New York Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell has helped make...

New York Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell has helped make the Giants defense a force for the playoffs. (undated file photo) Credit: Getty Images

Perry Fewell wants to get after Aaron Rodgers. But first he spent some time getting after his own defense.

Fewell publicly ripped into his unit yesterday just days after the Giants allowed 49 points and 577 yards against the Saints and days before they are to face the undefeated Packers. He was especially miffed by the lack of effort and passion he saw Monday, some of which showed up with players stopping short and not completing tackles.

"As a football coach, me being the coach and the leader of the defense, that was disheartening," Fewell said. "I'm going to say it like this: We don't coach pulling up short and we're not going to accept pulling up short, so we won't pull up short again."

Usually an enthusiastic cheerleader who is known for his close relationships with players, the second-year defensive coordinator said that the Giants have never seen him as angry as he was this week. "I was ----," he said. "Player-friendly or not, it's all about winning and being successful on the football field. I think they got the message and we all understand what's on the line for us."

Fewell said he didn't think the Giants showed the "will to win" against the Saints.

"We all have an internal drive . . . They got to this level because they have something within them," Fewell said of his players. "Sometimes you have to give them a kick in the ---- to get that motor going. Sometimes you have to give them a good shake to remind them what's at stake and what we're playing for. But they all have that will. You just have to stoke that will up a little bit."

Fewell certainly was stoked Thursday. And one of the things he was most pointed about was the team's inability to pressure opposing quarterbacks. The Giants have had only three sacks in the last three games. Fewell vowed that will change. "We're going to get to the quarterback, period," he said. "We're going to get it done."

Even without Osi Umenyiora and with an obviously injured Justin Tuck, Fewell said there is enough talent to get to Rodgers. He's been sacked 24 times this season, but he's one of the league's most mobile passers.

"He can move around, he can scramble," Fewell said. "We have to be very disciplined in our rush lanes. But more so than disciplined, we just have to get after his ----. If we do that and he scrambles, then that's the price he's going to pay because we're going to hit him. We're going to hit him."

Fewell has been a head-coaching candidate and interviewed for several teams this past offseason. His defense's performance this year, however, has deflated his value. Although it likely was not on his mind at the time, his impassioned public address likely will make owners of teams with coaching vacancies take notice. But only if the Giants win.

Fewell wouldn't guarantee that they will. But he was asked where his confidence level is after being drubbed in New Orleans and facing another team more than capable of embarrassing a defense. "We look forward to the opportunity to play these guys, that's my confidence level," he said. "We're going to show up and we're going to play on Sunday."

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