The New York Giants have to make some changes in defense to get back on top

The Giants failed to make the playoffs in 2012 and have a chance to defend their title. The team’s defense struggled to stop opponents in the air or on the ground at the end of the season in a couple of pivotal games. Opponents beat the Giants for big plays and converted frequently on the third down. Consecutive 34-0 and 33-14 losses to the Falcons and Ravens in December sealed their fate.

The G-men have some adjustments to make on offense (add some youth to the offensive line and expect Hakeem Nicks to come back healthy in 2013), but the point guard is in place to score a ton of points. David Wilson and Reuben Randle showed enough potential in their rookie seasons for the team’s coaches to feel good about the significant increase in production in 2013. However, the Giants defense had some leaks in 2012 and more will be needed. to straighten the boat.

The biggest surprise of last season was how tame the highly acclaimed front four from New York was in far too many contests. Big Blue’s defense is anchored by his four forwards. The advertised line played an important role in the two recent New York championships. The Giants averaged 14 points in the last six games (including the playoffs) of the 2011 championship season. The constant and disruptive passing rush turned Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady into deadly quarterbacks. That didn’t happen enough last season, especially down the stretch.

Justin Tuck passed out at the end of the year with another shoulder injury and at age 30 he may be on the decline. His 4 sacks were the fewest he’s had since 2006. Tuck played in just 6 games that season, but he was clearly a talented young defensive end who was beginning to understand the professional game. The former Notre Dame star needs a great offseason to be in the best shape of his life. You may also need to become a third-chance player to keep cool.

Osi Umenyiora will likely depart through free agency. The 10-year veteran had just 6 sacks, which was the fewest since 2006. Umenyiora is likely to find a team that pays him for being a hitter and not just a rushing specialist the Giants imagine him to be. will be. New York’s most prized defensive force, Jason Pierre-Paul, also saw his production decline substantially in 2012. JPP is just entering his prime, but the combination of more blocking schemes designed to slow him down and time spent at defensive tackle due to injuries, it reduced its effectiveness.

A season of recovery for Pierre-Paul would not be surprising. However, fans shouldn’t be surprised if Jerry Reese spent the team’s first-round pick on a talented defensive end who can rush the passer in the 2013 NFL Draft. Reese never puts up a talented defensive lineman who didn’t like him. Reese has an eye for talent and knows better than most that harassing a quarterback with a wave of long-armed, athletic pass runners is the best way to stop today’s aerial attacks. Ezekiel Ansah (BYU) and Dion Jordan (Oregon) are a pair of defensive ends in this year’s draft that the Giants will definitely kick the tires on. The idea of ​​pairing JPP with another young, dynamic defensive end has to appeal to the Giants, especially with RGIII in the division.

The other more disturbing defensive surprise was cornerback Corey Webster’s bad play. New York’s number one cornerback was beaten by an alarming number of big plays in 2012. He played like he missed a step and the NFL is a cruel sport when a weakness is identified. Teams won’t stop attacking a weakness until you give them a reason. Webster will be turning 31 soon and he may not be the player he once was. The former second-round pick (2005 NFL Draft) may not return unless he’s willing to cut his $ 7 million salary next season. It is not advisable to pay a player for past production.

The Giants are lean at the critical cornerback position and will likely target a tall cornerback in the draft. Prince Amukamara (first round, 2010 NFL Draft) may have a breakout season in his junior year, but he has yet to avoid pesky leg injuries. The Giants like last year’s third-round pick Jayron Hosley at cornerback. However, you have to go strong this offseason and show that you can stay healthy despite having a small body. A quality young cornerback is urgently needed to help New York High School. Jordan Poyer (Oregon State) is an intriguing cornerback that the Giants will seriously evaluate. It could be this year’s draft version of Casey Hayward. Hayward slipped into the second round of last year’s draft because he lacked great size and speed. It turned out to be a steal for the Packers because he’s such a smart and instinctive cornerback.

Giants fans should feel good about having a talent screener of the caliber of Jerry Reese running the draft. Big Blue builds primarily through the draft and complements with the occasional free agent of value (TE Martellus Bennett is a prime example). The Giants could easily see a rejuvenated defense with the addition of a couple of talented young players. The 2014 Super Bowl takes place in New York and the Giants would love to have a home game.

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