The stalwart of the Giants defense for recent memory has been the defensive line — while the pass rush garners the most attention, it’s the tackles who allow it to come to fruition.
During the first day of organized team activities Wednesday, the team revealed a new defensive tackle rotation amid off-season signing and draft picks.
With Chris Canty now a member of the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens and Rocky Bernard gone, Linval Joseph is one of only a few veterans who remain on the roster from last season.
Also returning is Shaun Rogers, who missed much of 2012 due to a blood clot. Markus Kuhn, the team’s seventh-round pick in last year’s draft, is also expected to have a role as he recovers from a torn ACL.
The team added former Eagles Mike Patterson and Cullen Jenkins via free agency, and drafted Johnathan Hankins in the second round out of Ohio State.
Looking to make amends for the 2012 unit that finished 28th in the NFL and allowed 4.6 yards per rush, this year’s squad appears younger, deeper and more talented.
“This is a new year,” Joseph said. “(Coach Tom Coughlin) always talks about (stopping the run) every year. But he just said it’s a clean plate, and let’s just start off the year the right way and finish the right way. But especially, begin the right way. Get rid of last year and that’s dead to us.”
Joseph has been a starter for Big Blue each of the past two seasons and the fourth off-season for the the team’s second-round selection from the 2010 NFL Draft.
Last year, Joseph finished with 59 tackles and four sacks, double the production from the year prior. In addition to improving on the field, he hopes to grow as a leader for the young defensive tackles.
“You have new faces all over the whole team … You just bring them in, treat them as family, and try to get as much accomplished as you can,” Joseph said.
“You just (tell them) to come in, get in your book, learn, do what everybody tells you to do and try to make plays. Just try to better the team.”
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