When MLB Jonathan Goff went down with a knee injury, the Giants were left with a huge problem in the middle of their defense. Who would play middle linebacker? Who would call the signals?
The answers were not good ones. All they had were rookies to choose from. They tried rookie Greg Jones at MLB, but their was no way he would be able to grasp the defense in time to be the signal-caller. Another rookie, Mark Herzlich (right), is more of an OLB, so he was not considered.
Their other two rookies, Jacquian Williams and Spencer Paysinger, were both OLB projects at best. They are both built like big safeties and not cut out for MLB duties.
The team decided they would only play Jones when they were in their base 4-3 formation, but in the pass-happy NFL, they would look to employ five DBs on most downs. That has worked, somewhat. The run defense has been horrible as a result of having no MLB and smaller bodies on the field.
In addition, OLB Michael Boley has been calling the signals. The problem there is that he does not have a full view of the field and cannot audible as well. And who knows if anyone can even hear him if he does...?
The other issue is that the only other veteran LB the Giants have is Mathias Kiwanuka, who is really a DE-turned-LB due to the need at the position. Kiwi can play DE with the best of them, but his LB skills still need some honing.
Help could be on the way. Rookies have a tendency of developing quickly in today's NFL. Giants' LB coach Jim Herrmann is certain his young group will be key contributors as the season goes on.
“As we go here in the next 10 games of the season, you’ll see more and more of those guys defensively,” Herrmann told SNY Giants insider Mike Garafolo. “Because in a season, let’s say you have 1,100 defensive snaps, you can’t ask one guy to take all of those snaps. Your body won’t last. Now that they’re getting experience, they’ve been on the field, they know what the speed is, they’ll be able to get out there and play a little bit.
“I’m looking forward to it. I think they’ll all do very well because they’re all smart guys.”