New York's defense is poised for a big year
The Giants defense is a unit that may have gotten overlooked at times last season due to the astounding number of turnovers on the opposite side of the ball. However, the defense got better as the year went on and ended the season on a high note, surrendering only six points to the Redskins in a season finale win. While the season as a whole was a disappointment, players on the defense are looking to improve from last year’s effort to make this year’s group one that will send shockwaves throughout the league.
Linebacker Jameel McClain was acquired in the offseason by New York, who had previously played for the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens are known for their notoriously hard hitting linebackers and relentless play on defense. The Giants have had issues at linebacker in the past few years and hope McClain can bring some of that physical attitude over to Big Blue’s second level. “I know this group is good, I’ve been around good linebackers and I’ve been around good groups. I don’t know what the past is [here], but I know what the present is. It’s going to be a strength.” Giants fans everywhere hope what McClain said will come true. These linebackers will be vital in determining what kind of defense New York will have in 2014.
McClain’s teammate and fellow linebacker Jon Beason, who started training camp on the PUP list because of a sesamoid bone fracture and torn ligament in his foot during OTA’s, also feels that these linebackers have great skill and potential, “I really feel like that group has collectively come along and it’s been scary to watch what they’ve been able to do. Today should be an eye opening experience, being really physical and guys making a lot of plays.” Beason was referring to today’s practice which was the first in pads.
The defense was energized and swarming to the ball today. In team competition, a period of scripted plays in which the offense and defense simulate a scrimmage atmosphere, the defense clearly had the upper hand. That is usually expected in the first few practices, but I saw a unit that was much more passionate today than their offensive teammates. However, I expect the offense to win some of the team battles and be just fine.
Another offseason acquisition for New York, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, is eager to be a part of a secondary that features a multitude of depth. “I think that makes it definitely better for the team as far as competition, you have depth so everybody has to go out there and perform.”
Rodgers-Cromartie is one of two secondary players that the Giants acquired who played in last year’s Super Bowl, the other is Walter Thurmond. Rodgers-Cromartie was asked what that Super Bowl experience means and how he could bring it to this team’s secondary, “I just think it gives everybody an understanding on what it takes to get to the Super Bowl. This team has already done it, they definitely know [how to do] that. You bring all that together and put everybody’s minds into it, I think it makes the team atmosphere better just as far as knowing how to go out there and do the right thing.” Rodgers-Cromartie will undoubtedly be counted on to play to his full potential in order to bring the Giants back to the Super Bowl.
New York’s defense put forth a stellar effort today in practice and looks eager to start the season off on the right foot. If they bring the same passion and energy I saw today in practice, they will be a successful team this season.
A successful team in the eyes of the New York Giants is one that hoists the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the year. This defense has the talent and potential to help that goal become a reality.