Tom Uddo, ContributorIt was an up and down year for the Giants defense, to say the least. Coming into the season, we thought that Big Blue’s defense, would be a unit that we had to worry about each game. Turns out, when looking at the offense and defense, it was the defensive squad that proved to have a stronger year.
The first six games of the season, all in which ended in losses, the Giants gave up an average of 34.8 points per game and it looked like all hope was lost.
By the time the end of the season rolled around, the Giants had somewhat managed to salvage the season, finishing with a 7-9 record with the defense attributing to their turnaround. Statistically, the Giants finished 10th in passing yards allowed with 223.3 yards per game, and 14th in rushing yards allowed with 108.9 yards allowed.
For much of the season, the Giants run defense was exceptional, allowing just two players (Ryan Matthews and DeAngelo Williams) to break the century mark during a game.
So what caused the turnaround? It’s hard not to mention the impact of Jon Beason, who was acquired in the middle of the season, but had a strong presence both on the field and in the locker room. Beason embraced his position at middle linebacker and became a focal point of the Giants defense, stepping up as one of the leaders.
The revival of Justin Tuck at the end of the season also played a part in the defense being improved down the stretch. While Tuck’s future is still uncertain, he returned to his old form and finished the season with 11 sacks. It’s too bad that Jason Pierre-Paul, who had such high expectations entering the season battled injury for a majority of the year and was basically invisible on the gridiron, tallying just two sacks all season. Overall, the Giants defensive line struggled to find any sort of pressure on the opposing QB’s, an issue that needs to be addressed in the off-season.
The Giants secondary also has to be commended. Terrell Thomas, who has battled torn ACL’s the past years, had a strong year, while Prince Amukamara, Antrel Rolle, and Will Hill (who returned in the middle of the season following a suspension), combined for a formidable secondary that didn’t give up big yardage plays in many games.
The questions surrounding the future of defensive coordinator Perry Fewell still remain, and with the “retirement” of offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride, many are wondering if the Giants upper-management will clean house and remove Fewell. With the simplification of the defense, the addition and impact of Beason, as well as the strong play from both the secondary and the rush defense, the coordinator has to be given some sort of credit, considering the low expectations that everyone had involving the Giants defense at the start of the season.