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More insght into our defensive schemes

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More insght into our defensive schemes

Post  Big_Pete on Tue Jun 08, 2010 5:24 pm

About the coverage....


Giants to change up their coverage, use multiple looks this season
By Mike Garafolo/The Star-Ledger
June 07, 2010, 5:00PM

AP File PhotoGiants secondary coach Peter Giunta said Monday the team will employ fewer straight man-to-man coverage looks this season. Last year, man coverage allowed the Chargers to score a last-minute touchdown.
If you’re a hardcore follower of the Giants and this blog, you’ll remember the game-winning touchdown pass by the Chargers against your team last year. You’ll also recall how much I hated the coverage call because I felt it unnecessarily gave San Diego an open lane to the end zone.

It was “Cover-2 Man,” which meant 1-on-1 coverage on the four receivers across with two safeties up top. The argument was it was a go-to coverage for Bill Sheridan’s defense and that the then-coordinator wasn’t about to switch up his scheme in the game’s final minutes to my suggestion of a four-deep coverage that protected the end zone and allowed the defenders to face the ball instead of having their back to Philip Rivers.

It was stubbornness at its worst. It allowed Vincent Jackson to get behind Corey Webster. And it was a big reason the Giants dropped their fourth straight game on the way to a 3-8 meltdown.

Well, if you agreed with my criticism, you’ll be happy to hear a few things that came out of the mouths of Giants secondary coach Peter Giunta and safeties coach David Merritt Monday.

Namely, that new coordinator Perry Fewell will employ various coverages, will exhibit flexibility in his game plans and calls and will design a scheme intended to put his defensive backs in a position to better view the offense and make a play on the ball.

“We were very aggressive. We didn’t want to give the quarterback a chance to throw the checkdowns to hopefully discourage him from making those completions,” Giunta said of last year's defense. “Well, now we may give up a few more completions, but we’re going to have more guys swarming to the ball and making hits and tackles on the receiver and ball carrier.”

Let me be clear: there are lots of advantages to playing aggressive, press coverage. Giunta listed them right there by pointing out how a man-coverage scheme takes away the “checkdown” and other short passes. If you’re the Giants and you think your pass rush is one of the best in the league, you definitely want to eliminate the quick throw to give your linemen and blitzers a chance to get to the quarterback.

But when the rush is off, when Webster isn’t quite himself, when Kenny Phillips isn’t on the field and when you’re protecting a lead of four or more points in the game’s waning seconds, adjustments need to be made and the end zone needs to be protected.

From the sound of things (and remember, it’s only June), Fewell seems willing to make those adjustments to vary his schemes.

“I would label Coach Fewell as a multiple-front, multiple-, multiple-coverage defensive coordinator,” Merritt said. “He is the furthest from a Tampa-2 guy.”

That’s the reputation Fewell had as a disciple of the Bears’ Lovie Smith. But those who played for Fewell in Buffalo said categorizing him as a Tampa-2 coach is far too simplistic of a description.

Still, Giunta expects his cornerbacks to play more zone-like techniques this season with the man-to-man matchups coming “later in the down than earlier” in press coverage.

“We used to match up on the snap of the ball,” Giunta said. “Now, in certain coverages, we’ll drop to our area and then pick up people as they come through our zone.”

Of course, this raises a flag when it comes to players such as Webster, who struggled in playing “off” coverage under Tim Lewis only to be rejuvenated when Steve Spagnuolo arrived with his more aggressive
coverage schemes.

But Giunta said there will be plenty of opportunities for Webster and the equally-long Terrell Thomas to play closer to the receiver.

“They’ll be able to use their tools. They’ll be able to mix in the press, mix in the bail, mix in the off coverage with them,” Giunta said. “We’ll give them the tools and, based on the guys they have to play, they’ll be able to mix those as much as they can. We’ll obviously give them some guidance and direction, but hopefully they’re going to be able to say, ‘Hey, this is how we’re going to play it.’

“(Fewell) gives them a lot of leeway. We have to develop that trust factor with the players. Once that trust factor’s there, it’s going to be very, very exciting.”

As for the safeties, Merritt is asking them to be more vocal, more active and more aggressive than they were last year. It’s already visible during spring practices, with the safeties often rotating from deep middle to down low and vice versa just before the snap.

The veteran presence Antrel Rolle and Deon Grant provide – as opposed to the deer-in-the-headlights look C.C. Brown and Aaron Rouse flashed most of last season – is allowing Merritt to unleash his safeties’ creativity and vary the coverage at the back end of secondary.

