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A Change the Giants Actually Believe In

A new defensive approach could pay huge dividends

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Getty Images

    The Giants don't embrace change with open arms and a smile.

    They do things their way, they don't like trying different approaches and they seem to take an ill view of anyone who suggests doing things another way. 

    It's kind of like your older relatives and technology. They get there are other ways to accomplish tasks like communicating with other people but they like their landlines and handwritten notes and no argument is going to get them to do something different.

    Every now and then, though, you'll be surprised by life. You get a Facebook friend request from your Uncle Sal or you hear about the Giants installing a new defensive scheme that calls for them to take a radically different approach to stopping opposing offenses. On some occasions this season the Giants will call for a defense that has the team's defensive backs reading the quarterback and the ball instead of receivers. Defensive backs coach Peter Giunta told the Wall Street Journal that the approach will lead to more turnovers.

    "I think our interception rate will go up this year," Mr. Giunta boldly said. "Definitely."

    The addition of safeties Antrel Rolle and Deon Grant this offseason is what makes such a shift possible. In the past couple of years, the Giants would have been lost using such a freewheeling approach because there would be no one to clean up any messes in the defensive backfield. Signing a pair of experienced veterans means that there is more ability to freelance -- a word Tom Coughlin will never actually use -- in other parts of the defense.

    Safeties aren't the only key to this whole thing working out, though. The defensive line is going to have to rediscover the pass rush after two straight years of diminishing returns in that area. If the pass rush isn't overwhelming, quarterbacks are going to pick apart any secondary. Against a secondary where players are schooled to watch the quarterback and not the receiver, that's going to mean some really big gains.

    The Giants are proudly puffing out their chests when it comes to the depth on their defensive line. They did the same thing last year, as you'll recall. Depth didn't do much for them then and, unless you share the stubborn belief that you can do things the same way and get better results, it's hard to see what it does for them this time around. It is more than a little confusing to figure out why a team that was so aggressive about fixing what was broken at safety was so content with what didn't work on the defensive line.

    Can you find success while making a radical change in one place and keeping things conservative in another? It sounds like a tall order, but you have to like that Fewell isn't as afraid of change as some that came before him with the Giants.  

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

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