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Quick quiz on Fewell's defense

CT Charlie : 8/19/2013 6:26 pm
In 2012, where did we rank in the league on:

a) takeaways per game, and
b) red zone defense (in terms of TD's allowed)?





a) 3rd best in the NFL in takeaways per game
b) 4th best in the NFL in red zone defense (ranked by percentage of time a TD is allowed) 46%

Only 6 teams in the NFL had a red zone defense under 50%. That means 26 teams in the league gave up touchdowns in the RZ more than half the time.

I'm kinda neutral on Fewell's D, and I'd love to see us play more aggressively, but this suggests that "bend don't break" may be deliberate.
They were also 12th in points allowed.  
arcarsenal : 8/19/2013 6:44 pm : link
Just like the Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens were.

But it's much easier for people to choose the one measure that paints the defense in the worst possible light (yards allowed) and use that as the only barometer by saying the Giants were the "31st ranked defense in the NFL" .
Also.. people will say "bend but don't break" is an awful philosophy..  
arcarsenal : 8/19/2013 6:46 pm : link
...because Fewell's defense can't get off the field on 3rd downs.

Except in 2010, they were 1st in the entire league in 3rd down% and about middle of the pack in 2011. They were bad in 2012 and that needs to improve.. but it's not a schematic issue because if it were, they never would have sniffed the top of the league in that category.
The problem was that they couldn't stop  
phil in arizona : 8/19/2013 6:54 pm : link
the run by the end of last year.

You can't rely on the turnover, especially if you allow the opponent to control the clock.
My issue with bend don't break  
larubbio : 8/19/2013 6:55 pm : link
Is that it would seem to increase the amount of time the defense is on the field. That would seem to lead to a tired out defense late in games. It also seems that it would limit the amount of chances our offense gets, and we all seem to agree that the offense is our best attribute (which is why I'd like to see more hurry up).

Anyway I'm not sure if the first two points are true, it would be interesting to see a study that shows snap counts for us vs. other teams. I think getting the ball to our offense as often as possible is the second most important role of the defense (after preventing points)
the percentage of TD's from the red zone  
Pitt G-man Dan : 8/19/2013 7:02 pm : link
must also be matched with the amount of times allowed into the redzone AND the number of TD's scored from outside the redzone. So if the Giants gave up the 12th highest amount of points they either allowed a lot more red zones chances, had a very poor ramking on TD's against that came from outside the redzone or the offense/teams gave up a higher than average number of points.
Two words: ROD RUST  
Dave M : 8/19/2013 7:37 pm : link
As fans we can't ever know what the problem is because let's face it there are a few problems. Last year veterans like Tuck and Webster looked complacent and old and we don't have much of a LB core to speak of so it may be that the D coordinator is trying hedge his bet and play soft. Personally, I think it's a wimpy mind set to have. If you are afraid to line up and go 1 on 1 at times you aren't a winner.

In my opinion Defensive players are taught to be aggressive and they instinctively want to attack. Our Defense seems to be a reactionary Defense where you digest a play before you make a move. It completely takes away what defensive players do best. The times that The Fewell defense looks good is when a 4 man rush dominates the other teams O line or we play terrible offensive teams. Now, that is a great formula if you had Strahan or JPP at the top of his game. We don't have that. There is very little innovation coming from our coaching staff as of late and especially on the defensive side of the ball. If my memory serves me correct these were the same complaints people had of Fewell when the Giants hired him. He coached too soft in Buffalo. To me the attitude of the D is starting from the top and trickling down. If Fewell wants to the Giants to bring back the nasty(or whatever it was he said) he should start with himself. Now, I like Fewell and I'm by no stretch an expert but he continually appears to put round pegs into square holes. It doesn't look good for improvement so far.
check that  
Dave M : 8/19/2013 7:43 pm : link
square pegs into round holes. haha. looked good the first time
Far too many people think the easy answer is to just blitz.  
arcarsenal : 8/19/2013 8:00 pm : link
Play press and man to man coverage and blitz constantly.

