New York Giants Defense Still Projected To Be Second Worst In The NFL In 2016
By Neal Lynch
Vincent Frank of Sportsnaut projected the 10 worst defenses in the NFL for the 2016 season and somehow the revamped New York Giants D was ranked second.
Not sure if Vincent is trolling but how can anyone think the 2016 Giants defense that now includes three of the league’s highest rated free agents in Olivier Vernon, Janoris Jenkins, and Damon Harrison be only one notch above where the lowly 2015 Giants unit was? Jealousy? Spite? Envy? Delusion?
Big Blue was also without Jason Pierre-Paul for half the 2015 season then got a significantly diminished JPP upon his return. The buzz around Pierre-Paul so far this year is he’s looking real good, better than he did with two fully intact hands.
Another Giants stalwart, Johnathan Hankins, missed a good portion of 2015 (seven games) with an injury. He’s back at 100%. Devon Kennard is looking to have a bounce-back year, as is J.T. Thomas, who were hampered by injuries. And, third round draft pick from Boise State, Darian Thompson, is emerging as the favorite to win the free safety position, allowing Landon Collins to do what he does best at strong safety. Collins admitted he was lost last season, yet still led the team in tackles with 112 en route to earning All-Rookie team honors.
With the First Pick
But, even with all the positivity and hype surrounding this “evolved” defense, Mr. Frank is shorting that side of the ball. Let’s see why…
"“Adding corner Janoris Jenkins, defensive end Olivier Vernon and defensive tackle Damon Harrison to the mix on huge free-agent contracts surely can’t hurt New York here. These were areas of utmost need for a horrendous defense a season ago. Though, it really does remain to be seen whether any of these three are the impact players the Giants signed them to be.”"
Hell, if Jenkins can stay healthy for more than 10 games, he’s already done more than Prince Amukamara. That’s got to be worth a bump up in the rankings right there. As for Harrison, he’s leaps and bounds above Cullen Jenkins and Markus Kuhn. At the very least, that’s another rung on the ladder in the rankings.
"“Courtesy of Kyle Terada, USA Today Sports, The primary question here is about Jenkins’ ability to actually act as a shut-down guy on the outside. Remember, the Rams needed to throw over the top coverage his way on a consistent basis last season.”"
Jenkins is the wild card of the highly publicized free agent trio. His signing was considered a huge gamble, even moreso than Olivier Vernon, and one of the worst moves of the offseason. His baby mama is seeking an increase in child support. Recently, he was spotted in the video of Geremy Davis making an incredible one-handed touchdown catch. Though, Jenkins hasn’t been making a ton of positive headlines for his on-the-field actions, he has impressed those who’ve been watching.
"“More than that, the Giants did very little to upgrade what has been a disastrous linebacker group.“Following the retirement of Jon Beason, there’s a whole bunch not to like here. Devon Kennard and Mark Herzlich will be competing for the strong-side linebacker job. J.T. Thomas and Jonathan Casillas will be competing for the weak-side spot.”“None of these names strike us as being able to be difference makers as starters moving forward. The same can be said about Jasper Brinkley and Keenan Robinson in the middle.”"
Disastrous is a strong adjective to describe Big Blue’s linebackers, but not that far off. Most Giants fans long for the days of the Crunch Bunch and the ‘backers of the mid-to-late ’80s. This group isn’t anywhere close to that crew, however, the severe criticism appears to have bred solidarity and competition.
Brinkley sees the difference. Most of the news around Keenan Robinson suggests he’s poised to become a factor. Then there’s fourth round draft pick B.J. Goodson, who should bring a physicality that’s been missing from the lineup for some time. Will there be any Pro Bowlers or All-Pros? Probably not, but the added depth allows defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo more options. He can get creative and call schemes that cater to a wide variety of looks and strengths. Spags didn’t have that luxury last year.
"“Not as bad as the Saints were last season, this is still a unit that ranked dead last against the pass and in total defense. Simply put, the Giants haven’t upgraded this defense enough for the team to have confidence in wholesale improvements.”"
So, instead of being dead last like they were in 2015, the Giants will be next to dead last in 2016? If I had to project, I’d say the Giants defense will have some issues in the first quarter to first half of the season. With so many new faces, it will take some time to formulate chemistry and gelling. While Big Blue’s D will be middle of the pack early on, they’ll finish in the top 5-10 in the league, helping New York reach the playoffs for the first time in five years.
Next: Top 10 Giants Defenses Since 1986
One thing’s for sure, the New York Giants 2016 defense will not lose the team ANY games. That’s worth a minimum of +5 in the rankings from 2015.