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.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

News

Explosions in new Boston Marathon bomb panic, 'twisted'…

A fresh Boston Marathon terror alert, which caused Bomb Squad officers to order an evacuation while two controlled explosions were carried out, was today being…

National

Reddit boosts news capabilities in social media turf…

By Jennifer SabaNEW YORK (Reuters) - Reddit, a website with a retro-'90s look and space-alien mascot that tracks everything from online news to celebrity Q&As,…

Local

New York joins accord to strengthen popular vote…

New York State joined a nationwide effort that would gives the state's 29 electoral votes for president to the candidate who wins the national popular vote.

Entertainment

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

Television

'Orphan Black's' Jordan Gavaris talks Felix's Season 2…

Jordan Gavaris plays heroically helpful foster sibling Felix to main clone Sarah on "Orphan Black." We talked to him about what’s ahead for him in…

Going Out

Accomplice Tour: New York (Spoiler Alert)

When I signed up for the Accomplice show tour, I had no idea what I was in for. But every grimy job comes with a great reward.

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, April 15: 'New Girl,'…

'New Girl' Nick and Jess are hiding their breakup from the other loft residents. And Winston passes the police academy exam! That guy needed some…

NBA

Nets miss chance to clinch No. 5 seed…

Nets head coach Jason Kidd expressed little concern after a 109-98 loss to the Knicks, but others seemed to disagree.

NFL

Jets confident despite Chris Johnson leaving with no…

Jets fans clamored for a playmaker on offense all offseason. It looked like they were going to land that player on Tuesday when Chris Johnson…

NBA

Knicks, Nets rivalry never materialized despite national attention

When the NBA schedule was released, the league anticipated an intense rivalry between the Nets and Knicks with all four games slated for national TV.

NBA

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could…

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could the Mavericks surprise?

Home

Steal home decorating tips from Nattystyle blogger Natalie…

Despite the towering ceilings and enviable exposed brick, it’s easy to see how Natalie Decleve’s apartment could be considered a challenge. Perched above the streets…

Home

How to plant a garden in the city

Small on space but big on gardening? You can still have that welcoming oasis of fresh air with an urban garden. Peter Smith, owner of…

Style

Personalize your massage at a private practice

CityTouch customizes spa treatments to meet client's needs.

Style

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show moving to England

It will still broadcast on CBS this fall.