If that were the easy answer, every NFL defense would be doing that on nearly every passing down. It is far more complex than that. Most importantly, you need the right personnel.

It's also a lot easier to do if you've got Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner on the outside.

Did anyone ever think that maybe Fewell couldn't use Webster in press because he had a broken hand?
AC I agree it's not the answer to just blitz  
Dave M : 8/19/2013 8:36 pm : link
You can't play press every play and you can't play off every play either. Last season the Giants were beat in every facet on D. Teams ran on us, they passed deep on us, they ran slant routes on us(over and over and over again). The players always seemed to be in the wrong position or a step behind. Now, I'm not the guy to make excuses for the players at all but coaching goes into that as well. Hell, I even feel TC and Reese deserve some blame too for some of the personnel decisions they've made. Either way, after the defensive performance last year I can see why fans are a little antsy about how bad we've looked so far. I'm looking forward to see how we look against the Jets. If Sanchez shreds the D too I won't log on here until the regular season.
Dylan fan : 8/19/2013 8:41 pm : link
Well, wasn't Webster's broken hand proof in & of itself that "bend but don't break" didn't work? :)
I don't think there was a reason to feel ansty about the D last night.  
arcarsenal : 8/19/2013 8:42 pm : link
A few of the blitzes got through and forced Luck's hand.. there didn't appear to be communication problems.. we had players in position to make plays on both of their TD's and the run defense was pretty stout for the most part.

I'm not sure why posters are alarmed by the defensive performance last night. It wasn't bad at all. They scored on one of the flukiest plays you'll see and Hosley had coverage on the 2nd TD.. he just turned and played the ball too soon rather than following the WR deeper into the endzone. That's technique stuff that a young player needs to improve on... but schematically, I didn't see many problems.
Not a for or against Fewell observation  
wgenesis123 : 8/19/2013 8:46 pm : link
just wondering how Buffalo fans felt watching Fewell beat the Patriots with the Giants in the Super Bowl. As an older fan who enjoyed having Bill P. and Bill B as head man on the defense, Fewells defense is hard to like. After the Super Bowl run in 2012 I really expected better things from Fewells defense in 2013. It did not happen and as a fan I wonder why? I am not so sure its his fault but if I give him credit for the Super Bowl run in 2012 than how do I not give him credit for the failures of the defense in 2013. I think this coming season should be make or break for Fewell.
Nobody also puts together the fact that  
mattnyg05 : 8/19/2013 9:13 pm : link
The games the Giants have won under Fewell, especially the playoffs and Super Bowl, they didnt give up a lot of yards.

So while everyone shits on yardage and pumps up the turnover stats, the fact is the Giants didnt give up any yards in those playoff games. They held their opponents in check quite handily and they did NOT play like a lower 20s rated yardage defense. Last year against the packers and 49ers- a common theme, they didnt give up yards.

Turnovers are great but the bottom line is you don't win a lot when you give up 500 yards no matter how many turnovers you get, and you almost never win handily.
In other words,  
mattnyg05 : 8/19/2013 9:19 pm : link
The Giants played significantly stingier yardage defense in the 2011 playoffs than they had at almost any point during the year. I don't care how it happens, but improving their total yardage stats is vital to winning and poo pooing total yardage is misleading when you look at the 2011 season.
I agree with larubbio..  
drkenneth : 8/19/2013 9:26 pm : link
Defense on field way too long, gets tired at end of games.

It's a bad match for our offense. I would care less if our offense could sustain long drives, controlling clock.
The 2009 Saints team that won the Super Bowl was 25th in yards allowed  
arcarsenal : 8/19/2013 9:35 pm : link
And 20th in points. The 2006 Colts team that won the Super Bowl were 23rd in points allowed and 21st in yards.

Yards allowed isn't always directly correlated with winning teams.

The 49ers nearly won the Super Bowl last year giving up 30ppg in 3 playoff games.

If the Giants allowed just 10 yards less per game last year, they would have moved up about 6 or 7 spots in yards allowed.. if you average it out to yards per possession, it becomes a tiny, negligible amount.

