The Giants returned most of their championship-caliber defense this season, but they have lacked in an area they dominated a season ago: Run defense.
In 2016, the Giants allowed just 88.6 rushing yards per game which was tied for third in the NFL. That run stopping prowess has seemed to allude this year's squad to start the season as the team allowed 193 rushing yards to the Eagles Sunday.
For S Landon Collins, this stat is entirely unacceptable.
"We let them get almost 200 yards rushing, and that's what we do not do," he told The Post's Paul Schwartz. "We can't condone that."
With the Eagles performance, the Giants are now averaging 153.3 rushing yards allowed per game. The defense may have the same personnel as last year, but Collins thinks they're trying to do too much instead of sticking to their gameplan.
"We got to do our job, once we do our job everything will fall together," Collins said.
Tackling has been an issue early as well with too many missed opportunities allowing for more yards.
"We got to do a better job of tackling, we gave up too many yards after the carry or after the catch," DE Jason Pierre-Paul said.
Head coach Ben McAdoo agrees with Pierre-Paul which is why there will be an emphasis on tackling at practice this week.
"We had a rough day [Sunday] defending the run," McAdoo said. "We need to be better with our blocking structure, and we need to cut down on the missed taackles. We had some opportunities to tackle better, and it starts with those two things."
Teams have realized the Giants' struggles with the run as they have faced 102 run plays, which is only behind the 49ers (107) this season.
Scott Thompson, SNY.tv | Twitter |
This is one sneaky stat that I didn't even notice until reading this article. But, after taking a step back, I do realize how atrocious the run defense has been to start the year.
How could this be possible? The Giants' only loss on their defense regarding the run was Johnathan Hankins, but to allow over 150 yards per game is mindboggling.
It's even more confusing when you look at their opponents. OK, Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys can warrant 129 yards like they did in Week 1 against any defense. But to let up 138 yards to the Lions is just eye opening. Detroit was 30th in the NFL last season in rushing offense, and they have the same backfield with Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick in a committee approach. It should have been a huge advantage for the Giants to exploit in their home opener, yet the run game set up Matthew Stafford to throw all over the field.
So what has caused this unit to go from first to worst? I think Collins, JPP, and the rest of the team realizes the issues: Tackling. Just this past Sunday, think about how many times the Giants caught LeGarrette Blount and Wendell Smallwood were trapped behind the line of scrimmage but managed to escape for a five yard gain. Or how Blount, though massive, ran through the Giants' linebackers and corners at whim.
Missed tackles have plagued this team early, which is why teams are hammering them on the ground. Luckily for the Giants, this is a very fixable situation. Just like Collins said, stick to your assignment, make the tackles (especially for loss), and we won't be having this conversation any longer.