There is definitely something different about the Giants' defense this year, and after finishing 31st in the league in 2012, there'd better be. The team has even been experimenting with a 3-4 scheme that might come in handy against some of the read-option and pistol offenses being used throughout the league.
"We'll be very multiple," defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said. "Personnelwise, we have guys that fit a 4-3. We have guys that fit a lot of different defensive combinations. And so I'm going to build a defense based on our personnel."
Even when they are in their old 4-3 look, the Giants are tweaking their setup and having the defensive ends play strong and weak side rather than left and right as they've done in the past. Justin Tuck, who has bounced everywhere along the line and even dropped into pass coverage as a linebacker in Tuesday's practice, said it "makes us a little bit less predictable."
"I think we have some players that have some versatility at the different positions," Fewell said. "We're experimenting. We don't actually know if we're as versatile as we can be, so we'll find out in some of these preseason games. But we'd like to think we're more versatile."
Battle at backup
Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said this week that there is a "legitimate" competition for the backup quarterback job, but he wasn't just talking about veteran David Carr and rookie Ryan Nassib. Welcome to the conversation, Curtis Painter!
"[It's] because of the way they've practiced and so on and so forth," Tom Coughlin said. "You like it that way. You want it to be very competitive. So the opportunities will be there."
As for Painter, long considered an afterthought in the fight for the right to watch Eli Manning play all season, Coughlin said he's shown poise and intelligence.
"He's done a good job of understanding what we want," Coughlin said. "In a limited number of snaps he's been relatively productive."
DE Damontre Moore missed a second straight practice with a left shoulder contusion . . . Rookie Justin Pugh took first-team reps at right tackle at the end of practice but has mostly been at left tackle with the second unit since returning from a concussion . . . Coughlin said he expects Tuck (back) and Hakeem Nicks (groin) to see their first preseason action Sunday against the Colts; thinks Chris Snee (hip) should be able to play in the game; but will defer to the medical staff on whether Terrell Thomas (knee, hamstring) will be available. None of those four veterans played in the preseason opener. . . . Coughlin canceled last night's team meetings and took the Giants bowling.