Def. Coordinator Perry Fewell
NEW YORK FOOTBALL GIANTS: Will Big Blue's Linebackers Please Report To The Field Please?
One of the many things I found difficult to watch last week was Denver's Knowshon Moreno rushing for ninety-three yards on just thirteen carries, and scoring two touchdowns. His first TD in the second quarter was a romp-right, for twenty yards. His second touchdown was a third quarter romp-right, this time good for twenty-five yards.
Where do we start, with the fact it's taken Moreno the better part of three seasons for even the Broncos to think of him seriously, and that last Sunday Moreno ran outside-Tackle with fury? Or should we bring up the fact Justin Tuck got, not just sealed off, but wiped out on both TD plays? How about the fact that not a single Giants linebacker touched Moreno during either romp down the right sideline.
Up the middle with Linval Joseph and Cullen Jenkins the Giants have been solid enough, but Justin Tuck is still yet to step up his game, while JPP is not yet fully recovered from off-season back surgery. But even more concerning to me, is the lack of presence by the linebackers. It is the team's soft white underbelly. As if getting beat twice with the same play wasn't bad enough, on Knowshon's second touchdown, the Giants had a seven man front, with three linebackers on the field; Jacquian Williams, Keith Rivers and Mark Herzlich; and still not one touched him. The Giants only had two linebackers on the field during his first touchdown.
If the Giants front does manage to break down the pocket this Sunday, the linebacker situation still makes it very easy for me to envision the middle of the field opening up for Cam Newton to take off running unmolested.
As a team, the Giants rank 15th in the NFL against the run, so, all is not lost. But from Week One against Dallas, to their performance against Denver in Week Two, they took huge step backwards in respect to both stopping the run, and getting to the quarterback. In Week One, the Giants allowed eighty-seven yards rushing. Tony Romo dropped back to pass forty-nine times, got sacked two times, and got hit six more times. In Week Two, the Giants allowed over 100 yards. Peyton Manning dropped back forty-three times, didn't get sacked and only got hit twice all game. The drop-off might be partially explained by the loss of linebacker Dan Conner, who was having a nice game against Dallas until suffering his season ending injury.
Granted, having been on the wrong end of ten turnovers committed by the offense, the defense has had their hands full. And to be fair, the Giants played Denver tightly in the first half before things took a turn for the worse in the second half. So far however, the numbers tell the story of a middle of the pack defense.