Giants season preview: Feel the (pass) rush

Jason Pierre-Paul, left, and Justin Tuck are poised to have an even better season in 2012.

The Giants enter Wednesday night’s opener with an advantage not many teams in the history of the NFL have ever had — a bonafide front-four pass rush that can single-handedly control a game.
Led by customary Pro Bowlers Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora and rising star Jason Pierre-Paul, the Giants’ pass rush even has a snazzy nickname to match immortal greats like the “Fearsome Foursome,” the “Purple People Eaters” and the “Steel Curtain.” New York’s “NASCAR” pass-rush lineup is unquestionably the best in the league today and with two Super Bowl titles in their possession, the Tuck and Umenyiora regime is well within reach of that same all-time elite status. 
“They’re a formidable group,” said defensive line coach Robert Nunn. “They’ve all come in a good frame of mind, they all work very hard, and I’m very pleased with where they are right now. … [But] there are a lot of areas we’ve talked about in the offseason. I’ve got all of the good plays on cutups [game film], and the bad ones, too. If we can clean up some of the things we need to focus on, I think we can make even bigger improvements.”

Improvement should be a scary thought for opposing teams, as the “NASCAR” squad is the standard bearer of front-four pass rushing units. And despite having an elite quarterback to key the offense in what is now a pass-happy league, they’re proud to admit they think Big Blue’s success hinges on their ability to control a game.     

“We definitely shoot for getting off to fast starts, especially with our D-line,” said Tuck. “Everyone knows that when we play well, this team, this defense plays well. A lot of pressure is on us, but we like it that way. Hopefully we can set the tone early.”

Now that Pierre-Paul is coming off an All-Pro season in which he tallied 16.5 sacks, he knows attention from opponents will intensify. He doesn’t mind though.
“I’m not worried about that,” said Pierre-Paul. “Probably when they scout you, they say, ‘He’s an All-Pro,’ but so are Tuck and Osi. They’re All-Pros too, so who cares?”
Pierre-Paul added that opponents should be worried about the proverbial chip on the champs’ shoulders because many say their run was a fluke.  

“We love it, we love it,” Pierre-Paul said of the naysayers, adding the unit has even more swagger because they’re everyone’s target. “That’s just a sign of respect that teams give us. It’s just a great thing, a great feeling. We just have to get after it. Me, Tuck, Osi, [defensive tackle] Linval [Joseph], [defensive tackle] Rocky [Bernard], and all those guys up-front, we just need to go out there and play hard.”    

Playing hard is never a problem for Tuck, but even he acknowledged that last season was tougher on him than most. His down year was attributed to a myriad of injuries, as he only tallied five sacks (down from 11.5 the previous season) and only played in 12 games. 

This season will be different, insists Tuck, because he’s fully recovered and itching to do better in this season’s title defense than the last time they were the defending champs. During that 2008 season the Giants started 11-1 before finishing 12-4 and then losing in the divisional round to the hated Eagles.
Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said he already notices a difference in his captain. 

“It’s night and day compared to what he went through a year ago. He looks quicker,” said Fewell, then relishing the overall speed of his NASCAR line. “It’s hard to find out who’s the quickest and who’s the fastest. Some days I look and say, ‘JPP (Pierre-Paul) looks great today.’ But then Osi comes flying off the end and I’m saying, ‘Wow, that’s pretty fast.’ Then Tuck makes a move and I’m scratching my head. … But, yes, Tuck looks much quicker and much faster and better than he did last year.” 

Defensive tackle Chris Canty, who’ll have a great look at his brethren during his stay on the physically unable to perform list, joked that when the defensive line is rolling, it “looks like the varsity playing against the JV.”

Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.


Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.


Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…


OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…


MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.


Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."


'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.


'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."


TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.


Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.


Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”


Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.


Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…


Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.


Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…


NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.


The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.