NFL Nation: Laron Scott

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Late last season, a frustrated Antrel Rolle said the Giants needed to rediscover their "dog" mentality on defense.

We're only a week into training camp, but Rolle sounds pleased with what he's seen thus far in 2013 -- particularly from his fellow defensive backs.

[+] EnlargeAntrel Rolle
AP Photo/Seth WenigAntrel Rolle says the Giants need to rediscover their "dog" mentality this year.
"These guys are going out there and they've been attacking the ball," Rolle said, prior to Thursday's practice. "The ball's in the air, they've been attacking it, they've been coming down with it. Just the intensity alone in our defensive backs, it seems like night and day."

Rolle isn't just impressed by the secondary, either. He raved about his teammates up front, too -- using a familiar theme.

"Right now in practice they look like animals," he said of the Giants' defensive line. "I just can't wait to see what it's like when those guys really take the leash off them and [they] really get turned loose and see how they turn out."

The Giants, who traditionally have a stout defense, had an embarrassing finish last year. They ranked second-to-last in the NFL in yards allowed (6,134) and whimpered down the stretch, getting blown out by the Falcons (34-0) and Ravens (33-14) in Weeks 15 and 16, all but ending their hopes of a playoff berth.

The defending Super Bowl champs had just 33 sacks, a year after collecting 48. They gave up 4,068 passing yards -- fifth-most in the league. Teams generally had their way offensively against Big Blue.

"There's a lot of things you could say that pinpoint throughout different games, but for the majority of the part, we didn't play up to our standards," Rolle said.

The former All-Pro safety said the Giants need to be better playmakers in 2013.

"A lot of the corrections just have to do with, you're seeing the ball, you make a play, you break on it, you make a play -- taking full advantage when the opportunity presents itself," he said. "Just a self-challenge -- looking at the mirror understanding that you are this kind of a player, but you have to go out there and prove it on the field.

"There was some mishaps at times. There were some busted assignments at times. But for the most part it's all about going out there and competing and making that play."

The defense looked good again Thursday. On the very first play of 11-on-11 drills, cornerback Prince Amukamara came away with an interception on a deep throw by Eli Manning that was intended for Victor Cruz. Fellow cornerback Corey Webster also intercepted Manning later on, and reserve corner Laron Scott finished off practice with a red-zone pick while defending Ramses Barden.

On Monday, the Giants' D actually had five interceptions, to the delight of defensive coordinator Perry Fewell.

Cornerback Aaron Ross -- who was with the Giants during their championship run in 2011, but played for the Jaguars last season before returning to Big Blue -- likes what he sees from his teammates, too.

"The guys are picking it up, and it seems like we're on the same page," Ross said. "Guys are doing extra film study, extra work in the weight room, at home, and the classroom -- it just seems like everybody just wants it."

It's only a week, but the Giants' defense appears to be hungry again.

Observation deck: Cardinals-Saints

August, 5, 2012
Let’s run through some thoughts and observations from the New Orleans Saints’ 17-10 victory against the Arizona Cardinals in Sunday night’s Hall of Fame Game.
  • Quarterback Drew Brees and most of the first-team offense played only the first series of the game. But it was a very efficient drive. The Saints went 77 yards on 10 plays to score a touchdown. Brees didn’t do anything fancy, but completed 4 of 5 passes for 41 yards and the first offense looked as smooth as you could hope for in a preseason opener.
  • Second-year running back Mark Ingram scored the opening touchdown on a 1-yard run. Ingram also had a nice 10-yard cutback run before that. Ingram missed part of his rookie season with injuries and has had knee and toe surgery this offseason. But he looked like he’s completely healthy and that means he likely will share time in the backfield with Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas.
  • Free safety Malcolm Jenkins didn’t produce a single interception all last season. He got one precisely five minutes into this game, jumping a route and picking off Kevin Kolb. I expect a lot more interceptions out of Jenkins this season as he gets a chance to be a true center fielder for the first time in his career.
  • Curtis Lofton had a tackle for a 2-yard loss on a run by LaRod Stephens-Howling on Arizona’s second possession. Get used to that. Lofton is better than any linebacker the Saints had last season, particularly against the running game.
  • Defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis, who hasn’t been known as a pass-rusher, got nice pressure on Kolb in the Arizona end zone midway through the first quarter. Kolb barely got a pass off to avoid a safety. He also was shaken up on the play and left the game.
  • Overall, the Saints' first-team defense didn’t do anything that stood out either way. The unit wasn’t real sharp with its tackling against the Arizona running game.
  • There were some encouraging things from the Saints' second-team defense. Martez Wilson, who is making the move from linebacker to defensive end, produced a sack in the second quarter and another early in the third quarter.
  • Joseph Morgan and Laron Scott each misjudged a punt return in the first quarter. Scott redeemed himself with a nice kickoff return in the second quarter.
  • Undrafted rookie running back Travaris Cadet looked great catching the ball out of the backfield and in the return game. But it’s going to be tough for Cadet to make a roster that already includes Ingram, Sproles, Thomas and Chris Ivory. Cadet’s best hope might be to catch on with another team or to end up on New Orleans’ practice squad.



Thursday, 10/30
Sunday, 11/2
Monday, 11/3