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New York Giants’ Cover 2 Defense Has Become the “Cover Who” Defense

October 6th, 2012 at 6:30 AM
By Jen Polashock

Recent babble about the New York Giants defense has been about the front four or injuries. What about the overloaded strength they had going into training camp – the linebacker corps and the secondary?

Unfortunately, much of the pressure and accountability is (and looks to remain) on the secondary. Cover 2 defense is the New York Giants’ base D, sort of. The two safeties are primarily responsible for the two deep zones, but with Perry Fewell, S Antrel Rolle is legitimately all over the place (when he’s not playing nickel). The idea behind the Cover 2 (Tampa-2) is to diminish need for defenders back deep to stop the long pass threat – leaving more of them there to play closer to the line of scrimmage. This provides faster run support and help with the short/dump-off passes and timed routes. However, this is what the Giants are getting punched in the mouth with, consequently letting them get burned on the deep pass.

The Giants’ linebackers are the athletic type and, for the most part, can get to the sidelines – what’s needed in a Cover D. The need to be more physical and smart and read the quarterback (and consequently adjust) isn’t where it needs to be – especially when the Giants are in nickel. The pickup and supplementary injury of LB Keith Rivers is definitely missed out there. Michael Boley cannot do it all. The defense isn’t confusing anyone – maybe themselves at times. And what happened to the physical corners that used to jam up the release of wideouts on the line? Anyone see that in the first four games (even when the replacement refs were “in”)?

Yeah, by playing a Zone D, the possibilities of letting a few big plays are almost guaranteed. There is much field to be covered by 1-2 players (depending on scheme called) and what the opposing offense has lined up on their side. The weak edges are what are killing the New York Football Giants. Those "soft" spots of the cover scheme are more lax than they should be and the front threats are being nullified. Have opposing coordinators figured a way to beat the Giants’ defense? Hell no. It’s an issue on the Big Blue end again.

Injuries (as much as we hate to use them as the culpable party) are coming in yet again to be a serious influence. Schemes are another (sure Perry Fewell knows so), but the players themselves are what is left at the end of the day (as ‘Trel would say) to pick up the necessary slack. In a very young 2012 season, they need to dig deep for an "all in" speech and figure out what their each individual problem is (almost each one has one that can be listed) and repair it. The longer these concerns drag out, the more stress gets thrust upon an already-ailing offense to play catch up. Sure doesn’t sound like a team that’s building a bridge from the end of last season, but instead a conduit from an exasperating 2011 mid-season…

Photo Credit: Mike Gannon

Also…

Tags: Antrel Rolle, Football, Keith Rivers, Michael Boley, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Perry Fewell

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