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
Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers. Blake Martinez, Green Bay Packers. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

Not all rose petals

Let’s not get blinded by the shiny tackle numbers and dig a little deeper because numbers can be misleading sometimes. Remember, even if the ball carrier breaks a tackle and a teammate immediately takes him down, the original defender still gets some credit for the tackle as well.

Make no mistake about it, while Martinez will help improve the run defense but he will be a liability in coverage, similar to Ogletree. Over the past two seasons when dropping back into coverage, Martinez was targeted by opposing quarterbacks 135 times, they completed 107 of those attempts (a staggering 79.3%) for 980 yards, seven touchdowns, and a 110.5 passer rating.

Back in November, Bob McGinn of The Athletic (subscription required) gives his own assessment of Martinez following a 26-11 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers:

"He gets people down, but not where a good defense needs them down. For example, Martinez was unblocked and in the hole on third and 1 to meet Gordon, who slammed through him for a 4-yard gain. On Ekeler’s long run of 16, C Scott Quessenberry shoved Martinez off the play by 10 yards. In coverage, his play is equally ineffectual. He drifts, he’s a limited athlete and he’s slow. Maybe the coaches think command of the defense makes him untouchable."

Hopefully, Ryan Connelly is healthy to start the 2020 season and he can play in the middle alongside Martinez, to make up for the veteran’s coverage woes. The G-Men witnessed a small sample of what Connelly can bring to the defense last year, especially in pass coverage. Granted he only played three-and-a-half games his rookie year, but opposing quarterbacks were held to a 22.6 passer rating, an underwhelming 57.1 completion percentage not to mention two interceptions when targeting Connelly.

David Mayo also showed improvement in pass coverage last year. After surrendering a catastrophic 158.3 passer rating to opposing quarterbacks while playing for the Panthers in 2018, Mayo was able to limit quarterbacks to just 181 yards, 65.5 completion percentage, and an 82.7 passer rating on 29 targets.

So Big Blue has the personnel that will make it possible for Martinez to do what he does best.