NY Giants need to get young players on the field at 3 position groups

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) /
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T.J. Brunson #35 of the New York Giants. (Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images)
T.J. Brunson #35 of the New York Giants. (Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images) /

NY  Giants Linebackers

Find more snaps for: TJ Brunson, Cam Brown, and Carter Coughlin

The NY Giants’ linebacker unit has looked different almost every week. The group has dealt with injuries, bad play, and a lot of guys who haven’t got the job done off the edge or at the MIKE.

First off, the EDGE rushers didn’t make the jump many excepted in 2020. The returning trio of Lorenzo Carter, Oshane Ximines, and Markus Golden never worked out after injuries to Carter and Ximines along with Golden’s snaps being heavily reduced. Currently, both Carter and X-Man are still on short-term IR and Markus Golden was traded to Arizona to rejoin his former team this week.

The Giants have gotten excellent results from Kyler Fackrell in the pass rush and playmaking unit, but he need help off the edge. Enter the intriguing rookie, T.J. Brunson.

Brunson has yet to make an impact on defense for NY this year, but he showed his range and speed last week on special teams while covering a kickoff and making a nice tackle. They should look to insert Brunson into the defense and see if he makes any plays or sparks any intrigue.

Fellow rookie EDGE rusher Carter Coughlin was a highly accomplished pass rusher while at the University of Minnesota. Coughlin is undersized for the linebacker position but his speed is a positive and helps him get around opposing tackles, set the edge, and he usually takes a good path to get to the QB or ball-carrier. Carter was a force in the Big 10 and could make a sneaky impact with some reps on defense. Carter must continue to work his tail off and shine on special teams in order to earn snaps of defense.

In the middle of the defense, Blake Martinez has been a rock and the heart-and-soul of this young group. Martinez has done a real good job limiting running backs’ damage and commanding the defenses and lining them up every play.

Next to him, Devante Downs or David Mayo hasn’t done enough to solidify a starting gig next to #54. Tae Crowder made the defense’s biggest play of the season in Week 6 but was hurt and placed on IR. Crowder’s blend of atheltcisim and raw speed should get “Mr. Irrelevant” back on the field as soon as he’s healthy.

Until then, the team should look to their “Linebacker U” roots of Penn State and get Cam Brown in the game.

Brown is an eye-opening 6’5, 233 pound man who can move well and pack a punch. His impressive length and height could make it challenging for opposing quarterbacks’ to get their passes by him downfield. He can act as a spy to follow the QB, sniff out the run game, and can provide help at the second level of the defense.

Brown has better intangibles than either Mayo or Downs. He is younger than both players and should begin taking some of their snaps immediately in the second half of this season.

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Follow Danny Friedman on Twitter: @DannyFriedman28.