New York Giants find their defensive leader with Blake Martinez

Blake Martinez, Green Bay Packers. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Blake Martinez, Green Bay Packers. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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New York Giants
Blake Martinez, Green Bay Packers. Sam Darnold, New York Jets. New York Giants. (Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images) /

Blake Martinez is the middle linebacker the New York Giants desperately needed. The tackling machine is exactly the type of player who can lead Big Blue’s defense going forward.

Anyone who watched the New York Giants defense perform last season knows how awful it was. The numbers back it up as Big Blue was near the bottom of almost every significant defensive statistic. In short, the G-Men couldn’t stop the run, defend the pass, or get penetration into the opponent’s backfield.

There are many reasons why the Giants defense was so bad. A big one was their skill level. They didn’t have enough quality players. Then there was inexperience. With so many rookies and second-year players thrust into key roles, failures were bound to happen, and they did, too often. Former defensive coordinator James Betcher ran a complicated scheme that oftentimes didn’t fit the personnel he had to work with.

Finally, we come to leadership or lack thereof. After the departure of Landon Collins, Big Blue had thee veterans that should have been leaders on defense. Safety Antoine Bethea did the best he could without much support and played his guts out all season. Cornerback Janoris Jenkins set a poor example for the young guys when he blasted the defensive line to the media early in the season.

Then there was middle linebacker Alec Ogletree. One of his jobs was to set the defense according to what he saw across the line of scrimmage. Unfortunately, would-be tacklers were often out of position (including him). Of the 13 games Ogletree played in, the New York Giants allowed 375 or more yards nine times. He is now gone.

Blake Martinez is the new sheriff in town after agreeing to a three-year, $30M contract with the New York Giants on the first day of free agency. This isn’t the Jadeveon Clowney or Yannick Ngakoue signing most fans were hoping for but the former fourth-round pick (2016) from Samford University is a solid pickup for the G-Men.