Giants must plan on fixing their pass defense.
In attempting to make sense of why Coughlin’s Giants finish poorly, Football Outsiders’ Bill Barnwell concluded: The one factor that stands out, though, is pass defense. Under Coughlin, according to Barnwell’s number crunching, the Giants pass defense founders in second half of seasons. Barnwell notes the following: The Giants’ average rank in pass defense DVOA during the first half of the season is sixth; during the second half, it’s 20th. This year, they went from first in the league to tenth, with that 45-17 loss to the Packers in Week 16 contributing mightily. If Barnwell’s analysis is correct, what do the Giants need to do to improve in this area? In order for us to answer this question, let us go back to an article written three years ago by Thomas George. In this nfl.com article, here was the Giants defensive recipe for success: The Giants’ defensive plan starts with scoring defense.(Keep in mind: the Giants did not have a defensive touchdown in 2010) It has a premium on rushing the passer and stopping the run. It focuses on athleticism more than on brute force in its line play. It is based heavily on assignment, alignment and tackling. It wants to create confusion, chaos. Attack. Bump-and-run coverage, linebackers bullying downhill. Re-route receivers. Blitz from every angle. Hit the quarterback. Hit him some more. An evolving, layered defense. One with sharp detail. One where the best competition and challenge comes first from within the unit. Over the last few years, the Giants pass defense has struggled. When the Giants lost to the Eagles in the 2008 NFC Divisional playoff, we were told the reason for the Giants breakdown on defense: the defensive line wore down. Because injuries ravaged the defensive line, the Giants did not get enough pressure on a passer. Despite adding free agents Chris Canty and Rocky Bernard in 2009, the Giants still had problems on defense. In 2009, the Giants secondary especially the safety position was an Achilles heel. With opposing teams shredding our secondary, the Giants signed safety Antrel Rolle to bolster a beleaguered safety unit. Even with all these changes over the years, the Giants pass defense has been exploited by savvy quarterbacks. Since the head coach and defensive coordinator are here to stay, Giants management should heed the words of LT. Fuming after the Giants crumbled against the Panthers at the last game played at Giants Stadium, Lawrence Taylor’s panacea for the Giants defense is “Linebackers.”
“When I first got here in ’81,” LT said, “the Giants had a tradition of linebackers who hit you. That’s going back to the old days, Sam Huff and those guys. When the Giants have been good, they’ve had those linebackers. It is long over due, through the draft, the Giants have to use their first round selection on a linebacker.