For decades, the New York Giants relied upon the pass rush and pressuring the opposing the quarterback. Teams would fear the defensive line of the Giants; a unit that could change the momentum of a game instantly. One of the biggest shocks this year, has been the lack of pressure that the Giants defensive line has generated. Combined, the defensive line has a lowly seven sacks all season.
Defensive end Justin Tuck looks as if he is falling into the tail end of his impressive career, while Jason Pierre-Paul still does not seem to be fully recovered from lower back surgery that was performed at the beginning of the year.
"He’s an inexperienced player, he has not played a lot of football and missing training camp and missing the offseason, it did set him back," said defensive line coach Robert Nunn on JPP. "That can’t mean excuses. The season’s here now. We’ve got to keep rolling. His attitudes been good and that’s what we have to keep building on. He needs that one breakout play, or one breakout game to get him rolling. He’s the kind of guy that can get hot and get him moving in the right direction."Mathias Kiwanuka, who sits behind JPP in the depth chart, leads all defensive linemen in sacks with two-and-a-half.
Defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins, who signed with the Giants following his stint with the Philadelphia Eagles, has only half a sack this season, while Linval Joseph, who has been banged up multiple times this season with both an ankle and knee injury, has tallied one-and-a-half sacks through the midway point.
While pressure from the defensive line has been absent, one of the stronger spots of the defense has been the effectiveness of the line to stop the ground game.
The Giants have allowed just one 100-yard rusher this season and it came from DeAngelo Williams and the Carolina Panthers in their week 3 loss. Looking at their schedule, the Giants have faced teams that rely heavily on the run game, with teams sporting the likes of Matt Forte, Adrian Peterson, LeSean McCoy, and Jamaal Charles; but the run defense from the defensive line has done a tremendous job bottling up running backs before they are able to break free.
"As a group I thought the whole year we’ve been solid in the run game. We’ve done a good job of stopping the run, just not been able to create the opportunities whether it’s third down and distance or getting the game right where we can have the opportunities to rush the quarterback," said Nunn. "Playing the last two running backs and being able to stop them the way we did and get the hits on the quarterback, it feels like we’re moving in the right direction."
It's tough to not just look at the Giants defensive line and their inability to rush the passer, which is embarrassing at times, but overall, they have done a tremendous job at stopping the run so we have to give the d-line credit for that.
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