It has been reported that Terrell Thomas is done for the season. It is officially time to panic. (ok, panic may be a bit strong. definitely worry though) As I stated in an earlier post, the secondary depth was by far my biggest concern with the defense heading into the regular season. Losing our top corner does not alleviate any of those concerns. With the loss, Ross gets bumped up to starting corner, and Deon Grant will most likely take over the nickel roles. So with seemingly no depth at corner and less than three weeks till the first regular season game, what do the New York Giants do?
Hope Perry Fewell proves himself as the mastermind defensive coordinator he hopes the owners and GMs with head coaching questions believe he is.
Back when Steve Spagnuolo was defensive coordinator of the Giants, the safety situation was less than ideal. In 2007 the starters were Gibril Wilson and James Butler. In 2008 Gibril Wilson left to sign a big contract with the Raiders and James Butler and Michael Johnson became the starters. An injury to James Butler left Craig Dahl and Michael Johnson as the starting safeties. Johnson was a second year player who was a seventh round draft pick, and Craig Dahl was a rookie undrafted free agent.
Since their time with the Giants several have failed to show they are worthy of a starting spot. Wilson was cut by the Raiders and signed by the Dolphins, who later cut him and he signed with the Bengals. Butler signed with the Rams, but has lost his starting spot and was rumored to be in line to be released. Michael Johnson played terribly for the Giants in 2009 alongside CC Brown and was released this past offseason. He signed with the Lions and isn’t expected to win a starting spot. Craig Dahl is the only one of those guys still starting as he followed Spags to St. Louis. My point is that these players have proven that they are below average NFL players; however, while they were with the Giants they were never exposed as a weak spot. If Spags could do it with arguably the worst starting safeties in the NFL, then Fewell should find a way to make it work with Corey Webster and Aaron Ross at corner.
Clearly the problem right now is not the lack of talent at starter, it is with the depth. For starters, as stated earlier, having Grant fill in during nickel situations will be helpful. Secondly, Prince Amukamara’s injury won’t keep him sidelined all season. Finally, there are still free agents available. Clearly no one special, but still players that could play as your third corner and sixth defensive back in dime packages. Those names include Kelvin Hayden, Randall Gay, Ellis Hobbs, Lito Sheppard, and Brian Williams. Honestly, I would consider signing two of them. (whenever the Giants have injury problems like this, it tends to keep happening to that position. Think wide receiver and offensive line last season, defensive line in 2006, and linebackers in 2005)
With these moves or without these moves, the job will ultimately be up to Fewell. If I’m Fewell I look at this as an opportunity to showcase my talent. Like Spags did when he was defensive coordintor, Fewell will have to devise plays that either mask coverage, or create pressure on the quarterback. Simply put, if you believe Perry Fewell is a great defensive coordinator there should be nothing to worry about. This is his job. It’s not like defensive coordinators should expect to receive a defense with no holes in it. The Giants still have playmakers all over the field.
To me the question is not: Do the Giants have enough talent to win? It’s: How good of a coordinator is Perry Fewell?
Tags: Brian Williams Craig Dahl Ellis Hobbs Gibril Wilson James Butler Kelvin Hayden Lito Sheppard Michael Johnson New York Giants Perry Fewell Prince Amukamara Randall Gay Steve Spagnuolo Terrell Thomas