X-factor #3: Markus Golden
One more NY Giant who needs to step up this week is Markus Golden. Golden is still looking to build off last year’s 10.5 sacks, becoming the team’s first linebacker to do so since the Great Lawrence Taylor.
Golden’s slow start to 2020 is more about his lack of snaps than anything else. Golden has only played a third of the defense’s snaps in one game this year, seeing 22 snaps in Week 1. He also saw 23 snaps in Week 3. His snaps dropped from 22 to 15 in Week 2 and then dropped from 23 snaps to a measly seven snaps against the Rams.
This HAS to change.
Golden is the team’s most accomplished and proven pass rusher and this dates immediately back to last year. His lack of playing time has been one of the more puzzling smaller storylines surrounding this team.
Golden was a consistent pass rusher last year and had a constant presence in opposing backfields’ for several consecutive weeks. He needs more snaps to get into a rhythm and get a better idea of the offensive linemen he’s going up against and feel out the game and see how they counter and react to his pass rush moves and combinations.
Fortunately for NY and Golden, the Cowboys’ once-vaunted offensive line is no longer the dominant, bulldozing unit it once was. The Boys come into this week banged up severely on the line, as they will be down their starting two tackles and center to start the year. All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith joined fellow tackle La’el Collins on the IR with a season-ending neck injury that will require surgery.
Markus Golden needs to feast on the opportunity given to him and be in the backfield all game long. Golden will face inexperienced, backup tackles on the edges and should have several opportunities to get home with a sack. The NY Giants better hope Markus answers the call to continue what’s been a surprisingly solid pass rush to begin the year.