Giants’ Martindale’s Defense Can Still Salvage The Season

The Giants’ offense woes have been quite evident this season.

But what has happened to the defense? There were plenty of red flags that surfaced after their 40-0 home loss to Dallas in the season opener.

Since then, there have been flashes of getting back to respectability, but there haven’t been enough in a 2-8 season.

Going into this week’s game against the Patriots at MetLife, the Giants’ defensive unit is ranked 28th overall, 22nd against the pass and 29th against the run. They have recorded 19 sacks in 10 games, while they have allowed 63.

They needed to be the backbone after the offense’s spine was broken with the deterioration of the offense line and the loss of Daniel Jones.

Under Wink Martindale, the Giants’ defense was supposed to reach a   new level. Last season, they finished 18th overall, 15th against the pass and 27th against the rush. They had 41 sacks overall.

Defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence was coming off an All-Pro season and seeking a contract extension. The Giants saw him as an integral part of the unit and signed him to a staggering, four-year, 90-million deal.

So far, Lawrence hasn’t shaken up the line with four total sacks, the latest last week was his first in three weeks.

Lineman Leonard Williams was traded to Seattle three weeks ago, and it appeared the white flag toward a rebuild was waved.

A rematch with Dallas on the road resulted in a 49-17 shellacking that wasn’t even that close. That was after a pitiful 30-6 loss to the Raiders.

Somehow, the defense regrouped, and forced six turnovers in a 31-19 victory over the Commanders despite allowing Washington 429 total yards.

The development of former top pick Kayvon Thibodeaux with his 10.5 sacks has been the brightest spot on the defense. They can also feel good about the maturation of their linebacking corps with Bobby Okereke and Micah McFadden, as the situation has been a long-standing problem.

Safety Xaiver McKinney has been solid, but corner Adoree’ Jackson has been often injured and subpar. Corner  Cor’Dale Flott’s stock has been rising.

There have been plenty of whispers circling about Martindale’s job security beyond this season as well as offensive coordinator Mike Kafka’s.

There seems to be enough smoke around that something is bound to happen to shake up the team.

Getting a stellar defensive effort against a substandard Patriots’ squad which is in a similar state to the Giants, would be a major step back.

For the Giants’ defense, there are plenty of more steps ahead.



About the Author

Jeff Moeller

Jeff Moeller has been covering the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and college football and basketball as well as high school sports on a national and local scene for the past 39 years. He has been a Jets and Giants beat reporter for the past 13 years.

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