The New York Giants defense had an up and down year in 2014. Actually that’s putting it lightly, as in reality it was much closer to a “down and down” year for the unit. Whether it was due to injuries, a lack of talent, or a combo of the two, the Giants defense went through some rough times in 2015; Perry Fewell’s group struggled greatly this last season. Perry himself seems to have pulled a “Harry Houdini” in managing not to get fired. That’s a discussion for another time.
From a purely statistical standpoint in 2014, the Giants ranked 29th in total defense, 30th in run defense, and 18th in pass defense. For the Giants, an organization that prides itself on championship caliber defense, some would even say a franchise founded on great defense, this is not acceptable.
Dec 14, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin (left) and defensive coordinator Perry Fewell (right) coach against the Washington Redskins during the second quarter of a game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
The Giants won their last two… check that all… their Super Bowls in part to the great play by their defenses. In order to get back to winning and playing like this organization expects, like Tisch and Mara command, like you, the fans command, New York’s defense must greatly improve come 2015.
Many of the group’s key players on defense, such as Jason Pierre-Paul, Antrel Rolle, Stevie Brown, amongst others, may or may not be back with the team for the 2015 season. Question then becomes who will replace such players, and if they stay how will the Jerry Reese structure their respected contracts.
In May the Giants will have a chance to use their ninth overall draft pick to ideally pick someone who will help improve the unit next season. I personally believe it to be likely that Reese will take a defensive player at pick nine. However, we will have to wait and see. If a player like Missouri’s Shane Ray is drafted by Reese it would most certainly help improve the Giants ever shaky defensive line.
Looking at the big picture, the Giants defense has many weaknesses; still perhaps, none is in more urgent need of a revamp than the team’s defensive line. For whatever reason, in recent years the Giants as an organization haven’t always appeared to value having high paid/high profile linebackers.
Using this strategy, New York has still managed to have some success finding solid linebackers. Due to this I doubt improving the linebacking core will be a point of interest for Reese this off-season, at least not one at the top of his list.
As a team, I believe the Giants show great promise for the future. On offense (as touched on in previous articles) I see the Giants as a potential juggernaut in 2015, making the importance of improving the defense that much more significant for New York.
Honestly with a revamped defense, I could see the Giants right back in the playoffs next year. Yes, there is a lot of work to be done; even still I would not be shocked if Reese has this group once again playing “Giants football” in 2015.