After some recent speculation about Buffalo Bills linebacker Paul Posluszny and his chances of joining the New York Giants, another name has surfaced: Stephen Tulloch.
Tulloch had not really been on the minds of Giants fans as he seems to be a sure bet to return to the Tennessee Titans.
ESPN’s Dan Graziano says otherwise.
Likely out in Tennessee because they fear he’ll cost too much to keep, the 26-year-old Tulloch is the cream of this particular crop. He’s a bit small, but he has great range and has shown the ability to handle the middle linebacker’s responsibilities for the Titans. Lots of people expect former Titans defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, now the Lions’ head coach, to be Tulloch’s most aggressive pursuer as he continues to build a monster defense in Detroit.
If money is an issue for Tulloch in Tennessee, it will certainly be an issue for the Giants if they are interested in acquiring his services. The Giants are $11 million over the projected $120 million cap for the 2011 season, meaning that players will have to be cut and have deals re- structured in order for the team to give themselves enough room to sign free agents.
If I were Jerry Reese, Tulloch would be on the top of my to do list. The five year veteran linebacker out of North Carolina State racked up 160 tackles this past season to go along with one interception. He was a constant factor in the middle of a relatively weak Titans defense in 2010. Tulluch is the the of player who won’t make flashy plays but is the ideal signal caller and leader for a given defense. It doesn’t hurt that he has an incredible sense for getting to the football.
Tulloch is used to playing in a zone scheme which would help his transition from Tennessee to New York. His coverage skill (despite only one interception) are very strong and he provides the type of rage that the Giants need at linebacker.
Perhaps Tulloch will come with a price tag attached to him, but it is time for Jerry Reese to make some sacrifices and upgrade the second level of his defense.
In 2007 the team sported its strongest linebacker corps of the decade which featured Kawika Mitchell and Antonio Pierce. With those two players, the second level of the Giants defense was reliable ad it complimented the pass rush en route to a world championship.
The team should strongly consider the benefits of upgrading the linebackers, even at a cost as they head into the 2011 season.
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