Fewell discusses the defense

Perry Fewell thinks that Mathias Kiwanuka can be a starting defensive end in the NFL.

“He can definitely do that for sure,” Fewell said.

Given that Osi Umenyiora may soon be on his way out of town, Kiwanuka might just be thrust into that role.

“His making and mentality as far as how he attacks blockers,” Fewell replied when asked what he likes about Kiwanuka as a player. “How he approaches the game. He has excellent push off the ball. He has excellent strength and his long arms. He can keep a defender at bay. Those are just some of the qualities that he possesses at the defensive end position.”

Kiwanuka played just three games last season after suffering a herniated disk in his neck. He received medical clearance to resume football-related activity in February.

The six-year veteran has had 222 tackles and 23.5 sacks in five seasons with the Giants. Best known for his versatility and ability to rush the passer, Kiwanuka has spent time at outside linebacker and also inside as a defensive tackle.

“We have some changing parts on our defense,” Fewell said. “Some personnel have left and we really won’t know the makeup of our defense for several weeks now. I am very happy to have him back in the fold and we do plan to do some nice things with him. How we employ those things will be determined a lot later.

• Fewell says that Clint Sintim has come into training camp with a great attitude despite struggling and missing most of last season with a torn right ACL.

“He has practice well for two days. We had to limit him some because he is coming off of an injury, but I like his retention,” Fewell said. “He is able to retain the defense and apply the knowledge that he has learned and I think that was a problem for him a year ago.”

Fewell says it’s up to Sintim to prove that he can be a starting linebacker in this league.

“We are going to give him the opportunity,” Fewell said, “but that is the great thing about competition. He will get the opportunity and he will have to prove that to us.”

Jason Pierre-Paul began to show flashes of why the Giants took him in the first round of the 2010 draft during the second half of last season. And Fewell is expecting even bigger things from his second-year defensive end in 2011.

“I have been impressed with him in the two practices that we had with Jason’s retention from a year ago,” Fewell said. “That was one of the things that I was concerned about during the time they weren’t with us. I think he is ready to assume that responsibility and come on and be a player for us.”

• Here’s what Fewell had to say about his young defensive tackle tandem.

First, Linval Joseph: “He shows power, he shows speed. He shows quickness. We have to work with him on some little things -- and I won’t use the coaching point or phrases that we will work with him on but there are some little things that we would like him to improve on from a blocking scheme standpoint. I do like his mental makeup right now.”

And last but not least, Marvin Austin: “Marvin had a really good day (Sunday). He really looked powerful. He looked strong. He looked quick. He retained the information and didn’t have a lot of mental errors. It is a process with him also because we approach our installation as building blocks. We set a foundation and then we try to build upon that foundation. Then we build upon that foundation each and every practice. I was pleased the first two days, but it will get tougher as we go along.”

• Fewell interviewed for several head coaching positions during the offseason, but is glad to be back with the Giants as their defensive coordinator again this season.

“I like to think that I learned things in the interview process that I can take with me next time that I interview,” Fewell said. “I appreciate the New York Giants having me back because you are out there and interviewing for jobs and you found out how good you have it at the place that you are. I certainly appreciate the Giants allowing me to interview and come home and have a chance to coach this defense for the 2011 season.

Prince Amukamara, the Giants’ first-round selection in the 2011 draft, has still yet to sign with the team. And because of that, he continues to miss practices.

“It is very tough because every day that he misses, he is missing good knowledge and good information,” Fewell said. “It is a word that he can use with his skill set so that will be very difficult. We would like to get him in as soon as possible but again that’s above me right now.”