Halloween passed a little while ago, but one of the iconic pieces of entertainment from that holiday came to mind when hearing Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell talk about the Giants pass rush this week.
Anyone familiar with "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!" knows that Linus waits in vain for the arrival of the titular being all night in a pumpkin patch without ever seeing him come. Despite that, he remains unshaken in his belief that the Great Pumpkin is coming.
Fewell hasn't been spending any time in pumpkin patches that we know of, but he still had a tinge of Linus to him as he talked about his belief that the Giants pass rush will catch fire before the season is out. Through 14 games, the Justin Tuck/Jason Pierre-Paul/Osi Umenyiora trio has combined for 15.5 sacks after dropping quarterbacks 32 times last season.
"I do believe this about them," Fewell said. "They’re a proud unit. I think they will have success in the next couple of weeks. And I think you’ll see their numbers go up."
You can't really expect Fewell to say anything else. The Giants are built to succeed defensively by rushing the passer and Fewell's job is to make sure that the pass rush arrives. If he can't do that and no longer thinks he's capable of doing that then he's pretty much asking to get fired.
The Ravens are certainly a team succeptible to the pass rush. Unless it is a horror film, they won't be making any sequels to "The Blind Side" based on Michael Oher's play at left tackle this season and the rest of the line has only been marginally better at protecting Joe Flacco.
That's been true of a lot of the teams the Giants have faced this season, though, and those vaunted pass rushers haven't been able to make much of an impact. And there are signs that this week will be more of the same silence.
Tuck, who has been the least effective of the three defensive ends, has a shoulder injury that has kept him out of practice all week. He's listed as questionable, but Tom Coughlin delivered a grim message for his chances when he said trainers felt it was in Tuck's best interest not to be on the field Friday.
Having said that, that's just another excuse and we've heard enough of them to last a lifetime from the Giants defensive line this season. Different blocking, quicker passes and anything else you can dream of has been used as an excuse for the drop in production without much sign that they've come up with ways to combat those obstacles.
If they've been holding something back, now's the time for them to unleash it. If not, Fewell might as well take up permanent residence in the closest pumpkin patch.