The New York Giants’ defensive line has not been what it once was. Last season Jason Pierre-Paul had just 6.5 sacks after having 16.5 sacks in his rookie campaign. Many expected Pierre-Paul to be the next big star for Big Blue, but instead he had a relatively average season. Justin Tuck has become a disappointment, too. At this point he is considered one of the most overrated players in the NFL. In the last two seasons he has had just nine sacks and 53 tackles combined. Not only that, but the Giants also lost Osi Umenyiora who had six sacks last year, although they will not miss his inability to contain run plays.
Simply put, the defensive line has to be better. Mathias Kiwanuka has moved back to defensive end, his natural position, and this should help things. Additionally there are reports out of camp that Tuck is in great physical shape; a big year out of the captain is necessary for the Giants to have a shot at winning the division.
The defensive tackle positions should also get better for the G-men this year. They added Cullen Jenkins, an underrated havoc creator on run plays, and they still have solid players in Shaun Rogers and Linval Joseph. Marvin Austin could also develop into a strong player this year if he can stay healthy and on the field.
Unfortunately, the best defensive lineman for the Giants is hurt. Pierre-Paul has a back injury that could keep him out of the first few games and will sideline him during preseason. Not only is Pierre-Paul’s health a key this season, but his ability to stay on the field could be a key factor in the Giants maintaining a strong defense long term.
The Giants have had the same strategy since Lawrence Taylor — pressure the QB and good things will happen. The Giants have won four Super Bowls since LT came into the league, and every time they have had a star defensive end causing problems in the backfield. If they hope to get another ring that presence will be a prerequisite. They missed that last year, but luckily they have lots of candidates to play that role this year.
Jay Cullen is a New York Giants writer for RantSports. Follow him on Twitter at JayCullen92 or add him to your network on Google.