Fewell experimenting with Giants' defense

August, 13, 2013
8/13/13
4:57
PM ET
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell has been very creative with his defensive personnel this preseason.

Several times, the Giants have shown formations where a defensive end is standing up, opposite a standing-up linebacker, close to the line of scrimmage -- the formation looks like a 3-4 alignment.

[+] EnlargeCullen Jenkins
Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY SportsCullen Jenkins is getting snaps at both defensive tackle and defensive end.
Other times, Fewell has moved his defensive ends around on the line of scrimmage -- pass-rushers like Justin Tuck will line up at right or left defensive end.

Also, Fewell has used versatile defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins at defensive end as well.

"Schematics," Fewell said, explaining moving his defensive ends from side to side. "Looking at the offseason, I thought this would be a good change for us. Just schematics."

When asked if the Giants will utilize some 3-4 looks this season, Fewell said he will take advantage of the personnel he has.

"We’ll be very multiple," Fewell said. "Personnelwise, we have guys that fit a 4-3, we have guys that fit a lot of different defensive combinations. So I’m going to build a defense that fits our personnel."

On Tuesday in practice, the Giants used defensive ends like Tuck, Adrian Tracy and Justin Trattou with the linebackers in 7-on-7 drills. Those defensive ends also dropped back in coverage in certain looks as well.

TT progressing: Cornerback Terrell Thomas' comeback is building steam.

"[On Monday] he received about 50 percent of the reps that we were planning to give him," Fewell said. "There were two situations when he was in man coverage, and he did an outstanding job. He showed burst. He showed the ability to come out of a break when he was in man coverage. We’re going to take it day by day with him. But it was exciting to see him back in action."

Thomas has gotten several snaps as a slot corner, and could fill that role as an extra defensive back along with Aaron Ross.

Linebackers assessment: Fewell continues to mix and match with his linebackers to see which combination he likes the most.

"We’re working together as a linebacking corps very well," Fewell said. "There’s no standout. I like the combinations we use in practice, and we used in the game. And I hope we can continue to grow in that respect."

He likes what both Mark Herzlich and Dan Connor have brought to the middle linebacker position.

"Both bring different things to the table for us," Fewell said. "We’ll work both combinations. The first play of the [Pittsburgh] ballgame, Mark did a great job of taking the guard off. He was very physical. He ran through the guard so hard that he could have made the tackle. Dan did an outstanding job of taking on blocks. He shedded some blocks well, he made some plays, he did well in coverage. I like the combination of both those guys."

Starvin' Marvin: Fewell said he was impressed with Marvin Austin during Saturday's win over the Steelers. He believes Austin will be able to showcase his skills more against the Colts this coming Sunday.

"I thought Marvin performed well," Fewell said of the 2011 second-round pick. "He’s progressed each week in practice. He’s had a full offseason, with the OTAs, which he didn’t have in the past. [The Colts] play a little more to the strengths of Marvin and so it’ll be exciting to see him in this game Sunday."

Tracy vs. Moore: Fewell likes the competition at fourth defensive end between Tracy and rookie Damontre Moore and thinks both will contribute this year.

"[Moore has] got a lot of football in him," Fewell said. "But as a rookie, he makes a lot of mistakes right now. Things that can hurt us. But he plays so hard, he’s having so much fun. Damontre was having a ball [Saturday night], he was playing hard."

"Adrian Tracy is much improved," Fewell continued. "He’s going to contribute. We’re going to be a better defense if he continues to get better, and if that competition continues to thrive, we’ll be better at the ends and in our pass rush."
Ohm Youngmisuk has covered the Giants, Jets and the NFL since 2006. Prior to that, he covered the Nets, Knicks and the NBA for nearly a decade. He joined ESPNNewYork.com after working at the New York Daily News for almost 12 years and is a graduate of Michigan State University.
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