IRVING, Texas – Here's a look at the some key defensive points for the Giants, who will face the Cowboys in Week 1 of the 2013 regular season with a Sunday night game at AT&T Stadium.
- When we had a chance to visit with Jason Garrett on his walk off after his morning press conference, he was asked a question about his thoughts on the Giants defensive line and despite several new faces, was he seeing the same results from that group? I thought the answer that he gave was dead on, the Giants for years have been committed to drafting defensive linemen no matter how many outstanding ones they already had. Their front office treated the position like it was a weakness and not a strength. Their depth will be tested this week if Jason Pierre-Paul cannot play on Sunday night with his back condition. Pierre-Paul like Anthony Spencer has missed the entire preseason and is just now working his way back into practice.
The way that the Giants have worked around this is use Mathias Kiwanuka and rookie Damonte Moore. I do like what I have seen from Moore and his ability to get up the field. At Texas A&M, I didn't see many pass rush moves and there still are times where he does get stuck on the block, but you also see him get around the corner. Is a much better player while he is on the move then when he has to fight one-on-one. At tackle, Cullen Jenkins starts next to Linval Joseph and he is playing more to the form in Green Bay that got him a big money deal in Philadelphia. He is explosive, powerful and quick. He can be disruptive and like Moore, when on the move can be hard to handle.
- There have been plenty questions surrounding these Giants linebackers and from what I have seen this preseason, this group will not make you forget the names of Lawrence Taylor, Harry Carson and Carl Banks. Dan Connor starts as the Mike in this scheme and some of the same issues he had while here in Dallas, he struggles with in New York. I feel like you can take advantage of him on early downs throwing the ball. I have seen backs and tight ends get behind him because of how aggressive he is when trying to attack the line of scrimmage. His range is better going side to side than dropping. He tends to labor when he has to play in coverage. Keith Rivers and Spencer Paysinger are the outside linebackers and should start Sunday night. Of the two, Paysinger is the better player and I like the way that he tackles in space.
Mark Herzlich is the backup to Connor and he is a much better player when the ball is right at him than away. With this group, I didn't see that Michael Boley type of player that had caused problems on the blitz in previous seasons. I fully expect Bill Callahan to tailor his game plan to try and take advantage of some of the shortcomings of this group with matchups.
- The health of the Giants defensive backs is in a much better state than when these clubs met in 2012. Prince Amukamara and Corey Webster are the starters with Aaron Ross playing as the nickel and Jayron Hosley playing as the dime. Webster is their Brandon Carr. He looks much more comfortable playing in press man and carrying the receivers that way. He will jam the receiver and move with them. He can mirror and adjust to put himself in position to finish the play. I have never been a fan of Amukamara since he arrived in the league in 2011. In watching him play, you see routes against him where there is separation. I do not believe that he likes the physical side of the game. I am not calling him a coward but when he has to face an opponent that gets nasty with him, he tends to fade. I fully expect Dez Bryant and Miles Austin to take the fight to him. [embedded_ad]
Aaron Ross athletically is very good but like Amukamara, I feel like his toughness comes and goes. I am not completely sure that he really wants to tackle but again, he does have coverage skill. Antrel Rolle and Ryan Mundy are the starters at safety. Rolle has been battling injury issues as well with an ankle but should be ready for the game on Sunday. He has always been a physical player that has cover ability down the field but a real strength of his is as a blitzer. Where Tony Romo has to be very careful is when Rolle is around the line of scrimmage because he can be a factor in disrupting the play.