- 31st in yards, 383.4 yards per game.
- 31st in yards per play, 6.0.
- 30th in 3rd down conversions, 42%.
- 25th in rush yards, 129.1.
- 28th in yards per carry, 4.6.
- 28th in pass yards, 254.2.
- 31st in yards per pass attempt, 8.1.
And still, despite those numbers, the Giants only gave up 21.5 points per game, which tied them for 12th in the NFL with the Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens. Why? Because they were able to force 35 turnovers, which was good for 3rd in the NFL, and they only allowed TDs on 46% of opponents’ trips into the red zone, which was good for 4th in the NFL.
On NFL Network a few weeks ago, Osi Umenyiora was talking about the Giants’ disappointing season on defense last year, and the lack of pressure generated on opposing QBs. Umenyiora said that a major factor was that they weren’t able to stop the run effectively, and when you can’t stop the run, it makes it that much harder to get to the QB. He’s right. Last season, the Giants held opposing offenses to less than 125 rushing yards 7 times. They went 6-1 in those games. They went 3-6 in games they allowed more than 125 on the ground.
I have serious concerns about the following starters on the Giants’ D: Justin Tuck (Done?), Cullen Jenkins (bad vs run), Dan Connor (not a legit starter), Stevie Brown (INTs last year could be a mirage), and Corey Webster (what the hell happened last season?).
Eli Manning is a great QB, and the Giants have great weapons on offense. They’ve proven that if you have a great QB (or one that gets hot in the playoffs) to go along with a bigtime pass rush, you can win it all. The big question will be… Can they rush the passer like they did in 2011? If they can’t stop the run, they won’t be able to rush the passer.
Hard to disagree with much of the above. Let's begin by saying that Osi did little to help the run defense, getting handled on run plays and making very few tackles. The Giants' corners don't contribute at all in stopping the run (insert joke here about how they don't stop the pass, either) by playing eight yards off the line of scrimmage.
The defensive line must step it up vs the run. The addition of Jenkins may or may not help. A full season of Shaun Rogers and Markus Kuhn will certainly make a difference. Then there is the possibility of getting some more help through the draft.
Not sure what Dan Connor brings to the MLB spot that Chase Blackburn and/or Mark Herzlich did not. What really needs to happen is the ends need to be secured. the OLBs and CBs have to stop backing up every snap and start hitting the line of scrimmage. Terrell Thomas was excellent at reading and reacting to the run and that is why he led the team in tackles two straight seasons.
Personally, I blame the Fewell 'system'. It's a glorified zone that allows the back seven the ability to see the field and react accrordingly. It relies on players being smart and being in the right place at the right time, hence all the turnovers. "Bend but don't break," is the philosophy. Its risky in theory and more risky in practice.
The problems arise when they face experienced QB with talented receivers. When they don't get pressure on the QB, the back seven leaves the QB too many open options. After the first big play, they get wary and begin backing up at the snap of the ball. That leaves too few people in the box to stop the run. The read-option creates even more problems for them. Opponents are not only "bending" the defense, they're "breaking" it as well.
The Giants need to change their scheme, but they can't with the current personnel. They need to re-establish their pass rush, get better play from their LBs and cover better in the secondary. Can't do that with the current people they have.