The New York Giants finished with the same record as they did last season, and did so in similar fashion. The Giants ended the first half of the season in both the 2011 and 2012 seasons at 6-2. However, in the second half, they would go 3-5. They still won the division last year doing so. This year, that did not happen. The play of the defense can be looked at as a big reason why.
The lack of a pass rush is the biggest reason why the defense was significantly worse than they were last year. DE Jason Pierre-Paul, who had 16.5 sacks last season, only had 6.5 this season. DE Osi Umenyiora, who isn’t expected to be back with the team, is a pass rushing specialist but doesn’t see the field enough to make a huge impact.
Immediately after the season, it was announced that former DE Michael Strahan would work with Pierre-Paul so he can become a much more effective pass rusher. There aren’t many better teachers of rushing the quarterback than Strahan. Strahan’s 141.5 career sacks are fifth all-time. Pierre-Paul could learn a lot about Strahan’s consistency. Year in and year out, Strahan was able to put up double-digit sack totals or close to it.
While these two working together is great, there’s a question many people want answered. Will Strahan be able to find the time while doing his show with Kelly Ripa? It shouldn’t be much of a problem since the show is on in the morning. Strahan has the rest of the day to do whatever he likes, so Pierre-Paul better be ready to learn a lot.
Pierre-Paul is a very good and freakish athlete. However, he must learn how to get to the quarterback in a number of ways. Strahan was able to do that effectively, whether he ran through the offensive linemen or rushed around him. Pierre-Paul will need to learn exactly how to do both effectively if he wants continued and consistent success.