. There should have been two guys on Dez," Fewell said.