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How To Fix The Giants Defense, From Scouts Inc

Scouts Inc is the ESPN scouting division. They are former scouts and NFL personnel guys who are doing the same thing for ESPN. They’re ESPN insider, but pretty good stuff.

Anyway, one of the writers, Matt Williamson, posted about how to fix the Giants defense. Here what he had to say:

Considering their reputation and level of play in 2008, the New York Giants’ defense was very disappointing last season. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo took the head-coaching job in St. Louis and his innovative and timely play calling was missed. Also, there were conflicts between new coordinator Bill Sheridan and the Giants’ defensive players. Now both the run and pass defenses need an upgrade.

The Giants’ pass rush was middle of the road last year. That is unacceptable considering the talent they have at the defensive end position and the overall resources they dedicated to their defensive front last offseason. Did this dip in production stem from coaching or the players? Surely it was a little of both, but with Perry Fewell taking over the defense, expect a step up from the perimeter rushers. Fewell stresses fundamentals and is considered a players’ coach. One worry up front is the defensive tackles’ run defense, which clearly was not up to par.

There is no getting around the problems in personnel last season in the pass defense, which also hindered Sheridan’s play-calling options. The loss of talented safety Kenny Phillips was crushing. Safety is a huge need going forward, even if he is expected to return at full strength. Michael Johnson, Aaron Rouse and C.C. Brown were simply overmatched in coverage. The Giants were very weak up the middle with their pass defense, and because it lacked qualified coverage safeties, New York forced players to line up out of position. It was a desperate — and unsuccessful — ploy. If Philips returns to form and the Giants add one starting-caliber safety, this secondary can be quite good. They are strong at cornerback and have found a real keeper in Terrell Thomas to go along with Corey Webster and Aaron Ross, who too often was forced to play safety instead of his natural corner position.

There are issues at linebacker though. Middle linebacker Antonio Pierce was released, which is a move I agree with. Never the most physically gifted player, it appears as though what Pierce did have from an athletic standpoint began to fail him. Much more range and playmaking ability is needed in the middle against both run and pass, especially considering the tight ends and pass-catching running backs in the NFC East.

The Michael Boley experiment on the outside did not yield enough overall, but he was particularly poor against the run. Boley is more of a run-and-hit player and running at him directly exposes his weaknesses. Perhaps his best role would be as a sub package linebacker; they need to create competition for his starting weakside spot on early downs.

While the Giants have several mediocre options for both the Mike and Will linebacker spots, I don’t see a lot of upside with that crew outside of Boley. On the strong side, Danny Clark isn’t flashy, but he is tough and effective. He is an unrestricted free agent and hopefully the Giants lock him up, but his backup, Clint Sintim, does has more ability, speed and potential. However, neither of these two project well to the middle or weak side.

Having a new coordinator could yield immediate results, but Fewell’s scheme is based a great deal on speed and range. With that in mind, New York needs to find one linebacker with elite playmaking abilities, maybe Rolando McClain in the draft or Karlos Dansby in free agency.

I see safety as the No. 1 personnel need here, followed immediately by a difference-maker at linebacker. A nose tackle-type would be third, as the foursome of Rocky Bernard, Chris Canty, Barry Cofield and Fred Robbins were all underwhelming, but there is ability among this defensive tackle rotation. Robbins can push the pocket, but more was needed from him stopping the run and his stamina is questionable. He is an unrestricted free agent and could be replaced. A second linebacker to battle for a starting spot would be ideal.

This sounds like a long list, but the Giants are set on the offensive side of the ball, so expect their resources to be dedicated to fixing this once-proud defense.

Agree with everything he said. Personally, I would love to see them go after a veteran safety–maybe Darren Sharper–put they need someone, you know, good next to Kenny Phillips, The 2010 draft will be pretty much all defense. And it should be. The Giants defense was awful last year. Hopefully, they’ll pick the right players.

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9 Responses to “How To Fix The Giants Defense, From Scouts Inc”

  1. andrew i says:

    hang on a sec…. it cannot be ALL defense.

    what about the offensive line’s lack of protection and run gap creation over on the left side? and what of kareem on the right side, will he be fine for next year? the line was ok on the right, not up to par at all on the left.

    we need another safety, preferably a guy that can step in and not only have instinct but can create turnovers. sharper may be the way to go.

    sure we can use a guy like CC Brown to rush the passer if need be… totally in the box. hes a great run stopper that doesnt belong back deep.

    michael johnson does not get any playing time if im the coach.

    • Steve B. says:

      Just to be clear, the article was about addressing the Giants defensive problems, not looking at the total.

      I strongly think that the line will be changed this year. Maybe something like (starting left to right) Beatty, Seubert, Ohara, Snee, Diehl (some think Diehl would be better at RT, because thats generally your run blocking strength, and he wouldnt be up against the elite pass rushers, ex D-Ware).

      I think that although they might seem like big problems, they are kinda of small in retrospect to other teams, like the Rams who are a disaster all over the place, except for RB. Its nice to have a young franchise QB, and overall a pretty good offense, that is only going to get better.

      I think Perry Fewell is gonig to be the differnce maker, the right scheme and right coaching can make a worlds of a differnce. Just look at corey webster, he was benched early in his career, switched defenses, and he became our shutdown corner, who was best in the league in ’08.

      Atleast we know our offense is ready to go, and if we can make a couple moves here and there, especially on defense, we would really be one of the dominant/elite teams in the league.

      If the giants can put it all together, they have the making of a Dynasty.

      • andrew i says:

        yeah that was evident, but i was responding to this final comment:

        “the Giants are set on the offensive side of the ball”

        that is a huge statement to make when the offensive line was peppered with injuries, both top running backs were injured and had surgery, the project halfback Andre Brown may not ever fully recover, and their plax replacement Barden may never see the light of day if his special teams play doesnt fully improve.

        And to be frank — when the running game is good, everyone jumped on the line’s prowess. but when it goes seriously south, its only the backs’ fault?

        please, lets be consistent.

        to me, there is more wrong with the Giants than what the article led on. thats my point

  2. […] Evan Tokarz wrote a very interesting post today.   Here’s a quick excerpt:Scouts Inc is the ESPN scouting division. They are former scouts and NFL personnel guys who are doing the same thing for ESPN. They’re ESPN insider, but pretty good stuff. […]

  3. Jeremy Fuchs says:

    Andrew, the offensive line is an internal fix. Plug Beatty in at left tackle. Move Diehl inside to guard, and bench Seubert, or move Diehl to right tackle, and bench McKenzie. I think that’s a HUGE upgrade, especially if Diehl is at guard. Just run between him and O’Hara, or O’Hara and Snee. Not bad.

    The defense has to be the main thing. Have to get at the QB. Have to not let up big plays. On the current roster, these aren’t enough of those guys

    • andrew i says:

      running between snee and anyone was great last year, but im not convinced the left side is sured up with those moves.

  4. jeremy says:

    our defense is exactly the same from our dominating 08′ season. it isnt as bad as everyone thinks. we get Osi Back at 1000% this season and we replace Peirce with an athlete. Tuck will be healthy, and thats all we need. Tuck and Osi healthy is almost unstoppable. Canty and Cofield is as good as Cofield and Robbins. In my opinion this roster works. The X factor will be Alford if he can have an impact my dream of drafting Anthony Davis or Bruce Campbell with pick 15 will not backfire in our faces.

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