One of the reasons the Giants have been yielding so many yards on the ground is because they deviate from their base defense, taking out the middle linebacker and inserting an extra defensive back.
This alignment protects the Giants from what sunk their ship last season - surrendering big plays up top (through the air) but leaves them short-staffed vs the power run teams in the NFL. The 49ers - the Giants' opponent this Sunday - is one of those power run teams. They have a beast of runner in Frank Gore and the Giants will need a presence in the middle to slow him down.
The closest thing the Giants can counter with is rookie LB Greg Jones, who took over the spot after Jonathan Goff tore up his knee before the season. To his credit, Jones is a playmaker with a nose for the ball, but he is perceived to be undersized and his lack of experience has kept him off the field more often than on it.
The Giants have been deviating more and more from their base defense and it has slowed the development of Jones. They need start trusting him on running downs or they will not go very far this season. Tom Coughlin and Perry Fewell know they need speed up Jones' learning curve...
"That is what he does well. He fits in a base personnel," Coughlin told reporters when asked if Jones' services would be employed more against the 49ers.
"He hasn’t had many snaps because of the personnel that we have been facing the majority of the time but this is a regular personnel setup and he will have an opportunity to play more. I think he is equipped and that is why he is in there."
Fewell was asked what he thought the most pressing issue was that was holding back the run defense. He stopped short of admitting that the team is devoid of an experienced run stopper in the middle.
"I won’t say because that’s information that I want to keep in house. But we’re improving."
That statement is directed at the progress of Jones, a sixth-round draft pick out of Michigan State. He wants to participate in any way possible, but the Giants need him to put Lansing on the back burner and elevate his game to NFL caliber.
Jones told reporters today that the coaches told him to be ready.
"I'm trying to get my mind ready for whatever happens," Jones said."If I'm needed, I'm needed, if not then I'll do my job on special teams. I'll do my best to help my team win, do something to help the team win."
News alert...he's needed.