New York Giants: Secondary Issues Now of Primary Concern
Only against the New York Giants‘ secondary could you manage to sneak undetected into the end zone wearing neon green cleats for a simple touchdown across the middle.
This is exactly the position Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall found himself in as he doubled his side’s lead early in the second quarter. You would think that it’s a given that the receiver who finished third overall in yardage last season would draw more interest from the opposing defense, but apparently not.
Painfully for Giants fans this seemed to be the order of the day as what has been arguably their weakest link in 2013 shows no sign of improving. The Bears were allowed to move swiftly and efficiently down the field; in essence it was all too easy. After the Giants leveled at 14-14, Jay Cutler and his offense responded with an 80-yard scoring drive on their very next possession. With little pressure and some lose coverage to say the least, Marshall was again found with ample time and space to register his second score of the game, this time with cornerback Terrell Thomas found wanting at the goal line.
This was ironically the fewest points conceded in a game by the Giants this season, though they did once again give up 250+ net passing yards for the fifth time in six games in 2013. Their distinct lack of pressure allowed Cutler his best fantasy football outing of the season to date as well.
Injuries have been a factor, of that there is little doubt. Corey Webster has missed the last four games with a recurring groin injury, and the Giants are bound to feel the absence of their two-time Super Bowl-winning cornerback. Aaron Ross is another with two championship rings that has struggled to stay healthy; Ross appeared in the opening four games of the season before being shifted to injured reserve, though it had appeared that he had lost a step or two after that single suspect season with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Injuries may be a factor in this dismal defense, but they cannot be an excuse. Safety Ryan Mundy has been thrown in at the deep end after just five starts in four seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers. His inexperience has been evident though he does lead the team in combined tackled, which says a lot about the absence of playmakers in the front-seven as things stand. Mundy’s partner out in the backfield, Antrel Rolle, appears to be going through the motions this season; Rolle, who has started every game for the Giants since his move in 2010, predicted that the G-Men would go 12-0 after their Week 4 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs — we’re still waiting on that one, Antrel.
Just to rub a little extra salt into the wounds, the Giants’ pass defense is currently ranked 20th in the league and they are tied-1st in passing touchdowns conceded on the season. This may be a mild improvement on last season when they finished with a 28th ranked passing defense, though their shortcomings have been inevitably accentuated by their 0-6 record.
The 2013 Giants defense has made a mockery of the proud traditions set by previous personnel. They now have an extended period to prepare for the Minnesota Vikings who are currently averaging the 4th-highest points per game total in the NFL. Needless to say alarm bells are already ringing. If the Giants are on the wrong side of a shootout in the Meadowlands against a team that currently stands 1-5, the natives will be getting more than just restless.
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