Will Perry Fewell's defense pass its first test?On Monday Night Football, the New York Jets will host the New York Football Giants at PSL Stadium. Instead of playing in their usual third preseason matchup, they will square off tonight to open the New Meadowlands Stadium. (No Sponsor yet!) Meanwhile, over the past few days, there has been a war of words between both teams. Giants cornerback Terrell Thomas fired the first salvo. .
“You hear it in the back of your mind, but you don’t pay no attention to it,” Thomas said. “Until they win the Super Bowl, until they start dominating teams - - and just don’t do it one year - - we’ll consider it. But until then, everybody knows it’s a Giants town.”
His incendiary remarks did not sit well with members of the Jets especially the loquacious Bart Scott.
Who's Terrell Thomas?
"I don't even know who the hell Thomas is ... Is it Tim Thomas?" the Jets' linebacker said. "Whoever that guy is, he has a right to his opinion. Personally, I don't give a [expletive]."
Apparently, Thomas' zinger got under the skin of Bart Scott. If Scott was unaffected by Thomas' words, he would not have said anything. Anyway, with this game being televised on ESPN, this war of words between Scott and Thomas will be played up to the NTH degree.
With an undercurrent of machismo as a backdrop, the game should be the focus. I am interested to see how Perry Fewell's defense fares against an outstanding offensive line. Yesterday, Andy had an interesting post about OFF Coverage. Will the Jets offensive line provide good pass protection as well as open up holes for their running backs? This Jets offensive line anchored by center Nick Mangold is a very formidable unit. Without question, the Jets have the best offensive line in the NFL. Needless to say, last season, the Jets had the best rushing attack in the NFL. They averaged 172.3 yards per game. Undoubtedly, this game should give us clues about Fewell's defense. Before training camp began, Fewell was asked this question:
Q: What are you looking for from this defense coming off of last season? What is the biggest improvement that you need to make?
PF: Being physical, being able to stop the run and playing base fundamental football and returning to the New York Giant defense.
Indeed, stopping the run was a big problem last year. The Giants were 14th against the run allowing 110.8 yards per game. With a new scheme and healthy players, can the Giants control the point of attack? Remember in the offseason, Tom Coughlin's words about keeping the linebackers clean. “No one was being pushed back into the linebacker depth and that’s what needs to be established again,” coach Tom Coughlin said. “Keep some people clean so they can go to the ball carrier.”
Nevertheless, the matchups to watch is the Giants starting NT against the interior Jets line. Can he penetrate and tie up blockers? If the Jets offensive linemen get to the second level, we are going to see a repeat of last year. Generally speaking, the Jets like to run behind the right side of their line. Their right guard Brandon Moore and right tackle Damien Woody are excellent run blockers. With Alan Fanceca no longer on the Jets, Woody is perhaps their best run blocker. That being said, Giants LDE Justin Tuck will be up against Woody. This too will be a battle to watch.
Keep in mind, during the offseason, one of our experts here at UltimateNYG, Pete has been very wary of Fewell and his defensive scheme. Whether it is a Tampa 2 or not, we will finally find out Monday Night.