Also.. the Giants offense was 23rd in the league in average time of possession last year. So while most people would be quick to say it was because the defense couldn't get off the field, you can just as easily say that the offense couldn't regularly sustain drives. Like the 4th quarter of the PIT game when they had three 4th quarter possessions and couldn't manage a single 1st down and did nothing but generate negative yardage.
It's about getting hot at the right time  
mattnyg05 : 8/19/2013 9:45 pm : link
Neither of those two teams gave up yardage in the playoffs. The colts were a different team when bob sanders came back.

The Giants barely made the playoffs in 2011 and they barely missed it in 2012. Turnovers are great and scoring defense is the name of the game, but if the 2011 Giants played 31st ranked yardage D in the playoffs, we wouldn't have a second title. I don't care if they're 32nd overall in yardage as long as they get in, but they have to turn it on at the right time. No team wins the Super Bowl giving up huge yardage in the playoffs, it just doesn't happen.

It's less about overall ranking  
mattnyg05 : 8/19/2013 9:51 pm : link
To me than it is about actually stopping the other team. To me, the 49ers didn't win the Super Bowl because they couldn't stop a good offense. They have a great team but I felt like at the end and throughout the year they got burnt.

Every D gets torched and its increasingly tougher to stop teams in today's NFL. But 30 teams did that better than the Giants... That doesn't mean 30 teams are better but they can improve and it will help them win.
arcarsenal : 8/19/2013 9:55 pm : link
The 2009 Saints gave up 357.8 YPG in the regular season and 422 YPG in the playoffs.

So.. they did give up yards in the playoffs. A lot of yards.

The 2006 Colts and 2011 Giants gave up less than their regular season average.. but the point is that you can't just directly correlate yards to winning.
Hell, let's just go back to last season.  
arcarsenal : 8/19/2013 9:57 pm : link
Baltimore gave up 350.9 YPG in the regular season and 428.3 in the playoffs.

Doesn't seem to support your argument.
You can't...  
mattnyg05 : 8/19/2013 10:01 pm : link
When you bring up those three examples. Fire out the 99 Rams and then find me a shittier defense than the 2009 Saints in terms of yardage and especially yards allowed in the playoffs.

Most teams who win the Super Bowl don't give up a lot of yards in the postseason. It's almost like saying most baseball teams who win the World Series don't give up runs so its kind of a moot point, obviously if they win theyre doing well.

I'm just saying, because of their defense the Giants were lucky to have a shot at a Super Bowl in 2011 when it could have easily been like the 2012 ending or 2010. That's not all on the defense of course but there's certainly room to improve and to me, giving up less yards is a great foundation for a defense.
And if you look at history,  
mattnyg05 : 8/19/2013 10:13 pm : link
you'll find a lot of top 10 defenses in terms of yards in the Super Bowl.

I'm not saying it directly correlates to winning, but its pretty obvious it makes it a lot easier to win when you can force your opponent to punt (or force a turnover!!!!!) without letting them move down the field at will. That just seems to be common sense.

And I'm not arguing about the current Giant defense. I've seen a lot to like in the preseason and I'm confident they will have a great year.
Not to keep commenting either  
mattnyg05 : 8/19/2013 10:15 pm : link
but you can force your turnovers and NOT give up the yards in the process. One doesn't have to rely on the other. Get your turnovers and stop the other team... Why do you have to allow teams to dictate field position to get turnovers?
Red zone offense/defense is much less consistent year-to-year  
Kyle : 8/19/2013 10:17 pm : link
than offense/defense between the 20s.
I agree the 3rd down defense has to be better...  
arcarsenal : 8/19/2013 10:22 pm : link
I've never disputed that. My problem is that people continually say that it's Fewell's scheme that prevents us from doing that. They say the bend but don't break lets teams move down the field until we force a turnover or hold them to a field goal.

Well, if that's the case, how were the Giants 1st in 3rd down defense and 7th in yards allowed in 2010?

