Perry Fewell, tell us how you really feel.
The New York Giants' defensive coordinator responded to criticism about his defense earlier this week, following a 49-24 Monday night loss to the New Orleans Saints. With the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers traveling to MetLife Stadium on Sunday afternoon, Fewell pulled no punches about his team or their effort in New Orleans.
He called his team's lack of a spine in the game "disheartening."
"They got on us and they hit us in the mouth and we didn't respond. That's what I'm more disappointed about than anything else. We didn't respond," Fewell said. "We had an opportunity to stand up and respond to a team that came out and was on fire and we didn't do that."
Against the Giants defense, Saints quarterback Drew Brees completed 63 percent of his passes including four touchdowns in the Monday night win. His 9.6 yards per completion represented his highest number this season.
For Fewell, it was a matter of effort from his defense or more appropriately, a lack thereof. Now in his second year with the Giants, Fewell said he hasn't seen anything like this from his team and while he doesn't have any answers for their lackluster effort, he said his players "can't give you any answers" either.
"It's nothing that I do or I say because these guys are professionals. They got to this level and they're competing at the highest level of competition because they have something within them. Sometimes you have to give them a kick in the ass to get that motor going, but they have that," Fewell said. "Sometimes you have to give them a good shake to remind them of what's at stake and what we're playing for, but they all have that will. You just have to stoke that will up a little bit."
With the Giants facing the Packers' fourth-best offense in the league, Fewell had six days to get his message to his beat-up defenders before another stiff test. There wasn't any ranting or rating from the coordinator but he spoke directly to them about their lack of effort and pulling up short on Monday night.
"After we talked on Wednesday and you looked them in the eye and the way that they responded on Wednesday and the way responded today, I think it was a different attitude. It was a different mood. It was a different preparation mindedness on their part," Fewell said. "There was not a lot of talk. We said, 'Actions speak louder than words. So we're going to put into action what our words should say.' I think they took that thing to heart more so than boasting and bragging about what we're going to do."
Kristian R. Dyer can be followed at twitter.com/KristianRDyer