Speaking defensively

TGI's Tom Mackie was on hand when the Giants assistant coaches met the media earlier this month. Here are some of the more pertinent topics defensive coordinator Tim Lewis discussed.

On the DL: We have to stop the run better than we did last year. I think we've done some things to shore that up. We brought in Kendrick Clancy, a kid who's accustomed to this defense and has played it for a number of years with me at Pittsburgh. We'll have Kenderick Allen back and ready to go. He had made tremendous progress up to the point where he'd gotten hurt last year. Damane Duckett was a young kid that we got off a practice squad that we ended up getting at the end of the year.

We have a number of good defensive tackles. Fred Robbins, William Joseph. So we feel good about all those guys.

On Antonio Pierce: Of course, Antonio (will be a factor). What he's done in shorts so far and on videotape playing for someone else's team is reason to believe that he can be a really solid NFL player in stopping the run up the middle.

On William Joseph: Keep progressing. He's got athletic ability. He's got size, strength and speed. He's got all those things. He just needs to do it on a consistent basis. The bottom line is, he's got a lot of ability. He's got a lot of tools. He's got to do it on a consistent basis and that's what we ask for – consistency. He's got all the measurables.

On pass defense: Contesting the ball in the air. First you've got to be close enough to the ball to contest it. So that's what we've got to do. We've got to get these guys to be close enough, to understand angles, leverage, how to judge and play the ball in the air. How to judge its distance, its height, how to get on the right side of the receiver, how to be there when the ball is coming down at the reception point, and then learning how and feeling comfortable enough to possibly leave your feet (if you will) after going full speed or backwards or sideways and be able to go up and get the ball on the ground or catch it.

You can teach guys how to catch footballs. Some guys are not as adept to catching the ball as others. Some don't catch it as well as others. For the same reason that I never played receiver, I played defensive back.

On defensive scheme: We're really not a 3-4. We're not a 4-3. It's kind of a hybrid defense. I told you this last year. The bottom line is the seven best guys on the front will play. And whether we play them in a 4-3 alignment or 3-4 it doesn't really matter. It may switch in the middle of a game or switch in the middle of a series.

We're trying to win football games so it's just a matter of having the best alignment and the best scenario out there. And it could change. In the middle of the game depending on who's healthy or who's down, it changes.

The Giants Beat Top Stories