Heading into the Green Bay game on Dec. 4, Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell noticed that his defense had become rather chatty. Not in the trash talk sense but rather the communication between his unit.
"They really started focusing in and getting better and it's been a gradual thing for us," Fewell said. "They're a good group. They want to get it right. We've been young at times, we don't know how to get it right at times, but we have been a little bit stable the last few weeks."
Coming off perhaps their best two-week defensive stretch of the season, the Giants defensive coordinator acknowledged that he has seen more confidence from his team in practice and much more communication. The Giants are coming off back-to-back 14-point efforts against the Jets and the Cowboys.
The execution against the Cowboys was especially impressive considering Dallas had torched them for 34 points in the first game on Dec. 11. On Sunday night, the Giants were able to control the Cowboys and limit the big plays down the field. Dallas did not score in the first half.
Heading into the playoffs, the Giants defense appears to be peaking at the right time.
"I see a lot more bounce in their step and confidence. I see a lot more focus and them wanting to get it right and trying to get it right, demanding each other to get it right," Fewell said. "In the meetings, there's a lot of chatter, it's not always coaches, it's them talking to each about what they did right, wrong, or what have you. I think it's spilled over onto the football field."
TUCK AND OSI: It took 17 weeks, but the defensive coordinator finally got to see his two defensive ends playing well together at the same time. In Sunday's 31-14 win over Dallas, Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck combined for three sacks.
It included one in the first quarter when the pair of veteran teammates ran a well-executed stunt that resulted in Umenyiora sacking Dallas' quarterback Tony Romo. Fewell said the play was setup and coordinated well by the defensive ends.
"We've been waiting for that to happen all year long," Fewell said. "We just could never get them on the field at the same time, just due to nicks and injuries and that type of thing. It was fun to see. That was a fun game for me to call."
NO HUDDLE, NO WORRIES: Atlanta will likely employ the no-huddle offense against the Giants but Fewell did not seem too concerned. His team was accused earlier this season of faking injuries in the two-minute drill to slow down the other team.
"We've faced no huddle all year, we know it will be an up-tempo offense, we know it will be run-pass option," Fewell said. "We just have to get our hands in the dirt and play as fast as we can possibly play and disrupt the timing of the run and the pass."