Defensive Tackle

The Giants run defense needs to be fixed.  In 2010, they need better play from the defensive tackle position. 

At the Scouting Combine, head coach Tom Coughlin exclaimed,  “Certainly it is a concern, no doubt, ” Coughlin said of his defense. “We do have to solve some problems.”  One of the major problems to solve is the run defense. Last year, the Giants run defense allowed 110.8 yards per game which placed them 14th in the NFL.  Placing 14th in the NFL against the rush is unacceptable for a team which prides itself on its defense. In fact, last year, exasperated head coach Coughlin had to make changes to his defensive line because starters Osi Umenyiora and Fred Robbins were not getting the job done. At the time, Coughlin described the ineptness against the run as a team breakdown. They did not have defensive linemen especially defensive tackles who were able to stuff the run. In order for the Giants to get things corrected in 2010, they need defensive tackles who can help improve their run defense.

On Saturday at the Scouting Combine, Giants GM Jerry Reese addressed the defensive tackle position.  Reese is counting on Chris Canty being an integral part of this defense.  Here is Reese on Canty: “He was injured most of the season. Obviously, we expected more, but he was injured most of the season and we’re hoping he can get healthy, come in, be a starter for us and contribute in a big way in our front.”

What about the other defensive tackles?

Reese on Jay Alford: “Jay is an inside pass rusher. He’s one of those guys that can penetrate up front. The say he’s on schedule to come back and we expect him to be 100 percent going int training camp. It’s unfortunate. He had a great summer last summer and we were expecting big things from him. And then, he had the injury. We expect him to come back. He’s a hard worker and if anybody can come back from that injury, it’s him.”

DT Barry Cofield received a second round tender which means he will most likely return.

Fred Robbins’current contract expired. Without a contract, it looks like Robbins will not be retained.

2009 free agent acquisition Rocky Bernard was a major disappointment. Recall, he reported to camp injured and now the Giants informed us he had offseason surgery. Because of his injuries and unremarkable play, Bernard will most likely not be wearing blue in 2010.

Therefore, this leaves the Giants with three defensive tackles-Canty, Cofield, and Alford. What will the Giants do to add depth to this position? Will they draft a defensive tackle?

Based on Reese’s recent trend of signing free agent defensive tackles, the Giants will not use the draft. Why? As ESPN’s Len Pasquarelli writes,the defensive tackle position remains among the hardest to fill, and most difficult to handicap.  Furthermore, former head coach and now ESPN analyst Herm Edwards has said the following about defensive tackles. “It’s probably the position where teams make the most mistakes.” “A tackle can be the most dominating player on the field and, because there are usually so few of them, people will go out and ‘reach’ to try to get one. You always seem to be projecting with tackles, you know, maybe more than any position. It’s like, ‘OK’, I know he can’t do this, this or this, but he has some upside and he’ll grow into the position. But there are sure a lot of misses at the position, especially in the first round.”  Remember in 2003, the Giants made a grave mistake by selecting DT William Joseph. Unfortunately, for the Giants, Joseph turned out to be a bust.

In order to fill a need at a position, Reese intimated he would use free agency. “I think there are some holes we need to fill defensively,” Are there some guys on the roster? I hope there are, but we’re still going to try to go out and fill some spots.” Look for Reese to target a defensive tackle via free agency. A restricted free agent who has caught my eye is Titans defensive tackle Tony Brown.  Sports Illustrated’s Peter King shared this about Brown. “He’s what so many coaches look for in that he not only can play some of that three-technique defensive tackle in getting to the quarterback, but he also stands up well against the run.” Clearly, this is the type of player which would help improve the Giants defense. Let us hope Reese adds Brown to the Giants roster.