If the coordinator is the constant but the personnel/injuries are the variables, I tend to believe the variables are what is changing the results more than anything else.
The defense was so bad in 2012  
Joe in Cambridge : 8/19/2013 10:35 pm : link
that half the starters on the team were let go, and Perry Fewell could not get a head coaching interview only one year removed from a Super Bowl. BBI wasn't the only place unimpressed by the job Fewell did last season.
thats too much of an over simplifcation  
Neverend : 8/19/2013 10:40 pm : link
to say its a bend don't break defense, or even saying its 'deliberate'. they were bottom in the nfl in big plays given up in many categories, which apparently is justified as long as you get the takeaways and red zone stops. imo that's not gospel, that's not indisputable, that's preference. If people are OK with that, that's just personal preference.

you can get away with struggling in all areas but get the turnvoers and red zone stops if you have an explosive, consistent game-by-game offense. Elite, practically faultless and tremendously efficint offense. But as you saw with the 2012 giants, when they couldn't score more than 17 pts, they lost every game. The Pittsburgh game is the ONLY game where the defense carried the team in a loss. the phi/was games when they surrendered only 17 pts were just 'good enough to win' efforts, they struggled with other areas in those two games. The offense was at least able to win some games when the defense was struggling, they didn't just play well in blowouts.

Going back, its personal preference whether or not you're satisfied with just judging by points allowed. those other statistics? the stats that can assist or can prevent you from a winning football games? the stats that can judge talent? efficiency? consistency? effectiveness? all of which is just as important in determining long term success and the ability to help win future games in a season... well ya know, its OKAY to be open minded about that too & use those statistics to form an opinion as a whole. putting the obviously irrefutable points allowed/given up stats aside, dont just take the takeaway stat if it benefits your argument while inconclusively ignoring the other stats. or try to justify or dispute ignoring it by bringing up stats from other seasons. or irrationally comparing that 'turnovers, not stops' models to other teams and their success, or listing stats without context. For the 2012 giants, it didn't work and as a result its absolutely fair to say it wont work for 2013 without some changes to this approach

'live by the turnover, die by the turnover' is the exception, not the norm. Fewells 2010 season was a better model, he proved that season you can get turnovers (franchise record, led the nfl) and stops (3rd down defense led nfl). As you saw with the steelers last year, being elite one category (yards/stops) doesn't justify the other (steelers d towards bottom in takeaways if not the bottom if im not wrong). And in our case, neither does the takeaway stat some how is an excuse for the massive struggles in other areas. Its not always sustainable because mainly high offensive point outputs aren't sustainable game by game.
I tend to think the "bend but don't break" meme  
Kyle : 8/19/2013 10:42 pm : link
is a euphemism for "gives up a shit ton of yardage while the game is still in doubt, but lucksacks their way into not giving up the expected # of points"
If half the players were let go of...  
arcarsenal : 8/19/2013 10:45 pm : link
Wouldn't that suggest that Fewell wasn't exactly working with a full deck of cards?

Tuck was gimpy almost all season long, JPP's production was way down, Boley, who was a starter here last year, isn't even on an active roster right now... Kenny Phillips' knee appears to be wrecked.. Webster had a broken hand and a bad hamstring, etc.

Football Outsiders calculated an Adjusted Games Lost metric.. which in their words "quantifies how much teams were affected by injuries, and is based on two fundamental ideas: (1) Injuries to starters, injury replacements, and important situational reserves impact a team more than injuries to bench warmers; and (2) Injury effects should be adjusted for whether or not a player was out, doubtful, questionable, or probable. Although this should go without saying, higher AGLs are worse than lower AGLs."

According to their numbers, the Giants were 25th in the NFL (the higher the number, the worse off you were.. SF was predictably #1).. and they were 26th in 2011.
arcarsenal : 8/19/2013 10:51 pm : link
The Bears defense was 3rd in points allowed last year and 5th in yards.. and not only was Lovie Smith fired as HC there but he couldn't even find a DC job anywhere in the league.

So I'm not sure it's worth it to put a ton of stock into how much HC interest Fewell generated around the league this past offseason.
Joe in Cambridge : 8/19/2013 11:02 pm : link
Sure. But just like the lack of interest in Boley is a good indication of his level performance last year, so is the lack of interest in Fewell. He did a bad job last season.

