Much is being placed in a derogatory light about the defensive backfield of the New York Football Giants. They did rank 28th in the league with 254.3 yards allowed/game passing in 2012. Part of that group, however, amassed 10 of the 21 total interceptions. The safeties (Antrel Rolle, 2 and Stevie Brown, 8) led the way in takeovers. The corners were second with six defensive grabs and the linebackers with four, defensive linemen with one.
There is always room for improvement and that’s the Tom Coughlin philosophy. The question is how will leader Antrel Rolle get his DBs ready to develop into their full potential? No doubt, fourth-year Michigan product Stevie Brown had an incredible year that he should readily be able to expound upon with #26 by his side. A few more players flashed last year (while they were on the field) and at that valuable nickel position, besides Brown.
Second year kids, safety Will Hill and corner Jayron Hosley (even though listed as a CB, not DB) made some plays as the third safety in limited roles as neither played a full season. Hill missed four games due to being suspended for four games for violating the NFL’s policy on PEDs (performance-enhancing drugs). Hosley also missed four games due to injury: ankle and hamstring. Will either remain in (and out) of the nickel position or will someone new come in and assume that role (or even that of the dime spot)? Hosley may very well stay at corner for depth. Speculation is abounding for him as well as returning fan favorite Terrell Thomas. Who shall roam? Long-shot call from this vantage point is for Jersey’s own Will Hill to seize an opportunity that he refused to let pass him by a mere year ago. Time for that growth and improvement.
Perhaps a newly-acquired safety will take that place. Former Pittsburgh Steeler, and fifth-year player Ryan Mundy was signed in March, but his days were more of a depth player and practice squad guy. Hybrid and possible upcoming sensation Cooper Taylor was drafted in April. His on-field play may come at the birth of some new schemes for defensive coordinator Perry Fewell, and not necessarily at nickel or dime. Tyler Sash (who is oddly listed on Giants.com as a DB, not safety) is another guy who has yet to come in and be all his Iowa-based football skills once were. His career NFL stats are just 25 tackles and one forced fumble. As we have discussed here a few months ago, Sash may find himself to be a bubble player entering training camp — right along with rookie Alonzo Tweedy and three others listed as “DB” on the Giants roster: David Caldwell, Mertile Junior, and Laron Scott.
As training camp officially opens in about a month, the competitions will definitely become fiercer. The defensive backfield is one that lights up camp with energy and friendly banter, but they challenge each other — much like former linebacker-turned safeties coach David Merritt challenges them. Look for the loudest guy (in a floppy hat) on the practice fields at Timex Performance Center and you will see an area of excitement around the constant competition.
DBs on three…
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