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Bottom feeders: Giants linebackers

Besides UltimateNYG, some people have come to the same conclusion about the Giants linebackers. They STINK!

Yesterday, I picked up a copy of the SportingNews’ pro football preview magazine.  When I flipped to the page about the Giants, I came across this interesting tidbit.  An anonymous opponent critiqued the Giants.  This is his take on the Giants:

“The defense is just a huge, huge problem. Perry Fewell will help in that regard, make them a more viable unit than they were at the end season when they just gave up. Osi Umenyiora a year back from injury should help, but the linebacker crew is horrendous.  I like what they did at safety with the addition of Antrel Rolle.” 

Moreover, Yahoo Sports’ Jason Cole has ranked all of the linebacker units.  And according to Cole, the Giants are 30th. 

Supposedly, Michael Boley is the best of this bunch.  However, after an injury riddled 2009 season, he played well in one game-against his former team Atlanta.  Can he become a force?  Last season,  late in the game, his blown coverage on Chargers running back Darren Sproles was unsettling. Even though he was second on the team with 84 tackles, he needs to improve his run defense.  As NFL.com’s Steve Wyche points out,  Boley also has to be better, especially more stout against the run. It’s been a knock on him for years, but he’s got to change things up with this young unit to prevent it from being targeted.

Will the linebacking unit be exposed in 2010?  You better believe it.  The Giants have too many question marks at this position.

Kehl, Sintim, Goff, and Dillard are UNPROVEN.  Blackburn is a reserve only. He should not be starting.  Will the unproven guys make plays this year?  Until the preseason begins,  at this point, we do not know.  However, couple this pathetic linebacker unit with uncertainty at the defensive tackle position, you have a recipe for disaster.  Will the Giants be able to stuff the run?  This is going to be a major focus.  I believe opposing teams will be able to run the ball on this Giants team.  On the contrary, Giants head coach Tom Coughlin believes his defensive line will be able to keep his linebackers clean.  “That’s what has to be re-established again — keep some people clean so they can go to the ball carrier,” said Coughlin, referring to the team’s linebackers.  Historically, Fewell’s defenses  have been extremely porous against the run.  Last year, while coaching the Bills defense, they played a game against a top ranked offense-New Orleans Saints.  In this game, Fewell’s unit was superb against the pass.  Saints quarterback Drew Brees threw for only 172 yards.  And according to the Buffalo News,   Front four got decent pressure and Fewell’s coverage schemes were solid.  While the pass defense was stellar, the run defense was a different story.  Any way you slice it, the Saints rushed for 222 yards and 5.8 average. Didn’t even need to use Pierre Thomas (126 yards) until second half. 

After the Bills season came to an end , their run defense was ranked 30th.  OUCH!   

From 2006 until 2009, Fewell was the defensive coordinator in Buffalo.   Let us take a look how his unit’s have fared against the run:

2008: 22nd

2007:  25th

2006:  28th

  These numbers are troubling.  And if the Giants’ run defense is ranked in the twenties or thirties, it is going to be a long and depressing 2010 season.