Also Lovie Smith doesn't want to be a defensive coordinator. He's sitting out this year to take another shot at being a head coach in 2014.
Link - ( New Window )
You can't really equate a player to a coach.  
arcarsenal : 8/19/2013 11:15 pm : link
Boley was clearly not capable of playing at a passable level anymore for whatever reason. He was a key cog for us just a year prior but couldn't give us anywhere near that same level of production in 2012.

Fewell did a bad job if you put 100% of your stock into yards allowed or 3rd down%. They're both important but they aren't the only measures of a defense. The Giants defense was bad in some categories, average in some and good in others.

I also don't think it's fair to judge the defense entirely on how much head coaching interest Fewell drew in the offseason. It's an offensive league right now. Fewell didn't draw interest for the same reason Lovie didn't. Teams aren't looking for defensive minded coaches. They're looking for innovative offensive guys like Chip Kelly and college guys like Marrone.
This will be a huge year for Fewell  
mattnyg05 : 8/19/2013 11:25 pm : link
and for the defense as it is situated currently. If the defense doesn't get better, many players will be gone and Fewell will be gone. Whatever it means, if the Giants are 30th in yardage, I can guarantee you they won't be doing enough good things to save Fewell's job. That is just the truth-he won't survive another year like last year.

I don't feel like that will happen. I think new DTs, hopefully Rolle comes back healthy, and you get Tuck, Kiwi, Moore and a healthy JPP and you might be better by default than last year. I'm excited, but I'd be more excited if I could see one linebacker make a play! Just once!
The offseason changes highlight the crux of the problems...  
x meadowlander : 8/20/2013 7:10 am : link
DRAMATIC changes at DT and with very good reason - the horrible DT play last season was every bit as devastating to the defense as the Safety play was in 09' - and was met with similar changes in personnel. High round draft pick, Free Agent signings, and so far, it looks like the changes have worked.

I believe the entire defense will improve as a result. Time will tell.
Stats are great and can be argued either way  
Dave M : 8/20/2013 12:26 pm : link
and that's why the argument would never end. What bothers me about Fewell(and again I'm just a fan and I just make observations from my limited POV)is the lack of innovation in his D and the inability to change game plans mid-game. I know it's easier said then done but when things aren't working they need to be changed. You can't play on your heels and win. Stats are not an indication with this O minded league anymore.
arcarsenal : 8/20/2013 12:35 pm : link
Dave.. but that's assuming you know how "innovative" every other defense in the NFL is. Do you? I can't pretend that I do.

My issue is that people get caught up on these specific things that they perceive to be faults in the Giants defense only but don't provide any context. You can say you don't think Fewell is creative enough or innovative enough.. but how much knowledge do you have of 31 other NFL defenses to say that for certain? What are you using as a comparison?
This used to be true...  
FatMan in Charlotte : 8/20/2013 12:43 pm : link
And if you look at history,
mattnyg05 : 8/19/2013 10:13 pm
you'll find a lot of top 10 defenses in terms of yards in the Super Bowl.

In fact, from the early Bowls until 2000, a team with a top 5 defense won the Super Bowl 29 times.

Since 2000, it has only happened three times.
Go Terps : 8/20/2013 12:48 pm : link
I'm a believer in bend but don't break
Go Terps : 12:22 pm
The last six Super Bowl entrants were at least 9th in the NFL in yards per completion (most were higher than 5th). IMO games are won and lost by those teams that can make the big play and not concede it. This past Super Bowl was a great example...everyone thought the 49er defense was better, but they gave up one huge play on defense and one on special teams...that was enough to lose a title. Ditto the year before with the Manningham play.
u can use stats for  
area junc : 8/20/2013 12:59 pm : link
any argument

Do you think perry fewell is a good defensive coordinator?
When we set a franchise record for points allowed  
WideRight : 8/20/2013 1:01 pm : link
does that red zone number matter at all? If it was 50% (or higher) we would still miss the playoffs and set a franchise record for yards allowed.

