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Defense leads NFL in takeaways, but can't score

Perry Fewell stood against a wall and calmly - even graciously - answered every question about how Michael Vick and the Eagles had dismantled his defense in the final eight minutes of Sunday's collapse. Despite the obvious pain of the conversation, he was patient and professional. It wasn't until the subject changed that he got really worked up.

The Giants' defense leads the NFL in takeaways with 34 this season, which is exactly what Fewell promised when he was hired in January. But none of those turnovers has resulted in any points scored by the defense. Not a fumble return, not a pick. The Giants haven't even had a safety.

To Fewell, a defense is supposed to post shutouts, not get shut out. "That's -- me off," he said, springing to life. "I'm a score-on-defense guy. You want to get me going?"

The Giants haven't been. In fact, they haven't come close. Sure, they've given the ball to the offense to punch in; the Giants have scored 12 touchdowns and two field goals that were set up by turnovers. But there has been something missing for a defense that gets its hands on the ball so often and has so many dynamic athletes.

"That's what defense is about: putting points on the board, too," said safety Deon Grant, who has three interceptions and three fumble recoveries. "If you really want to take a stand as far as being a great defense, that's what it's all about. Making sure you close the game out and also put points on the board."

Grant said the defense used to have a pool that players put money into, and whoever scored a touchdown would collect the pot.

"We got away from it," he said. "I think we need to ante that up again. That'll get guys really excited to get in that end zone."

Not everyone is as disappointed in the defense being held scoreless through 14 games. "It's not like we're going out there like, 'Oh, my God, we have to score, we have to score,' " Justin Tuck said.

Corey Webster noted that the turnover is the important part because it prevents the other team from getting in the end zone. Scoring is just gravy. Said Webster, "We can only take them as they come."

But that's not Fewell's style, to sit back and wait for them to come. Which is why he coaches his players to scoop and score in every practice and has them work on their return skills.

Fewell is confident that before the season is over, one of his defensive players will be spiking the ball in the end zone.

"We're going to get that done in these last two ballgames," he said. "You have to have a little bit of luck, too, and luck is going to be on our side this week and then the following week."

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