For the past decade, or so, the New York Giants defense has relied upon their pass rush, spearheaded by defensive lineman, to mask deficiencies in their linebacking and secondary corps. A formula that, when at its most effective, has been a key factor in their ability to bring to Super Bowl Championships to New York in the last seven NFL seasons. Players such as Michael Strahan, Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul have been the faces of the teams defensive unit and the best players the Giants had to offer on that side of the ball.
Jerry Reese has done all he can to change the look of the Giants defense this offseason.
Reese has allowed two starting defensive linemen depart this offseason, Justin Tuck and Linval Joseph, and has not replaced either in free agency. What he has done is significantly upgrade the secondary and linebacking positions. By resigning Jon Beason, who was acquired last season in a trade from the Carolina Panthers, and signing Jameel McClain from the Baltimore Ravens to solidify the linebacking ranks which have been a glaringly weak component of the Giants team in recent seasons. Beason was a huge difference maker after joining Big Blue and McClain registered 52 tackles in 10 games for the Ravens last season.
In the secondary, another area in which the Giants franchise has failed to field a strong unit in recent years, the Giants have resigned safety Stevie Brown, who has a terrific season in 2012 before an injury cost him his entire 2013 campaign, and brought in corners Walter Thurmond from the Seattle Seahawks and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie from the Denver Broncos. With Brown, Thurmond and Rodgers-Cromartie joining corner Prince Amukamara, who showed great improvement at the end of the 2013 season, and safety Antrel Rolle, the secondary is poised to be a real strength for the Giants going forward.
It has been a long time since Giants fans can say they were excited to watch their linebacking corps and secondary play, but that will be the case this year. Both units have the potential to be very effective. If Jason Pierre-Paul can approach his form from the 2011 season in which he recorded 16.5 sacks, the Giants could have a special defensive unit in 2014.
Tags: New York Giants