The turnover number may also reflect how much the D was on the field.

Don't isolate numbers and pretend they have idependent significance.
FatMan in Charlotte : 8/20/2013 1:04 pm : link
I think Fewell is an average DC with weaknesses and strengths like many of his peers.

What makes evaluating him difficult is that I really have no clue what the relative talent is compared to other teams. Our DL is above average, our LB's are below average, our safeties are middle of the pack and the CB's are probably there too.

I also think Fewell suffers from a perception problem. Spags won a SB with a different style D that is better accepted by fans, while Fewell had a system that also won a Super Bowl and was just as dominating in the playoff stretch as any Spags had.

I think Fewell must have some decent tactics to be able to consistently force turnovers, but he pretty much has a void in the middle of the D he is unable to scheme away from at times.

People who think he's a poor DC take that it is widely accepted around the game. It isn't. He's actually talked about very highly in NFL circles, which also leads me to believe he's a hell of a lot stronger than people on BBI want to think.
arcarsenal : 8/20/2013 1:06 pm : link
Do you think Perry Fewell is a good DC is far too complex a question to be answered with a simple "yes" or "no".
area junc  
Go Terps : 8/20/2013 1:20 pm : link
I don't know that he's Tom Landry, but I do know that his defenses force a ton of turnovers in a pass happy league. I know that we get lots of sacks with him as DC.

Above everything, I know we've won a Super Bowl with him and in the other two years we were a play or two from being the team no one wanted to face in the playoffs.

I don't think Fewell is a problem.
the Giants failed as a team last year  
djm : 8/20/2013 3:00 pm : link
They failed to make the playoffs because the offense and defense both failed to make plays when needed. The passing game was nowhere near as clutch as it was in 2011. I hate using the word clutch here but that's the only word that comes to mind. The D was actually a little better for most of 2012 when compared to most of 2011. Then things fell apart late.

Entire team has room for improvement. And that includes the coaches.
i want to see what Ojomo can do with the 1's  
alligatorpie : 8/20/2013 8:15 pm : link
mattnyg05 : 8/20/2013 8:55 pm : link
There were a ton of top 15s when I checked last night. The Patriots were 11th I believe in 03... So give or take a few spots. Much easier to beat teams when you stop them from gaining yards, IMO.
And the Giants  
mattnyg05 : 8/20/2013 8:57 pm : link
Two titles they were definitely playing much higher than their regular season rank, they did not give up a lot of yards (except maybe to Dallas in the 07 playoff game iirc).
Giants offense was 5th in yards per play  
Andy in Halifax : 8/23/2013 8:24 am : link
while the Giants defense was 29th in yards per play allowed. I think that stat is a more telling measure of performance than total yards. Not good for the defense. But as many pointed out, Fewell's defense has ALWAYS been predicated on turnovers, and he's been successful with it. That has helped keep the points allowed down somewhat. Last year we were 3rd in takeaways a game - that's excellent.

But last year they had a big problem stopping the run (4.6 YPC, 26th in the league) and I think it killed the overall performance of the defense. They've made an effort to improve that area and I believe the defense will be good enough to win this year.
Wait one  
Semipro Lineman : 8/23/2013 8:54 am : link
There were a ton of top 15s when I checked last night.

In other words, that's called being in the upper half of a 32 team league. Listen the importance of a good defense isn't being debated. It's the belief that you need a top 5 type defense to win championships which the stats show isn't true anymore.

In addition, the Giants showed flashes of being a good defense last year and are probably only a few adjustments in personnel, an average learning curve by their younger players and decent health away from returning to being a good solid defense.

The idea that Fewell isn't a good coordinator is wrong. The idea that his beloved predecessor wouldn't have struggle with the likes of a dinged up Boley and Blackburn running the double a gap blitz instead of Mitchell and Pierce is wrong. The idea that Fewell isn't aggressive is laughable...

In the 2007 post-season Giant linebackers had 3 sacks. In the 2011 post-season Linebackers and defensive backs combined for 2.5 sacks. >_<
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