The New York Giants finished the 2015 season with the worst defense in the league statistically and the goal this spring is to plug the many leaks that caused them to drop so many games in the fourth quarter.
It may sound funny, but they really addressed their defensive problems last year at this time. The problem is, the plan went awry when many of the players they brought in suffered season-altering or season-ending injuries.
The Giants had a solid plan at safety. They had Nat Berhe, aka "The Missile", set to lead a group of young talent that included second-round pick Landon Collins, Cooper Taylor, Bennett Jackson and rookies Mykkele Thompson and Justin Currie.
Collins ended up starting all 16 games. The others all either missed the entire season or most of it. The plan this summer is the same as last. There's talent here and they just need to add depth and keep it on the field.
The rest of the defense has some key players and the Giants will be building around them. The consensus is they will likely part ways with defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul and bring in several new faces at both the defensive line and linebacker positions. Call it a rebuild.
The defensive line needed help, didn't get it and now is in need again. Naturally we know the JPP story, but there were other issues the team addressed last spring in which the solutions didn't pan out.
JPP missed the first half of the season and was less than 100% when he returned. But his return was met with the exit of star DT Johnathan Hankins. The interior of the line was supposed to be bolstered by the return of Markus Kuhn and the maturity of Jay Bromley. Kuhn got hurt again and Bromley has a ways to go. The best player on the line was 34-year-old Cullen Jenkins.
The ends struggled as well. Kerry Wynn took a step back and Robert Ayers was largely ineffective until JPP arrived. The Giants were hoping to get a boost from their third-round pick, Owa Odighizuwa, but - you guessed it - he got hurt and played in only three games.
The linebackers were a mess all year. The Giants sorely miscalculated linebacker Jon Beason's health and were forced to go with Uani 'Unga and Jasper Brinkley in the middle. The two were fine against the run, but godawful against the pass.
Devon Kennard is the Giants' future at linebacker, but he missed four games as a rookie and seven games last year. As Deion Sanders would say, "You can't help the club from the tub." J.T. Thomas, brought in as a free agent, missed four games.
The Giants had to deploy two linebackers on the roster for their special team's prowess, Mark Herzlich and Jonathan Casillas, more than they had planned.
The objective for the Giants this offseason should be as follows: At least five new faces up front. Two new pass rushing options, a run-stuffing defensive tackle and two linebackers.
These five players will push the others to perform and hopefully stay on the field. Plus the depth issues will be addressed. The Giants are expected to draft some defensive backs, a practice they will continue this year.