The New York Giants’ defense has carried the team all season, and that has remained true post-bye. In their last two games, against the Philadelphia Eagles and Cincinnati Bengals, they’ve collected five sacks and forced three turnovers. And don’t look now, but the Giants are no longer last in the NFL in sacks (they’re now 30th with 14).
Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo credits his group’s communication and relentlessness for their continued improvement.
“The continuity comes when you have the same people talking and the same people communicating with each other. I think in the last couple of weeks, we’ve had that,” he said. “What is different from this team than say the ’07 team is that Antonio Peirce was out there for all downs. You only heard one voice. Now, Kelvin (Sheppard) and Keenan (Robinson) have done a nice job. That was a little bit of an up and down. I think it’s smoothing out a little bit.”
Spagnuolo didn’t touch on whether or not he’ll eventually reduce Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon’s snap counts, but he did expound (somewhat) on Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie’s health and adjusted role in the defense.
“He was dealing with a little bit of a back issue in the last game. He looks okay right now. All those guys are going to be in and out. We’re not going to change that. We’ll keep it fresh,” Spagnuolo said. “Part of that is they have to play special teams, too. DRC does a little bit of that. I think it helps the whole team when we get a number of guys through. That’s not going to change.”
Here are a few more takeaways from Spags’ media session ahead of Giants vs. Bears.
On JPP’s performance against the Bengals:
“Yeah. I noticed the one where he gets that long body up there and knocks the passes down. I think that people feel him. That’s a good thing for us. When you have to worry about one guy, you can do some other things. I think he’s steadily gotten more comfortable. We all realize, as you get further and further into the season, it gets really important. We want it to continue to be important.”
On Eli Apple bouncing back after a tough game against the Eagles:
“Yes, he did. ... Anytime you’re a corner out there pressing as much as we do, there’s some unnoticed really good plays. There were some really good snaps in there where both him and Rabbit took away the wide outs. It was good to see.”
On Odell Beckham Jr’s Super Bowl ambitions:
“We have a ways to go. To me, there’s no such thing as perfection but we chase perfection. Our motto is ‘we chase perfection and rely on relentless.’ That’s what you need to do. If you start thinking that way, that’s when you go backwards, in my opinion. Let’s talk about the next game, the next play. All the stuff you hear from coaches, that’s what we’re focused on.”
On Bears’ rookie Jordan Howard:
“That running back is as good as I’ve seen all year.”