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New York Giants’ Revamped Defensive Line Should Give Fans High Hopes

September 2nd, 2013 at 3:00 PM
By Jen Polashock

With the initial "final"-53 having been announced on Saturday, the New York Football Giants still have some lingering position/depth questions as week 1 of the 2013 NFL Season is almost finally upon us.

'Giants729-239' photo (c) 2013, John  Marquez - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

As of Monday afternoon, defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins, defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins, defensive tackle Linval Joseph, defensive end/linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka, defensive tackle Markus Kuhn (PUP), rookie defensive end Damontre Moore, defensive tackle Mike Patterson, defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, defensive tackle Shaun Rogers, defensive end Justin Trattou and defensive end/line leader, Justin Tuck were left on the roster to pressure at least 13 different quarterbacks this year.

In four “meaningless” preseason games, the defensive line (the aforementioned players minus JPP and Kuhn who were on PUP) accounted for 52 tackles, 24 assists and 9.5 sacks. Sure, these were tryouts for some against other players that may not make their respective teams, but that isn’t where this is going. Most of these players are returning in some capacity for the Giants (except Jenkins, Patterson and Hankins — all new) and know how defensive coordinator Perry Fewell and defensive line coach Robert Nunn want things: an improvement from last year’s maddeningly disappointing 33 total sacks as an entire defensive unit.

Along with starters Tuck, Pierre-Paul, Joseph and Jenkins, the Giants are looking to not only add true depth, but players that are situational for the pass as well as the run. As vanilla as the preseason gets, the unit showed a few vastly different looks, which weren’t on a trial basis — getting those pass-rushers on the field, but also disguising them. A major goal during the immediate offseason was to improve on stopping the run. A few of these big guys up front can (and have) done that (think Shaun Rogers). The second improvement has come in the form of gap control. Most of the first two lines of defensive players are (so far) maintaining their lanes.

Next was that previously-mentioned missing pass rush. Some of the guys fighting for a roster spot are gap-stop big-heavies that can also rush. Mike Patterson has come out swinging with 4 tackles, 5 assists and 1.5 sacks. Those stats are better than his from last year in five games with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Ernie Accorsi’s “you can never have too many pass rushers” comes to mind at this time. Justin Trattou picked up right where he left off before getting injured last season and ending up on Injured Reserve (IR). 5 solo, 3 assists and 3 sacks isn’t poor when you’re in rotation with these other hungry guys.

Earlier last week, Mathias Kiwanuka came out with a bold and confident statement about the capabilities that can come from a Giants defensive line that has seemingly endless possibilities.

“Up front, I think we have the ability to take this to the Super Bowl. We have all the ability we’ve had in years past, said Kiwanuka. “We just have to put it together…when we have all of our pass rushers on the field, teams have to make a decision on who they’re going to leave single-blocked. We always feel like that one individual who gets that single should win.”

Most of us rabid defense-loving Giants fans feel the same way, Kiwi, and expect it this season.

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Tags: Cullen Jenkins, Damontre Moore, Ernie Accorsi, Football, Jason Pierre-Paul, Johnathan Hankins, Justin Trattou, Justin Tuck, Linval Joseph, Mathias Kiwanuka, Mike Patterson, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Shaun Rogers

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48 Responses to “New York Giants’ Revamped Defensive Line Should Give Fans High Hopes”

  1.  Dirt says:

    For all the bellyaching, the Giants had the 7th ranked defense this preseason, and 4th ranked rush defense.

  2.  stuh says:

    You really can’t put much faith in what happened in pre-season. We played our 1st stringers against the Pat’s 2nd string so you can’t judge all the stats. Our D Line gives us hope for the defense.

    •  Dirt says:

      I understand and agree. I’m just saying it’s tough to support an overall conclusion that they looked like sh|t, which some/many have done

  3.  kujo says:

    Reporter: “Why clear a player when the doctor [and you] have concerns about the player?”

    Shanahan: “…you’ll just have to trust us.”

  4.  James Stoll says:

    No denying that the D-Line looks improved. One question will be whether the LBs can cover the underneath stuff well enough that QBs can’t avoid the rush with the dump offs

  5.  Sintexo says:

    Kujo, what’s the word on the FF league? I don’t see it anymore on ESPN

  6.  GOAT56 says:

    One last comment on the release of Austin. I think it happened not as much because of Rodgers and Patterson as Hankins. My major reason for keeping Austin was that as a 5th DT why keep a vet who won’t be around next year. But that was based on the assumption that Hankins who began preseason on the 2nd team would only get better. My assumption was wrong, after a good first preseason game I thought Hankins regressed. So no longer could Hankins be relied on this year and the 5th DT spot needed to reserved for him. That made it much more needed to keep the best players at DT than if the 5th DT spot was going to a vet. Basically we could only hold a roster spot for one developing DT.

    I still don’t agree with keeping Painter. His past and this preseason give me no confidence in him winning even for a few games. We can find someone better.

    Bozworth had a good camp and did enough to make the team but he’s a JAG. He makes us no better or worse. If needed we can find a LB of similar abilities sitting at home.

    I love the PS we were able to put together. I’m shocked that a team didn’t take a chance on Ojomo, in a lot of was though that validates our coaches take on him. James, Broha and Ojomo have the ability to help this year if needed. If you read TC’s comments it seemed that it came down to Trattou and Broha for the final DE spot.

    On the safeties tomorrow will be the day that we would add someone because that’s when we can short term IR Brown. I don’t know if that’s what we will do but it would make sense.

    I think too much was made about the preseason games. The injuries to the Browns hurt but it looks that everyone else except Bass will play against Dallas. Our rookie class looks very talented and will contribute from day 1.

    •  fanfor55years says:

      GOAT, you have to get used to admitting error. Hankins was never thought by most as “ready to play” at a position that rarely fails to confuse rookies. Maybe you thought otherwise but as I recall you were always banging the dum that it made more sense to keep someone with a few contract years left than a veteran on a one-year deal. You never understood that TC was fiercely committed to stopping the run and that both Rogers and Pattersin are superbly-equipped to do so.

      You make some fine posts but you have to acknowledge the number if times you’ve been dead wrong. You, as well as others, will learn from that.

  7.  fanfor55years says:

    I hear this dump-off threat and how our LBers will get shredded. But I wonder if everyone assumes that Fewell is so stupid as to refuse to make adjustments in the drops. If the defensive front puts consistent pressure on the QB and he can’t hold the ball at all then at least one safety and the linebackers will get into the box and hold dump offs to short gains. Very hard to march down the field in 3-6 yard chunks and make no mistakes along the way.

  8.  Krow says:

    I got high on the defensive line, but a couple tokes off our linebacking corps sobered me right up.

  9.  Krow says:

    And sign me up as one of the guys who thought we looked like crap this pre-season.

    * insert standard pre-season disclaimer here *

  10.  GOAT56 says:

    I think Jawanza Starling signed to our PS because there’s opportunity to possibly be moved to the 53 man roster this year. I think that’s why Frederick didn’t sign here. With 6 CBs on the roster plus James on PS too Cleveland is simply a better bet.

    But that makes me wonder more about Ojomo. I would think our PS wouldn’t be as appealing as another team’s because we are deep at DE. So did he really have no other options even for PS? Also, I would think he’s frustrated not getting opportunities here.

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