New York Giants’ outside-linebacker Markus Golden has gotten off to a hot start in 2019 after many thought he had nothing left.
There was a (small) portion of the sports media that felt Markus Golden would have a career resurgence after being reunited with defensive coordinator James Bettcher this off-season; those people are beginning to feel good about that prediction, as Golden finally began to look like his old self again in Big Blue’s dramatic win in Tampa Bay.
The former double-digit sack artist was apparently longing to get back to the coach that he had his best year (by far) under in 2016, as Golden inked a team-friendly deal with the Giants this past March. His faith in Bettcher (something many are currently lacking) has paid major dividends for himself – and the team- early on in 2019.
Golden enjoyed what was easily his best performance in any game since that terrific 2016 campaign, picking up two sacks, two tackles-for-loss and four quarterback hits — the Giants needed every bit of it. Looking back at my pre-season notes, Golden jumped off the screen to me a number of times. I was hesitant to put too much behind it – as it was only pre-season – but it was worth noting for me at the time, and Golden has looked even-better during the games that count.
Still just 28-years-old, many had wondered whether or not the pass-rusher was done after a torn ACL in 2017 seemed to have a major effect on him. What it seems like now, though, was that Bettcher leaving the Cardinals’ coaching staff in 2018 may have had more of an effect on him than anything else. Golden has already surpassed his 2018 sack total with three so far (2.5 in ’18), and is on (an early) pace to top his career high of 12.5 in that ’16 season.
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The former Missouri Tiger superstar has gotten his pressure in a variety of different ways and is athletic enough to give even the best offensive tackles fits. Like was saw on the Bills’ first passing attempt in week two, he is able to simply run right around a lineman with ease. We also saw more than a few bull-rushes last week against Tampa, as Golden’s elite hand talent shined through during his big game.
While many expected Lorenzo Carter to lead the charge in terms of quarterback pressure, after seeing what it was like to have no one lead that charge in Dallas, Giant fans will be just fine with Golden being that guy. Golden only signed a one-year, 3.75-million dollar contract (with a little extra possible with incentives) in what had to sting for him – he and his agent had to expect a mega-contract in the near future after that 2016 year. If he keeps up the pace, he just may get back most, if not all, of the money that the 2017 injury has seemed to cost him.
If we can draw anything from Golden’s decision to choose the Giants (there were numerous other teams after him) as his 2019 team, it’s that he seems to be a loyal person. Hopefully, the edge-rusher will give the Giants the first crack at him in the off-season, as the two seem to need each-other moving forward.
For now, it’s just refreshing to have a player that can get off the line quickly, and powerfully, while making life miserable for opposing quarterbacks. It’s something we didn’t know that we’d see after that pathetic team performance in week one.