The New York Giants pass rush was supposed to be elite and the heart of the defense. With Jason Pierre-Paul, Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck and others, the defensive line was one of the best entering the season. However, it has been non-existent this season.
Pierre-Paul leads the team with 6.5 sacks. Umenyiora is second with six. Justin Tuck has three sacks. The Giants, as a team, are tied for eighth in the NFL with 32 sacks. There are fifteen teams ahead of the Giants in sacks.
If you add up Pierre-Paul, Tuck, and Umenyiora’s totals it doesn’t even equal Pierre-Paul’s total from last season when he had 16.5 sacks.
Something is obviously wrong. Whether it is the schemes that Perry Fewell is coming up with, a secondary that is allowing opponent’s receivers to get open before the defensive line can get to the opponent’s quarterback or the players themselves not getting it done, the Giants pass rush has been a bit anemic this season.
The Giants haven’t had multiple sacks in a game since they sacked Aaron Rodgers five times in Week 12. That is four times in the last five games that the Giants have failed to get more than one sack. Twice they were shut out in the sack department.
One reason has been the speed in which quarterbacks are releasing the ball. Opposing offensive coordinators have adapted their game plans to allow their quarterbacks to get rid of the ball quickly.
The Giants’ secondary has been a part of the problem. Right now, the secondary is banged up and has been unable to stop these quick targets. It has also seen several lapses in deep coverage, allowing opposing receivers to get open down the field.
It is up to Perry Fewell to come up with schemes and blitz packages to accomplish the job and get to the quarterback. It might be no coincidence that the Giants pass rush was at its best in the last five games when Mathias Kiwanuka was lined up as a down lineman. The Giants have this obsession with putting Kiwanuka at linebacker, where he is a good player, but he is much more dynamic when he plays on the line.
Something needs to happen and soon. It is no anomaly that the Giants’ Super Bowl run last season coincided with a resurgence of the pass rush. The Giants will need the pass rush to step up this year or face a long off-season.