“We’re rotating, we’re disguising, we’re moving around,” Merritt said. “I say, ‘Guys, I want you to push it. Stretch yourself as far as the disguise package. Give false calls, false dummy calls. Maybe it’s the correct call, but yell it out so loud that the offense may think it’s the incorrect call.’ That’s what these guys – Deon and Rolle – are bringing to the table.”

* * * *

Giunta is also hoping for more flexibility with his nickel cornerback this season. If Aaron Ross can stay healthy, it will give the Giants the option of playing Ross or Thomas inside against slot receivers instead of having only one player pegged for that position. Both Ross and Thomas have excelled in the slot with multiple interceptions inside.

"We may change it by game, depending on who the other team's slot receiver is," Giunta said. "If you have flexibility like that, it really helps. Terrell had a great year in there last year and Aaron, in 2007, that was his deal."

The following year, the Giants tried to keep things simple for Ross as a starter by leaving him outside and allowing Thomas to play inside in obvious passing situations. Now, with both having experience at multiple spots, the team believes they can move their corners all over the place.

"People won't be able to predict, 'Oh, he's the nickel so we can attack here,'" Giunta said.

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Re: More insght into our defensive schemes

Post  Big_Pete on Tue Jun 08, 2010 5:28 pm

about the Dline


* Back during the rookie minicamp, defensive coordinator Perry Fewell
mentioned that he was not a big fan of using a defensive line rotation.
Well, that doesn’t mean that they won’t be using a rotation at all, as
today, defensive line coach Robert Nunn, in his first year with the
team, said that there will be some rotation involved, though the goal is
to stick with the hot hand. Nunn also had no complaints about DE Osi
Umenyiora, who rotated on the one’s with Mathias Kiwanuka today.

"He has been outstanding,” Nunn said of Kiwanuka. “He continues to
buy in more and more every day, especially last week came to work very
eager to learn. I have talked to him openly about it. Those things will
work themselves out (playing time). We just have to work and improve
ourselves individually as much as we can going into training camp and
throughout training camp."

Umenyiora was rotating in with Tuck, who last week tweaked his groin
and who at times appeared to be a tad deliberate in his movement. The
groin tweak isn’t serious and Tuck, who remember is also recovering from
shoulder surgery, should be ready to go by training camp.

* Speaking of Nunn, he’s worked to tweak some minor technique things
in order to get the defensive linemen to play the huge role expected of
them this year as best as they can. One of the things he tweaked is the
players’ stances. For example, rookie Linval Joseph said that a
noticeable difference for him is that in college, he was coached to play
lower to the ground where as in this defense, the defensive linemen are
asked to play with a little more balance.

* Good news. DE Mathias Kiwanuka, whom as I tweeted was used inside
at left defensive tackle on a few sub alignments, has given up
motorcycles. Even better news is that is brother Benedict is out of
intensive care and has begun his recovery. Kiwanuka said he wasn’t
wearing a helmet when he and his brother were struck by a car – helmets
are not required by law in Indianapolis. Kiwanuka said he didn’t even
fall off his motorcycle and hence was unhurt. I'll have more on the
defensive alignment coming up.

* I keep trying to uncover some more clues for you as to how this new
defense is going to differ than last year’s fiasco. Well, I’ll share
something that David Merritt, the Giants’ safeties coach, offered which
was actually in response to something a player had told me. This year
the defensive backs are going to do more of a zone-man approach that, as I understand it, will see them wait for the quarterback to throw the ball.

Once they get an idea on where the ball is going, they’re going to
break toward the intended target. Merritt pointed out that one of Coach
Fewell’s philosophies is that you can’t make play for the ball if you
don’t know where it’s going to be thrown, so that’s something that will
be different this year.

* * *

Clarification: 5:45 PM -- Some people have asked me about my earlier
attempt to define the differences you will see in the defensive
secondary this year. I went back to my tape and here is what safeties
coach David Merritt said.

“When you look at this defensive scheme and what we’re putting
together, the nucleus of this team is the defensive line. That’s our
strength. We feel like now we’re strong on the back end, which we
haven’t been in the past. So now you take that and you say, ‘The
quarterback has the football. You can’t go anywhere until he throws the
ball.’ So why stare down a receiver and play him man-to-man and the
quarterback is still holding the ball and he ends up throwing to the
opposite end? Ok, let’s focus on the quarterback. Coach Fewell has
brought that back to the Giants organization. If the quarterback is
still holding the ball, you can’t go anywhere until he throws it. so
focus on the quarterback and emphasis on the fact that he’s going to
take us to where we want to go and we want that ball.”

In my attempt to make sure I was clear on what I was hearing, I asked
Merritt if it was like starting out in a zone and then once they
identified where the ball was being thrown, going to a man coverage . He
said, “That’s exactly right. That’s exactly what it is. It’s not a big
difference from what we’ve done in the past, but it is a little more
emphasis on the quarterback, especially when we’re playing Cover 3 and
Cover 2.”

