Although the Giants’ defense got off to a decent start to the season, the unit has sagged during the team’s recent four-game losing streak. Most alarming was an embarrassingly poor run defense effort against Seattle that led to the Seahawks accumulating 350 yards on the ground, mostly via the zone read option.
The Giants’ inability to adjust to the scheme naturally led to some questions about defensive coordinator Perry Fewell’s game plan.
“I don’t think [the Seahawks] did anything we didn’t expect them to do,” said Fewell. “We didn’t play some things that we had practiced particularly well. I don’t think they did anything that we didn’t expect them to do.”
It’s undoubtedly tough to execute well against a team that runs the ball as well as Seattle. The Seahawks are first in the NFL with 170.9 rushing yards per game. Lead back Marshawn Lynch gain a healthy 4.6 yards per carry, and even quarterback Russell Wilson already has 500 rushing yards under his belt this season. None of that, however, is an excuse for how poorly the Giants played on Sunday.
Fewell said that the defense was constantly trying to make adjustments, but nothing seemed to be effective. “We are coaching it every play because when we get on the sideline, we look at the pictures,” he said. “We are trying to make the adjustments and the corrections at that point in time. You can’t make it with the entire group, so individual coaches, individual positions are all talking and we are all trying to make those corrections as we go along.”
San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick hasn’t had the same type of success running the ball this season as Wilson has had. However, the 49ers have been effective running zone read before and it could be a strategy they try against the Giants this week given how badly New York was shredded by the Seahawks. Fewell is hard at work making sure his players are better prepared for the option this time around.
“We tried to change our approach this week in how we taught it,” he said, “Then we also we worked hard and put a lot of energy and effort into making sure that we explained exactly what the assignments were and we also walked through the different assignments and we’ve just continuously, mentally and physically and verbally, gone through option-football assignments.”
We’re going to come and we’re going to compete and we’re going to get us a victory on Sunday."
Giants fans are hoping that these new changes work better than the adjustments that were made in Seattle.