The New York Giants are preparing for the Tennessee Titans this week — a game between two teams trying to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. On Thursday, the Giants’ three coordinators met with the media to discuss how that preparation has been going plus other topics of the day.
Kareem Martin, a defensive end/linebacker hybrid that came over from Arizona to help ease the transition to James Bettcher’s 3-4 defense, has been stepping up his game as of late. He’s been making key plays in the way of quarterback hits, sacks, batted passes and tackles for losses.
“He’s working, he’s disruptive, he’s playing fast,” Bettcher said of Martin. “Probably about three or four weeks ago, Kareem and I had a conversation just, hey, let’s start cutting loose, let’s start disrupting, getting off the ball, playing vertical, and I think we’ve been doing that better as an overall defensive front seven.
“We’ve played more vertical both in the run game and in the pass game, You see some of that leads to disruption. It’s not just the third down disruption in the pass game, it’s the first and second down where we’re kind of disrupting the quarterback a little bit now and I think Kareem’s following that with the rest of the guys up front.”
On offense, the Giants finally got a look at rookie quarterback Kyle Lauletta, who came in to mop up in the fourth quarter last week in Washington. Lauletta went 0-for-5 passing with an interception. Offensive coordinator Mike Shula talked about the rookie backup’s performance.
“It’s unfortunate that we didn’t have more success with him in there, but he’ll learn from it,” said Shula. “He got experience.”
Lauletta did not get first team reps during the week and it was suggested that had a lot to do with him looking so out of sorts.
“Anybody that’s expected to come in as a backup, that’s part of your job description, so yeah, we would like to get everybody all the reps, but Alex doesn’t get any, Kyle doesn’t get any, but they know that. Especially at that position, it’s hard to get guys reps. Other positions you can get them reps just because physically you’re going to wear the starters out otherwise. Quarterbacks, it’s a little bit harder,” Shula said.
Cornerback Antonio Hamilton is the Giants’ top gunner on the punt coverage unit. He has made several key plays this season, specifically over the past two games, where he helped the Giants pin the opponent inside the one yard-line.
“He plays hard,” said special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey. “I think that’s Antonio’s biggest attribute, is that he plays extremely hard, and he knows what he is. He knows who he is. He knows his ability and he knows his role. He’s living up to it. He’s a hungry kid. He’s passionate about football. He loves ball, and I think it shows up on a game day.”