The Giants’ defense was the talk of the facilities Monday as they relished being an absolute nightmare for the alleged “Dream Team.”
To a man, the defensive players were pleased with the way they manhandled the Eagles, 29-16, and hope that it is a building block for things to come. The win pushed the Giants to 2-1 and with the struggling Cardinals on the docket this week, Big Blue is feeling confident they can continue their hot streak.
Veteran linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka certainly thinks this could be the springboard game.
“It was a big win, in the division and it’s putting us in a good position going forward,” said Kiwanuka. “I think that’s the biggest thing [that] there is a lot said about this rivalry and we always want to get this win.”
Such confidence can’t be surprising though, considering the Giants’ defense was much-maligned heading into Sunday’s game. New York entered the contest ranked 24th against the pass, yet held Mike Vick to under 200 yards passing and even knocked out the elusive dual-threat passer when he suffered a contusion on his right, non-throwing hand.
Running back Brandon Jacobs was very impressed with the defensive effort and said he was proud of his brethren.
“I commend the way our defense played against him,” Jacobs said of the beating they administered to Vick. “I never wish an injury on any player but with him going out we were able to make more plays on defense.”
Kiwanuka was also beaming at his locker yesterday when recounting the win. He said he was very proud of the younger linebackers who stepped up, particularly rookies Greg Jones and Jacquian Williams.
“I think a lot was thrown on Jones’s shoulders early on and he did a very good job at absorbing it and taking on that task,” Kiwanuka said. “And from the way Jacquian was going about his practices and meetings, everybody knew he was a special talent and would have a big game … He’s putting things together quickly and is a good addition to this team.”
Williams was all over the field. The Giants used the nickel defense (five defensive backs) the entire first half to get more speed on the field. Michael Boley and Williams, arguably the two fastest linebackers, were the only linebackers on the field for most of the half. It paid off as Williams led the Giants with 10 tackles.
Kiwanuka added that defensive coordinator Perry Fewell’s exotic scheme seemed to rattle the Eagles’ offensive line.
“I think we did a great job of that [confusion]. Not just the line, though, but their offense in general,” Kiwanuka said. “Whenever you have different groups of guys running in and out, you’re able to give different looks and it’s tough on the offense.”
Defensive tackle Chris Canty agreed and said getting the win the way they did — and against a team that “owned” them since his arrival – was all the sweeter.
“It’s a good division win on the road and we’ll take it,” said Canty, who came to New York from Dallas in 2009. “It’s the first time we’ve beaten the Eagles since I’ve been here, so that’s a big win for us. We’ll take the win but, again, we’re now looking forward to the next challenge. It was a stepping stone … definitely a stepping stone.”
Big Blue notes
» There’s a bit of discrepancy between player (wideout Mario Manningham) and coach (Tom Coughlin) regarding injuries. While Manningham said he’s “cleared to practice” this week, Coughlin said no one has yet informed him of such news.
» Speaking of injured stars, defensive end Osi Umenyiora worked out yesterday, doing a little running on the side. Coughlin, however, said he still needs to wait and see how Umenyiora’s leg reacts before getting him back into a full routine.
» Safety Antrel Rolle was still talking smack when the topic of the Giants-Eagles rivalry came up yesterday. The feisty Rolle said regardless of the penalty accrued, he wasn’t going to allow the Eagles to “punk” his team and is looking forward to the rematch: “I felt they were cheap-shotting me a little bit. They were putting their hands up in my facemask a little bit and grinding after the play … I had to let them know I’m not a pushover. I’m not a punk by any means, so sometimes you have to put your foot down, even if it costs you a little bit [with a 15-yard penalty]. It sometimes has to be done [because] it’s more of a mental toughness and attitude than anything else.”
Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.