Osi Umenyiora today used a baseball analogy to explain why the Giants sacked New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees only once in a 52-27 victory last Sunday.
"I think we definitely put a lot of pressure on ourselves and we want to go out there and definitely perform up to our capabilities, but I don't think we're not doing that," said Umenyiora, who had the sack, a nine-yarder. "It's just like a guy who's a slugger and every single time they're throwing him balls. They're trying to walk him and then you're asking why he's not hitting home runs. They're trying to walk him. If they pitch him the ball, he's going to hit a home run. We're not getting pitches. It's really that simple. When we get the pitches whenever we get ahead, whenever we get one on one blocks, we're going to take advantage of them, but we're just not really seeing that right now."
Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said today he was the one who ordered what was essentially a pass rush version of an intentional walk.
"It's kind of the strategy that I put them in last week," said Fewell, who declined to be more specific. "Our guys are very cooperative. It took a lot for them to do what I asked them to do last week. It wasn't the most sack-friendly game for them, but it was the way that we felt we had to win that football game. A lot of D-linemen wouldn't have done what they did, so my evaluation is that they did a great job because they executed what we wanted them to execute. We accomplished our goal.
"They executed the game plan for what we felt like we needed to do in order to slow down that football team."
That's not to say Fewell wouldn't have preferred to see Brees spend more time on the ground.
"We're not exonerating them from getting sacks," Fewell said. "Obviously, we want more pressure on the quarterback. I always want sacks. Sometimes I don't always put them in the best position and last week I didn't put them in the best position to always accumulate multiple sacks. Should we have had sacks? Yes, we should've had sacks, but I did not put them in the best position to accumulate multiple sacks last week."
Umenyiora, who is fourth on the Giants' official career sacks list with 75.0, knows that fans often question whether a defensive line is playing well if it doesn't register sacks. But he doesn't worry about it.
"There's nothing else we can do about it," he said. "We can say it till we're blue in the face, but the only people who know and actually sit there and watch this for a living, we know exactly how it is that we're actually affecting the quarterback and the teams that try and take us away. So at the end of the day sacks are what everybody looks at, so we have to find a way to get more."
*Five Giants did not practice today: Cornerback Prince Amukamara (hamstring), running back Ahmad Bradshaw (knee/foot), linebacker Michael Boley (back) and safeties Kenny Phillips (knee) and Tyler Sash (hamstring) did not practice.
"It's just that little bite in there when you try to open up," Amukamara said of his leg. "So as soon as that goes away, I think I'll be great."
Fewell said he is "assuming" Phillips won't play in Atlanta. Phillips did not play last week and has missed seven of the 13 games this season.
*Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks (knee) and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (back) returned to practice on a limited basis. Center David Baas (shoulder) and tight end Travis Beckum (knee) practiced fully.
Asked how Nicks looked, Tom Coughlin said, "Not bad, not bad. He's working his way back."
*Justin Tuck is one of 10 nominees for the 2013 Bart Starr Award, which honors one NFL player for outstanding character and leadership in the home, on the field and in the community.
The other nominees are Philadelphia's Nnamdi Asomugha, Baltimore's Matt Birk, Minnesota's Chad Greenway, Tennessee's Matt Hasselbeck, San Diego's Philip Rivers, Jacksonville's Josh Scobee, Buffalo's Brad Smith, Cleveland's Joe Thomas and Dallas' Jason Witten.
"You look at the other guys on this finalist board - I know a lot of them and I know a lot of their work," Tuck said. "So to be included with those guys it lets me know that I must be doing something right. I'm definitely honored and just blessed to be able to use the platform that we have as athletes and especially being in New York City to promote helping people that aren't as fortunate as we are.
"I think football has afforded me the opportunity to continue to be giving to our community and for me it's very important to help and support the people that have supported me. This community, New York City, this tri-state area has embraced me in just about everything I have tried to accomplish and so I feel like I'm indebted in some regards in giving back and it's important for me to do so."
The winner of the Bart Starr Award will be announced in New Orleans, the site of Super Bowl XLVII, on Friday, February 1.