Merritt also said that Fewell “is the furthest from (being) a Tampa-2
guy.” He added, “I would label Coach Fewell as a multiple-front,
multiple-, multiple-coverage defensive coordinator.”

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Re: More insght into our defensive schemes

Post  Big_Pete on Tue Jun 08, 2010 5:41 pm

Personally I found this encouraging and along the lines of what I expected.

I am very interested to see how it shapes up in training camp.
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Re: More insght into our defensive schemes

Post  56 Crazed Dogs on Wed Jun 09, 2010 7:11 am

It should be a fun defense once again to watch.
We now have decent players at safety and the d-line should all be healthy once again.
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Re: More insght into our defensive schemes

Post  Pizan on Thu Jun 10, 2010 11:35 am

I'm happy they finally put all that Tampa 2 bullshit to rest. Glad they also touched on the rotational stuff too. I'm sure they wish fewell never said anything on the rotation. It just sounded stupid and he left his asst coaches to clean it up.

Not making excuses for Sheridan but he got dealt a pretty shitty hand and then was made the scapegoat. Although I do feel he's just a position coach in this league. Problem with Sheridan was he tried to do what spags did. The defense will see a big difference with returning healthy players and the addition of rolle. I'm still a little worried about our run defense but our secondary should be fine.

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Re: More insght into our defensive schemes

Post  Big_Pete on Thu Jun 10, 2010 5:50 pm

The rotation comments aren't that bad. We won't be switching guys out every couple snaps but will leave them in for longer to get more plays in a row. It's just a longer rotation is all, not no rotation at all.

Sheridan did get a bit of a bad deal, but there are factors.
Both Spagnuolo and Fewell are firey, passionate style of coaches, whereas Sheridan was more the guy who doesn't get ruffled no matter the situation.

Spags and Fewell are known for making good in game adjustments, they have a feel for the flow of the game and make changes to suit. To be fair Sheridan had limited options for the most part, but he was plain awefull.

The biggest problem in my opinion was that we were far too predictable. Both Spags and Fewell like to mix things up alot with misdirection and disguise which kept the offense off balance.
(partcularly Spags with his blitz packages and Fewell with his coverage schemes (so it seems))

It could be that with our mix of players and coaching staff a Spags/Fewell kind of guy is a better fit. That certainly doesn't make Sheridan a bad coach or DC.

I am not so worried about the run defense, I think it will be ok. I think the addition of Joseph plus healthy Canty, Alford and Bernard will get the job done inside. MLB should be ok if they can keep blockers off him (whoever wins the job). But having said that the run defense has needed work for some time. Our passing defense is potentally vicious.
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Re: More insght into our defensive schemes

Post  Big_Pete on Sat Jun 19, 2010 5:05 am

a little more info

Recently, secondary coach Peter Giunta talked about the new coverage
schemes under defensive coordinator Perry Fewell. Thursday, Fewell was
asked if Giunta’s description of more “zone principles” and matching up
with receivers “later in the down” is accurate.

“That is accurate,” Fewell replied.

One of the concerns that might raise would be the effect on a player
such as Corey Webster, who has enjoyed a career resurgence since Steve
Spagnuolo arrived in 2007 with a more aggressive man-coverage scheme.
Playing more “off coverage” would seem to be counterproductive for

But Fewell seems to have a grasp for Webster’s strengths and said he
will have plenty of opportunities to play tight to the receivers.

“What I tried to do with our scheme is give them a structure, a basic
foundation, they could hold on to it. And then their individual talents,
they can accomplish what we need to accomplish within the bounds,”
Fewell said. “So, yes, he will have that freedom to do that.”

Said Webster, “This year, we’re doing it a little bit different to play
off the quarterback, see where he’s looking and read him downfield so
hopefully we can make more plays on the ball. … You get a little more
vision on the ball. You’re helping (yourself) to get an earlier break or
jump on what the receiver is trying to run. Ultimately, you have to
read the receiver’s route downfield, but knowing what side the
quarterback is going to can help out a lot, too.”

Webster, who was credited with only 12 passes defensed last season after
recording double that amount in 2008, also thinks mixing up the
coverages will be a chess game that could confuse opponents.

“It’s a different changeup,” he said. “You don’t want anybody to know
what you’re going to know just what you’re going to do every play if you
press every play. So I think we’re doing a good job of mixing it up,
showing press, doing some bails and some different off techniques. I
think all the cornerbacks feed off that as well. … Kind of like a
pitcher trying not to tip your pitch. We’re doing the same thing.”
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