Two elements are in place to help the Giants' defense improve on its dismal ranking of 31st in 2012: Butts and blitzes.
The first one is certainly the most obvious and the most giggle-inducing. Asked how his defense will look different, coordinator Perry Fewell pointed immediately to the backsides of his tackles.
"We've got bigger butts!" he said excitedly. "Sean Rodgers is in there. Cullen Jenkins. The butts are a lot bigger. So yeah, it looks different."
And let's not forget the new butts of rookie Johnathan Hankins and veteran Mike Patterson, not to mention the return of Linval Joseph's imposing derriere.
"I think it's a huge factor in helping us be a better run defense," Fewell said of the beefed-up line. "The mass, the size, the strength is noticeably different for us."
Fewell has never been a blitz-happy play-caller. That could change this year as he tinkers with the scheme. "We just want to be aggressive," he said. "We want to take the fight to our opponent and we'll use all the weapons we can possibly use in order to be an aggressive defense."
WR Victor Cruz (heel) and DE Jason Pierre-Paul (back) were limited in Thursday's practice. Cruz seems ready to play on Sunday but Pierre-Paul said he will decide Friday if he'll be ready for the opener in Dallas on Sunday night . . . FB Henry Hynoski (knee) also was limited. He might be a week away from playing in a game . . . Asked if having two new starters on the offensive line in James Brewer and rookie Justin Pugh will affect the complexity of the play-calling, offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said: "That's the million-dollar question." . . . Rookie RB Michael Cox will get the nod as kickoff returner in the opener, special- teams coordinator Tom Quinn said.