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Turning takeaways into points

Michael Boley #59 during practice at the Timex

Michael Boley #59 during practice at the Timex Performance Center. (Aug. 10, 2011) Credit: Newsday/Joe Epstein

The Giants led the NFL in takeaways in 2010. How many points did they score off of all those opportunities? None. Defenses love shutouts, but BEING shutout was not an enjoyable experience for Perry Fewell in his first season as coordinator. The defense didn’t muster a single point – not a safety, not a pick-six, not a nothing – and it stuck in their craw all offseason.

So it helped that on the first series of the first preseason game Michael Boley took an interception and returned it 56 yards for a touchdown. While the defense had always worked in practice on forcing turnovers, this summer in training camp they’ve made a concerted effort towards turning those chances into points.

“That’s one of those things that thus far in training camp we’ve harped on,” Boley said after the game. “If you make an interception, take it all the way to the end zone. If the ball is on the ground, pick it up and run it back to the end zone. It’s one of those things that we feel as a defense is very critical to our success.”

As for the interception itself, Boley said it felt like Jimmy Clausen was throwing the ball right to him. It looked that way too. Thanks to pressure from Justin Tuck and newly minted superstar Jason Pierre-Paul, Clausen had to throw his pass to DeAngelo Williams a little sooner than he probably would have liked to.

“He was looking for the running back but I don’t think the running back was ready,” Boley said. “I don’t think he was out of his break yet when he threw the ball. He just happened to throw it right in my zone.”


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