The Giants may have had off yesterday but rest assured the defensive side of the ball was still hard at work, trying to figure out ways to slow down Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday night.
The Giants [1-0] can’t afford to rest on its laurels from last Sunday’s stellar performance against the Carolina Panthers because there’s a major difference in preparing for Matt Moore than Manning.
New York sacked the overwhelmed Moore four times, picked him off three times – all in the end zone – and knocked him out of the game with a concussion late in the fourth quarter. Manning, however, won’t be such an easy target but the Big Blue defenders quietly think they have something in store for him.
“That is what this defense is all about – making big plays. And big plays can cure a lot of other evils,” said defensive tackle Barry Cofield, who has the task of collapsing the pocket. “Getting interceptions and pressure on the quarterback work hand in hand and that’s when we are at our best. And with [defensive coordinator] Perry [Fewell] you never know where anybody will line up.”
One Giant who has the range to line up anywhere is Mathias Kiwanuka. Perhaps New York’s most versatile defender, Kiwi has lined up at linebacker, defensive tackle and his customary defensive end. Kiwanuka loves masking the disguises and thinks the G-Men are back to its havoc-wreaking days.
“Oh it’s back. It’s been back,” Kiwanuka said of the unit’s swagger. “The linebackers have it, the DBs have always had it, and the offense definitely brings their own brand of swagger. As long as we show up and give a great performance, we’ll have it every week.”
Defensive end Justin Tuck feels the confidence never really wavered; rather it was a lack of execution. He’s confident the defense is up to the task to at least slow down Manning’s aerial attack.
“We've got some ball hawks in the secondary from the number one secondary guy to the number seven,” he assured. “They are going to give us some time to get after the quarterback and give us the opportunity to go. We are going to try our best not to give him time. [I tell them] if they max protect, y’all cover it and we’ll get there.”
Peyton Manning has seen about every defensive look during his illustrious career but Kiwanuka feels Fewell will have plenty of new wrinkles and that his enthusiasm to disrupt offenses is contagious.
“Everybody talks about his [Fewell’s] passion for the game and that’s definitely there,” said Kiwanuka. “His knowledge of the game and what he has in his heart as far as dedication is there. The guy genuinely cares whether there is a Super Bowl on the line or whether we’re playing Pop Warner, he would care the same way.
“I’m proud. We have a lot of different schemes and hopefully [last Sunday] was just the beginning of it. We are going to mix it up a lot and it’s going to give a lot of people the chance to get to the quarterback.”