Just two season ago the New York Giants were Super Bowl champs. Big Blue finished the past two seasons with a 9-7 record, but were able to sneak into the playoffs in 2011 and go all the way. So what happened? Well, the major difference between their 2011 and 2012 season is their defense. Last season, the Giants’ defense stunk up the field.
In 2011, the Giants had a ferocious pass-rush that dominated teams, and helped push the Giants through to the playoffs and beyond—the team ranked third in the NFL with 48 sacks. In 2012, the Giants pass-rush had a major drop off in production, producing just 33 sacks, ranking them 22nd in the league. To make matters worse, the Giants run-defense wasn’t any better, ranking 25th in the league. The team lacked toughness, and displayed a lot of poor tackling as a whole.
How do they fix their problem?
To keep it basic, aside from wrapping up better, they need to improve their run defense in order to get their bread and butter back (their pass-rush). If the Giants can improve their 25th-ranked run defense, opposing teams will be forced to throw, making their quarterback drop back more often, which in turn would give the Giants defensive line more of an opportunity to make plays in the backfield.
But all that is easier said than done. It will be tough for Big Blue to replace All-Pro defensive end Osi Umenyiora, who left for the Atlanta Falcons, and at the same time deal with aging Justin Tuck’s decrease in production and Jason Pierre-Paul rehabbing his back. The Giants did make some important moves in the offseason, via draft or free agency, to move towards fixing their problem, though. They picked up Ohio State defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins, and Texas A&M defensive end Damontre Moore, and they also picked up former Philadelphia Eagles Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson to help fix their defense. Now the team just needs to bring it together; they also need to get that edge back and play with toughness.