New York Giants defensive end and captain Justin Tuck is making a pretty bold prediction, but very confident statement about the current defense, as he feels that not only is it improved from a year ago, but he feels that it could be the best in the league, as he told Zack Braziller of the New York Post on Thursday.
“The ceiling is the No. 1 defense,” he said after practice on Thursday, perhaps forgetting the Giants were 31st in defense a year ago. “That has to be in your thought process. We have the talent to do it. I don’t think anybody in that defensive meeting room can allow themselves to think that we can’t do that.”
Last season, the Giants finished 31st in the league due to allowing too many points late in the season, plus their inability to generate a pass rush and inability to stop the run; a major reason why they finished 9-7 and out of the postseason the year after winning Super Bowl XLVI.
Giants general manager Jerry Reese knows his defense struggled, which is why he took it upon himself to make drastic changes; which saw Cullen Jenkins replace Chris Canty, drafting Johnathan Hankins, Damontre Moore and Cooper Taylor, and signing Aaron Curry and Dan Connor to the linebacker unit; all moves that could be pivotal to a defense in need of a boost.
The defense has seen its bumps, bruises and share of injuries; as Jason Pierre-Paul is recovering from back surgery, but could be back before Week 1, Corey Webster has been bothered by an MCL strain and a groin injury and Tuck himself has dealt with back tightness and a hamstring issue, but has been able to practice and play in the preseason.
Part of the reason why Tuck has made such a bold statement is due to the new faces he sees on the Giants like Moore, Hankins and Jenkins; players that he will line up aside of on the defensive line and look to create havoc with in 2013.
“I’m looking at some of the guys we picked up and the new faces in the draft and free agency, we have a chance to do something special this year,” Tuck said. “I’m excited about it.”
The Giants defense will be put to the test this Saturday night when they take on the New York Jets and rookie quarterback Geno Smith, who is looking to win the starting job over Mark Sanchez and will be making his first ever NFL start.
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