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New York Giants Pass Rush Looks to Come Alive for a Playoff Push

December 21st, 2012 at 5:26 PM
By Paul Tierney

'Jason Pierre-Paul' photo (c) 2012, Mike Morbeck - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ The New York Giants have the opportunity to win 10 games this season a squeak into the playoffs as a Wild Card. However, that doesn't hide the fact that there are several players on the roster not playing up to their full potential. It begins with Eli Manning, who is the unquestionable leader of this football team. However, the pass rush has been relatively ineffective this season as well.

The Giants defense is built upon getting to the quarterback without blitzing. That's how Big Blue was able to storm through the playoffs in both 2007 and 2011. However, this season, the Giants have only gotten 15.5 sacks from the supposedly dominant defensive end trio of Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora. That's 15 less than a year ago, and the Giants' secondary has been exposed because of it. Tuck does not believe that the Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh should fear the Giants pass rush on Sunday.

“He shouldn’t,” Tuck said. “Not at all. There’s been years here it should have been feared. But this year, we haven’t had that year.”

There are reasons for the Giants inability to get to the quarterback. First off, Tuck is no longer a dominant pass rusher. He struggles creating separation between him and his opposing offensive linemen after initial contact. Umenyiora is purely a speed rusher who can be neutralized with an athletic offensive tackle, while Pierre-Paul has been routinely doubled and chipped at the line of scrimmage this season. Furthermore, quarterbacks have been throwing shorter, quicker passes to put more pressure on the Giants secondary to make plays as opposed to the speed rushers.

However, the Giants must find a way to get their pass rush going if they want to have a chance to beat the truly elite football teams in the league. We've seen this team come out and sack Aaron Rodgers five times, and then fail to get any consistent pressure on Matt Ryan last weekend. Defensive coordinator Perry Fewel believes that the defensive line has been frustrated with how teams have been countering the Giants pass rush this season.

“I do believe this about them,” Fewell said. “They’re a proud unit. I think they will have success in the next couple of weeks. And I think you’ll see their numbers go up [...] I think they’re frustrated a little bit mentally because of how [opponents] are taking their approach against them. I think it weighs heavily on them because they are a very proud defensive unit.”

Fewell is an optimist. If the Giants make the playoffs, they are only going to play the best of the best for the remainder of their 2012 campaign. It's not easy to suddenly come alive against the fiercest competition the league has to offer. But there is no doubting that this unit has talent. These are the Giants we are talking about, and if history has shown us anything, it's that this team will come to play in when their backs are to the wall. The emergence of a consistent pass rush must be part of that equation.

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Tags: Aaron Rodgers, Baltimore Ravens, Eli Manning, Football, Jason Pierre-Paul, John Harbaugh, Justin Tuck, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Osi Umenyiora

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6 Responses to “New York Giants Pass Rush Looks to Come Alive for a Playoff Push”

  1.  Dirt says:

    So Justin Tuck is questionable and likely to miss his 15th straight game of the season?

  2.  Dirt says:

    This probably won’t be taken seriously given my history here, but I think Osi has been playing better than any of the other big name linemen. He’s the only guy I see consistently getting past his guy and at least forcing the QB off his spot. The others are just getting swallowed up by their blockers.

    •  jfunk says:

      True that, although one could argue that JPP is at least occupying multiple blockers with regularity.

      Either way, the sad part is that “making the QB take a step” or “occupying a couple blockers” have become positive plays of note for our defensive ends.

    •  G-MenFan says:

      I agree with your observation (because I share it). Osi has been playing with energy for 4 quarters. His weakness is setting the edge but we know that about his game. All any fan asks for from the players is to play hard and to my eyes, Osi has done that. And I haven’t always been the greatest Osi fan over the past few years.

  3.  Dirt says:

    I think the true issue with this defense is the middle. The DTs and Blackburn. They can’t stop the run. So they have to commit extra guys from the secondary to help. Which means the corners have to play off. Which means the QB can get rid of the ball whenever he wants.

    •  nick86 says:

      We cant stop the run…. that starts with the seven guys upfront. Also includes guys like Antrell and KP, they need to make their run fits as well.

      I would say most of this teams issues vs the pass has been mental mistakes that have led to huge plays and guys not being on the same page dropping into coverage.

      We’ve seen recievers released a yard or two early by our underneath defenders , which in turn leads to receptions

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