New York Giants legend Carl Banks breaks down the 2018 team
By Henry Buggy
While the new-look linebacking corps is showing promise under Bettcher, Big Blue’s secondary has plenty of questions both at cornerback and safety. When asked if he had any concerns regarding the secondary, Banks gave an in-depth response.
"“Sure, you have one guy who’s a proven pro. I’m confident that he’ll bounce back, Janoris Jenkins. Another corner (Eli Apple) that has all the athleticism in the world. He had a good start to his career, and it was interrupted last year. So he’s basically back into his second year as a pro. Will he be a good pro? I am very hopeful. I think he can be something special, meaning Eli Apple. You know his attitude is really the only thing that was holding back his progress. It seems like that is all in the right directions now. I think he is going to make a contribution, but then after that who do you have? Listen, if a team lines up with three or four wide receivers, you’ve not only got to look at your cornerback depth but you’ve got to look at your safety depth too.” “That’s another area of the defensive backfield that you can’t really feel that comfortable with is your safety position. (Darian) Thompson played last year. You’re hoping he makes the leap that Landon Collins made from one year to the next. It was a tough year for Thompson last year. He didn’t tackle particularly well. He’s very athletic, but you could tell that he hadn’t caught up with the speed of the game yet last year coming off that foot injury. Hopefully, seeing him making the mistakes, similarly to what Landon Collins did, he can come back a completely different safety.”"
The Giants have been rotating four different starting free safeties alongside Collins in practice. Curtis Riley is currently listed as the starter on the team’s unofficial depth chart. Thompson is No. 2.
Improved play at the back end of the defense and the offensive line are the two things Banks is looking forward to watching this preseason.
"“I want to see progress from the offensive line. I want to see the safety position for the Giants and see if that gets solidified. Not just based on interceptions but the way these players are fitting around the football. Those are the two areas I want to see. The cornerback position, hopefully they discover a third or fourth corner, and if he’s not there, the Giants are No. 2 on the waiver list. They’ve got to figure it out before the season starts, but I’m sure they will.”"
Banks is also looking forward to watching punter Riley Dixon in his first action as a New York Giant. Special teams play will have a significant impact on whether Big Blue is able to turn it around in 2018.