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Giants' Defense Looking for Tighter Performance vs. Chicago Bears

The Giants defense had some struggles on Monday night, but they're hoping to fix the issues and come out swinging against the Chicago Bears.

As the New York Giants defense prepares to rebound after their worst performance of this young season, defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence II realizes that their product on the field was not good enough to get the job done. 

"We talked (Tuesday) and today about how we didn’t get enough pressure on the quarterback," Lawrence said. "I feel like that starts with the guys up front. Me, mostly. I put a lot on me to get him off his spot, to get him moving, throwing off his back leg and things like that. Just got to be better."

Against the Cowboys, the defensive pass rush was quiet. Even with both of their edge rushers--Azeez Ojulari and Kayvon Thibodeaux-- returning from injury, the Giants were not able to bother Rush often in the backfield, mustering up just two pressures and no sacks.  

Lawrence, one of the defense's co-captains, said the key to improvement starts up front.

"Just pushing the pocket back, making him uncomfortable. As a D-line, that’s what you have to do. That’s the plan every week, and that’s how you’ve got to attack it," he said.

But it's the running game in particular that the Giants might need to be more concerned with if the Bears continue to be stingy with passing the ball, as they've done through the first three weeks of the season (45 pass attempts).

 "We know they like running the ball a lot," Lawrence said. "On third and long, they like running the ball. It’s just a game that we’ve got to bring our lunch pails and go to work. Put our hard hats on and stop the run. It’s just going to have to be the ultimate goal."

The Bears ran the ball well to start the season. They've averaged 5.4 yards per attempt so far this season. After the overall performances against the Cowboys on Monday and the Panthers in Week 2, Chicago likely feels good about their chances of running against the Giants, especially if Leonard Williams has to miss another game. 

The Giants, Lawerence said, were not happy with how they defended the run against Dallas, in which they gave up 176 yards on 30 carries, nearly 6.0 yards per attempt. 

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"That was unacceptable from all of us up front," said Lawerence. "They schemed us up well, got good leverage. We’ve got to play harder and more disciplined with our techniques."

So what went wrong?

"I wish I could just answer it with one answer, but there are little things here and there that one guy sees it differently," said defensive coordinator Wink Martindale. "Because it’s still a new package and everybody’s out there, there’s different guys that have been playing in different spots that they’re learning new things that somebody else who was playing it before already knew what was happening and what to look for.

"So, it’s just one of those things that we know that we’re going to appreciate and respect the process of building this defense, and we’re going to have some good results."

 Lawrence had a slightly different take.

"Honestly, they were just out-leveraging us on the edge. That’s kind of what you saw on film. We’ve got to do a better job of knocking the guys back as a unit and pressing the running back hips just to get him down. They did a good job scheming us, and it was a good team."

Besides improving against the run and getting a pass rush going, Lawerence would like to see the Giants start producing takeaways. New York has three takeaways this season and is even in the turnover ration department, having given the ball away three times.

"I would say we’ve just got to keep attacking the ball," Lawrence said of what the defense needs to do to improve is takeaways. "As a whole, be better at attacking the ball and securing tackles. A little extra film study, maybe just to jump a couple of things or guys up front stripping the ball out. Just little things that you can work on throughout the week that make you confident enough to get it before the game."

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