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While just about everyone wants to point the finger at Manning and the Giants’ floundering offense, Paul Schwartz of the New York Post took a step back to re-evaluate the team’s performance as a whole. In Schwartz’s opinion, New York’s defense will have to keep the team afloat until the offense hits its stride.
Defensive end Justin Tuck, who had two sacks against the Steelers, also recognizes the challenge that his defense is faced with. Tuck believes his platoon can win the team some games, as he explained to Schwartz:
We win and lose as a team, so when one area of the team is not playing its best, some other areas have to pick up and account for that. Just like I know for a fact, many games the defense hasn’t played well, but our offense went out and scored 38 points and got us a win. So that’s what we got to do when the offense isn’t clicking the way it’s normally clicking, our defense has to shut some people down and win those 17-14 games or whatever it may be.
Schwartz points out in his article that New York has won four games this season when its defense has given up 23 points or more.
Head Coach Tom Coughlin called his defense’s performance against third-string running back Isaac Redman and the rest of the Steelers’ offense “soft.” Coughlin’s comment spurred responses from his players, as the Post’s Steve Serby quotes linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka:
You see everybody paying more attention to detail throughout the week. You see people practicing harder than they normally do. You see captains getting on people for little things here and there. And you see the coaches stepping their end up too, making sure every I is dotted and every T is crossed. If I had something to say to Coach Coughlin, I would go to him and say it, and I would expect him to do the same to us regardless of how you want to classify our performance. We, in this locker room, without anybody saying anything, know that we have to get better. And that’s what we’re going to do.
It’s encouraging to see the Giants’ key defenders showing signs of life. The championship-defending squad can recognize an urgent situation when it sees one; we’ll see if it can still perform with its back against the wall.