EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –** So, Perry Fewell, what's the key to stopping Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo?
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He's doing more than hoping. Fewell, the Giants' defensive coordinator, is feverishly plotting to slow down Romo and the Cowboys' prolific offense when the teams meet Sunday in MetLife Stadium. Romo, who has been Dallas' starter since midway through the 2006 season, is having an outstanding season, with 21 touchdown passes and only six interceptions.
"We've got a great deal of respect for Tony," Fewell said. "He's a good pocket passer. He moves out of the pocket, he's even more dangerous. I think the thing I see is he seems like he commands the offense more, because he may call more plays on his own. It seems like he has more control of the offense than he has in the past.
"I don't know if you can say there's one key thing that you'd do against Tony because he's seen it all. He's a wily veteran. Obviously, you have to stop the run game and make him one dimensional, but when you do that, he's thrown the ball 50 times against us and he's very accurate this year, probably more so than he's been in the past. You just have to hope he has a bad day and that you're having a good day and that you can steal a couple of downs."
Fewell suggested it will be difficult for the Giants to fool a quarterback with Romo's experience.
"He's seen it all," Fewell said. "In my mind, he's like Peyton (Manning) and Tom Brady and those guys. He's been in the league for a long time. He's seen every coverage known to man. So yeah, you'll try to disguise and do some things, but they employ a pretty quick game against us. I know they threw the ball like over 30 or 40 times against us in the first ball game and he was getting the ball out quick. So it depends on the approach that he comes out with and what philosophy they're going to come out with because you can disguise and you can disguise yourself out of position."
The Giants veterans are accustomed to seeing Romo, but have been particularly impressed by what he's done this year.
"He's playing great," cornerback Terrell Thomas said. "When you watch the film it backs up and when you look at our first game (the season opener won by the Cowboys) he did a great job dinking the ball here and there to make sure that we couldn't get to him as far as sacks and that we couldn't make plays on the ball. So as a defense, we've just got to stay patient, tackle and keep everything in front of us."
Romo throws to an outstanding pair of wide receivers in Dez Bryant and Miles Austin, plus eight-time Pro Bowl tight end Jason Witten. Austin seems to be over the hamstring injury that has prevented him from catching a pass for two months.
Prince Amukamara, Trumaine McBride and Thomas will have the primary responsibility to impede the Cowboys receivers.
"They definitely pose a threat, especially with Miles Austin coming back in," Amukamara said. "No. 83 for them (rookie Terrance Williams) is definitely on the rise and (Cole) Beasley has been doing great for them. As DBs, we definitely have a great challenge."
The Giants can keep Amukamara on the right side and McBride on the left, or they could choose to have Amukamara stay with Bryant, as he did for most of the opener in Dallas on Sept. 8. Bryant leads Dallas with 52 touchdowns, 749 yards and eight touchdowns. Fewell didn't tip his hand today.
"Each time we play them, we approach it differently," Fewell said. "Sometimes we'll matchup, sometimes we won't. It just kind of depends as we go through the week and how well the guys practice and how they are preparing, who looks good. We'll do a little bit of both."
Fewell expressed confidence in Amukamara's ability to cover Bryant.
"Prince is playing well for us right now," Fewell said. "That's a strong matchup, I think, for us."
Head coach Tom Coughlin said it is vital to have a cornerback who can stay with top targets like Bryant.
"It's very important because at some point in time, I don't care what the circumstance might be, you're going to get stuck one on one, and you've got to be able to defend," Coughlin said. "We all know the plusses with Bryant and any of their receivers, their tight ends; we all know how good they are and how skilled they are, and so for us to be able to try to matchup one on one, it's a heck of a challenge. But Prince did pretty well the first time around and we're hoping he does well again."
The entire Giants' defense has played well recently, rising from 26 to 11 in the weekly NFL rankings in the last six weeks. Fewell cited three players behind the improvement.
"I think we've been able to dial some things up because Jon Beason and Terrell Thomas and Antrel Rolle have really taken control of our defense," Fewell said. "They're the voices of our defense and they're demanding from their teammates the execution of the things that we've game planned each week. That's the freedom I'm getting or that's the confidence that I'm getting in our people, because they are really putting pressure on themselves to perform. I just think those guys are doing a great job of leading us to where we need to be."
QUICK HITS >>
- Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks was limited to individual drills because of an abdominal injury. Is it bad enough to keep him off the field?
"No," Nicks said. "It's Dallas, man."
Nicks called the injury a "strain." He said it will not affect him on the field.
"I don't think it's going to be anything like that that bothers me," Nicks said.
- Every player on the roster was at practice today and Nicks was one of six who did not work yesterday but returned on a limited basis today. The others were defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (shoulder), fullback John Conner (hip), running back Brandon Jacobs (knee) and cornerbacks Terrell Thomas (knee) and Trumaine McBride (hip). Cornerback Corey Webster (groin/ankle) continues to work on a limited basis.
- The Giants, FedEx and New York Cares will host their 18th annual Coat Drive this Sunday, when the Giants host the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium. Fans are encouraged to bring new or gently worn coats to any of the FedEx trucks or volunteers located at each stadium entrance.
All coats collected during the drive will be donated to New York Cares, a non-profit organization that meets pressing community needs by mobilizing caring New Yorkers in volunteer service. The coats will then be distributed to men, women and children at homeless shelters, community organizations, centers for battered women and agencies serving senior citizens across the metropolitan area.