Terrell Thomas was delighted with the Giants’ win over Seattle. He just wishes he could have come out a little better in a friendly wager with the defensive linemen.
“We had a bet going to see how many sacks we could get,” said Thomas, whose end zone interception on a Charlie Whitehurst-to-Mike Williams pass led to a touchdown. “We didn’t reach that number, but they were actually complaining that Corey and I didn’t do a good enough job allowing them to get to the quarterback and we were selfish getting interceptions, but right now we don’t care who gets the credit, we’re just worried about getting the win. That’s the great thing about this defensive unit right now.”
Great, indeed. The Giants are No. 1 in the league in overall defense. That’s what happens when a team totally buys into a new defensive coordinator’s strategy. Thomas said he’s hoping things carry right through Sunday’s rematch against 1-7 Dallas, which now has former Giants backup quarterback Jason Garrett as its head coach now that Wade Phillips has been fired.
With a pass rush that, save for their sack shutout Sunday, has harried and battered quarterbacks, the secondary has certainly done its job.
Add a little run-stopping, and the Giants’ defense has become a nearly impenetrable wall.
“Any type of pass rush with a good secondary or even an okay secondary is going to help the cornerbacks and safeties, but when you mix in a good pass rush and a good secondary with a great group of linebackers, it makes it easier out there,” Thomas said. “Sometimes we’ve got to go out there and just execute the defense and that’s what we’ve been doing a great job of lately.”
It doesn’t hurt that the offense, often a hindrance in previous years, has caught fire. That unit is on pace to become the franchise’s third-highest scoring unit in history. And the latest four-game stretch in which they’ve averaged 36 points is their biggest such stretch in more than 40 years.
Besides that, the offense has improved markedly over last year’s performance inside the opponent’s 20. They have scored touchdowns on 20 of a league-high-tying 31 trips into that vital area, a 64.5 percent success rate that is their best in Coughlin’s seven seasons and places them fourth in the NFL. Last season at this time, they had scored on only 13 of 32 green zone opportunities, a percentage of 40.6 that was the lowest since Coughlin arrived.
It all helps the defense to operate freely and, so far, successfully. And Thomas sees no reason for it to stop against as familiar opponent as Dallas.
“It makes it a lot easier on us, especially when our special teams are playing the way they are right now,” Thomas said. “I think that is what people aren’t saying – we’re playing on all cylinders as a team.
“On defense now, we can think a lot about what we want them to do. We can stop the run and then put them in pass situations that maybe they don’t want to be in. We can also jump some of their routes because they’re playing from behind.
“They have great playmakers on their offense. They obviously haven’t been the best that they could have been this season, but they’re still making plays out there. Miles Austin had a good game against us, Dez Bryant had a great game against us. I know Witten had a couple of catches and a lot of yards, so we’ve got our hands full going into this week. We’re not taking them lightly one bit. They’re a talented group of guys whether their record is 1-7 or 7-1. This is the NFC East and that’s all we care about.”
NOTES: As expected, OL Kevin Boothe was activated off PUP and C Adam Koets, who tore his ACL Sunday, went on IR…The Giants announced the signing of Koets and long-snapper Zak DeOssie to two-year contract extensions…WR Sinorice Moss was released off the IR.