The New York Giants have started the 2012 season a respectable 2-2, which is probably around where most people had them when the year started. I figured they would be 3-1, and if it weren’t for a bonehead pass by Eli Manning at the end of the Philadelphia Eagles game, they would probably have those three wins. But a concern for the Giants has to be the lack of a pass rush from their front four, and more importantly from their trio of talented defensive ends.
The Giants defense only has eight sacks in four games, and even more of a concern is Osi Umenyiora has just two, Jason Pierre-Paul has 1.5 and Justin Tuck has been held without a sack all season. This defense is built around the idea that they can pressure the quarterback without bringing extra guys on blitzes, but so far the Giants have been unable to do so.
For a team that is decimated in the secondary, they need the pass rush to step up and get back to what they do best. However, teams have been countering the Giants’ pass rush by keeping extra guys in to block. Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell has the difficult decision to make of whether to trust his front four to get pressure, or bring extra players and trust the remaining guys to cover the receivers. It’s a quandary, and Umenyiora acknowledges this.
“There’s really no counter for [teams leaving extra players to block],” Umenyiora said on ESPN Radio in New York. “Obviously we have some injuries in our secondary so you can’t commit too many people to a rush. If you don’t do that then you’re going to allow teams to have more time because they keep more people in to protect. So it’s a very difficult situation that we’re in. A very precarious situation. But at the end of the day it’s on us, the defensive linemen, to find a way to make more plays.”
The issue has been the injuries the Giants have sustained to the cornerback position. Terrell Thomas is already out with an ACL injury, and the Giants have had a combination of injuries to the rest of the corners for every game this season. This past Sunday they were without Jayron Hosley and Michael Coe. If they can somehow get all these guys on the field at the same time, the pass rush might start to improve. It also may free up Fewell to add more blitz packages.
But the bottom line is it does come down to the defensive lineman needing to make plays. Hopefully getting Chris Canty back at some point this season will help as well. The rush up the middle has lacked in his absence.
There better be some improvements this weekend. If the Giants lose to the Cleveland Browns, there will be an uproar in New York.