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Perry Fewell's goal: Make Giants' D sing

9/12/2010 - NFL New York Giants

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Throughout the summer, there was one prevailing sound that could be heard at each Giants practice.

Perry Fewell's voice, complete with a southern twang, often soared above the normal practice noise of football pads colliding.

If the New York Giants had a soundtrack to their summer, it would undoubtedly be to the tune of the enthusiastic defensive coordinator's voice, sometimes heard screaming at his players to get to the quarterback, pick up every loose ball on the ground and run it back to the end zone.

And sometimes, Fewell's players had to listen to him actually sing. While some coaches, like Eric Mangini, like to play rap during practices, Fewell uses music and movies to drive home his teachings to his defense.

This preseason, the North Carolina product has referenced the comedy "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka" to tell his defenders to do just that. He's told his players to follow Anita Baker's mantra of "Giving You The Best That I Got." He's also used Cameo's "Candy" and Guy's "Teddy's Jam" to aid his teachings.

And he will sing the lyrics if need be. Picture an impromptu karaoke session breaking out in one of Tom Coughlin's practices.

"Jam! Ohhh, Jam! Teddy Jam for me!" safeties coach Dave Merritt sang as he mimicked Fewell's best Guy impression earlier this summer. "He said, 'OK corners, that is what we have to do, we have to jam right?' All the guys bust out in a laugh. It keeps the room at an even keel but at the same time we are still about business."

Fewell said Thursday that he hadn't decided what he will use in his message to the defense Saturday.


"I liked Anita Baker," outside linebacker Keith Bulluck said of Fewell's musical choices. "He has a certain way he wants us to play. He will use the lyrics of a song to drill it home as a final teaching point as far as conveying a message to the guys so they can get it. He has his own unique style."

No matter what song or movie he chooses to emphasize his point, it's a good bet that Fewell will harp on stopping Carolina's rushing attack.

The Panthers' two-headed monster of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart is perhaps the best combo in the NFL. Both rushed for more than 1,000 yards last season. And the Giants know just how good the two are from first-hand experience.

During a pivotal late December game against the Giants in 2008, Williams rushed for 108 yards and four touchdowns in a 34-28 loss to the Giants.


Last year, with Williams hurt, Stewart flattened the Giants for 206 yards and a touchdown as Carolina shut down Giants Stadium for good with a 41-9 thrashing in December.

Perhaps Fewell will use something like Public Enemy's "Shut 'Em Down" as his message to stop the Panthers. The Giants understand that if they are to go anywhere this season, they must do it with stifling defense. Fewell must restore a once proud defense that was decimated by injuries and undermined by confusion and poor relationships.

Some players like Osi Umenyiora clashed with former defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan and communication was a weak spot on defense on Sundays as well. The Giants surrendered an average of 26.7 points per game, including 40 or more points in three of their final four games.

After starting off 5-0 only to finish 8-8 with embarrassing defensive efforts such as the Carolina humiliation, the Giants rebuilt their defense by signing safety Antrel Rolle and using five of seven draft picks on defensive players. And the most important addition was Fewell, who came from Buffalo, where he was the defensive coordinator and interim head coach.

Fewell may be old school with his teachings and his music. But he employs some new school schemes to utilize all of the Giants' strengths.

"I have a plan of attack that I want to try and dictate what they will see," Fewell said of the Panthers. "So I'm not going to be defensive. I'm going to be offensive, and I'm going to try and dictate what they will see."

During training camp, Fewell unveiled packages like the "Big Base" defense that had defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka playing outside linebacker and defensive tackle Chris Canty playing defensive end. And then there was the ever-popular "NASCAR" alignment that features the defense's strength with four defensive ends on the field.

Fewell promises he has plenty more tricks in store for the Panthers.

"You probably saw 10 percent, maybe 20 percent in the preseason, maybe, if that," Fewell said. "How confident am I that our guys will have our package down? I'm very confident. They had good retention. They had good questions when we went in and presented on Monday as well as Wednesday. So I feel very confident they will have the information down that we need."

And if not, Fewell will choose the perfect song to get his point across.

Perhaps he should go with James Brown's "The Payback."

There's no better way for Fewell's defense to open the season and a new stadium than with some big payback against the Panthers.

Ohm Youngmisuk covers the Giants for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow him on Twitter.

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