And why we will win tomorrow:
GIANTS' DEFENSIVE BACKS GET IT TOGETHER WITH THE HELP OF WEEKLY GET-TOGETHERS
"Aaron Ross was in a hurry to leave the Giants’ practice facility the other day,
though he took time to answer a question about the meetings the defensive backs
have held on their own.
In fact, that’s why he was scrambling to get out of the Timex Performance
Center in East Rutherford.
“We’re going right now to go do ’em,” the Giants cornerback said. “It’s been
helping us a lot. We get a chance to go through the film and go over with the
coaches the next morning. We might see something we don’t like and ask the
coaches if we can change it.”
The defensive backs started these meetings earlier in the season, once per
week at the players’ houses, about an hour in length. It was a way of conducting
the meetings at their own pace and with them taking the lead.
It wasn’t a mutiny against the coaching staff by any means, but rather a
chance to take control of the remote and talk about what they see on film — not
only what they’re supposed to see.
Before the game against the Washington Redskins, in which Corey Webster and
Kenny Phillips grabbed interceptions early on, the frequency of the
get-togethers increased. Now, as the players prepare for Sunday NFC Championship
Game against the San Francisco 49ers, they’re up to three sessions per week.
And the fact they even have the chance to get ready for this game is a
testament to what the meetings have done for their on-field communication since
a few communication breakdowns earlier in the season against the Niners, Dallas
Cowboys and New Orleans Saints.
“It’s crisp. Everything is coming out fast, it’s coming out loud,” said
linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka, who can hear the chatter behind him. “There are no
questions about who is saying what or who has what. The communication has been
“If you watch how they played (on Sunday against the Green Bay Packers),
there was obviously a difference. You could see it, and you could hear it on the
Instead of Dez Bryant running free, Laurent Robinson breaking up the seam or
Jabar Gaffney catching an uncontested touchdown, the Giants have often seen Tony
Romo, Mark Sanchez, Matt Ryan and Aaron Rodgers holding the ball longer while
looking for an open receiver — and many times, not finding one.
In the 13 games before the meetings were increased, the Giants allowed 263.7
passing yards per game and a 61.4 percent completion rate. In the five games
since, they’re allowing 215.6 yards per game and a completion percentage of 59.9
“The chemistry is just crazy right now,” Phillips said. “I don’t want to say
it’s just the meetings, but guys are just dialing in to what we’re doing.”
He continued: “It’s knowing what the other guy’s going to do. You don’t have
to talk on every play. If I see something, I just come off and go get it and
somebody will cover me up. There’s been a lot of that going on.”
Phillips’ house is the closest to the stadium, so he’s often the host for the
meetings. Sometimes, they’ll order pizza or wings, though the sessions often go
Everyone gets a chance to work the remote and go through the calls based on
the looks the offense is given — even the rookies.
“Everybody has their opinion,” rookie safety Tyler Sash said, adding with a
wry smile: “Even though some people’s opinions are respected more than
The opinions of veterans Deon Grant and Antrel Rolle mean a ton to defensive
coordinator Perry Fewell, who admits he has gotten better at accepting
“Because I know the players a lot better, definitely,” said Fewell, in his
second year with the Giants. “I think that as a coordinator, and as a leader,
you’re most effective when you’re listening, not talking.”
Fewell simplified the game plan a bit before the victory over the Jets, in
part because of the suggestions that came from the players’ off-site
“We jot it down and say, ‘We think it’ll be a lot easier for us to play it
like this,’” Grant said, “and he has an open ear when it comes to that.”