New York Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell lit into his defense Thursday in a fiery session with reporters at the team's East Rutherford, N.J., training complex. Among other things, Fewell said he saw on his film review that some players were pulling up short on plays in Monday's loss in New Orleans and that the Giants will "get after" Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers on Sunday afternoon:
"Being the coach and the leader of the defense, that was disheartening," Fewell said. "It was disappointing more than disheartening. Because we don't coach that. I am going to say it like this, we don't coach pulling up short. We are not going to accept pulling up short so we won't pull up short again."
The Giants' once-fearsome pass rush also has vanished in recent weeks. The Giants have five sacks in their past four games and didn't have any Monday against Drew Brees. The Giants know the pass rush with the four down linemen is the key to the defense, and Fewell vowed that it would look different against Rodgers on Sunday.
"We have to be very disciplined in our rush lanes," Fewell said. "But more so than disciplined, we got to get after his a--. If we do that and he scrambles, then that is the price he is going to have to pay because we are going to hit him. We are going to hit him."
It's obviously good for the Giants that Fewell is fired up and holding his players accountable for their lackluster play in Monday's game. It's good that Michael Strahan made a visit this week and talked to the defensive line. It's good that somebody in East Rutherford finds the defense's most recent effort unacceptable, because it was. But nothing Fewell or Strahan or anybody else who won't wear a Giants uniform Sunday says makes one bit of difference if the same angry feelings aren't also bubbling up inside Justin Tuck and Corey Webster and the Giants defenders who haven't been playing like themselves lately.
Fewell's tirade can only have an impact if it took root in the hearts of the men he coaches, and if they share in his embarrassment over the way they looked Monday. If they're going to continue to mope and wait for other guys to make plays, they're going to keep losing and probably get embarrassed again Sunday by the undefeated Packers. But if they're all as fired up as Fewell was Thursday, things could look a lot different. We have a little less than three days before we find out what kind of defense the Giants' players themselves plan to play Sunday -- inspired or, once again, defeatist.