With the Giants' pass rush sitting at the bottom of the NFL, the secondary has been left to pick up the slack. Even with all the injuries, the unit has done an impressive job holding down the fort. That has not gone unnoticed. Pro Football Focus has it ranked 8th in the NFL going into Week 7.
From Matt Claassen of Pro Football Focus:
"Safety Landon Collins was mostly a disappointment as a rookie, but he's made great strides from his position-worst coverage grade a season ago. Receiving stats into his coverage are down across the board, and busted coverages haven't seemed like an issue this year. Leon Hall has also played well in the slot, and has been a valuable addition after sitting on the free-agent market for months."
Injuries killed the Giants last season, leaving them to go find veterans who were without jobs -- not the best course of action. This year, the injury bug struck again but the club didn't panic and trusted their roster.
Rookie safety Darian Thompson, who won the free safety job in training camp, has missed most of the season with a foot injury. Nat Berhe, his replacement, has missed time with a concussion. Both are out again this week. The Giants have been going with rookie UDFA Andrew Adams at safety.
"Andrew's been solid," defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said on Thursday before the team left for London. "He has made some normal rookie mistakes, they show up in the game but if those mistakes as a safety can be ones that don't kill us in the football game, we can survive them. He had to step in there going from practice squad, not getting a lot of reps, having to be thrown in the fire right away. I think he's done an admirable job, really."
At cornerback, Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie is coming off a groin ailment and rookie Eli Apple is still dealing with the same injury. The Giants have been going with DRC, Janoris Jenkins, Hall, Trevin Wade (who is also hurt with an ankle) and free-agent pick up Coty Sensabaugh.
Spagnuolo said DRC should be near 100 percent this week and Apple could dress this week, but that was head coach Ben McAdoo's call.
"We certainly don't want to set him (Apple) back like with what happened last time," said Spagnuolo. "He came off the hamstring, and then it set him back with the groin, so we don't want that to happen. We'll have to be smart about it. I'm sure Ben will make that decision."
The secondary has stepped up leadership-wise as well. DRC has been a positive presence, but it's the second-year safety Collins that on the field nearly 100 percent of time and leading the charge.
"We tell him he's not a rookie anymore because you're past your third game in your second year," Spagnuolo said of Collins. "He functions with the guys, the vets really well. I think having played in Alabama really helps those guys. It's not too big for him. It never was at the beginning, and it isn't now. The one thing I really like about him, is when he makes a mistake or something doesn't go well, he's the kind of guy that can shake if off really quick. He just moves on to the next play, it doesn't stay with him. And, he works every day. We're always doing ball drills; he's always talking about the scheme. He's done a great job."
This week the Giants will face a Rams' offense that has discovered its passing game. Last week in Detroit, QB Case Keenum hit on 27 of his 32 passes, including 19 in a row at one point. He finished the game with 321 yards, 3 TDs and a 126.7 QBR.
"I think their offense has gotten better and better every game that they've played, which is scary for us, having to play them in the 7th game," noted Spagnuolo. "The offensive line is playing better together, the quarterback I've always thought was a really smart football player and could function the way they need. The running back, wide-outs they have, they're a good football team when we look at them."