Everyone (including me) says that the Giants have phenomenal depth. Defensive line is stacked, we’ve all said. The secondary is young and full of talent. But, with injuries to Chris Canty, Aaron Ross, Jay Alford and many more recovering from injury, it’s time to know what this depth we’ve all touted is made of.
I’m assuming that Chris Canty and Alford will not be ready in time for opening day. In that case, the starters at defensive tackle will most likely be Fred Robbins and Rocky Bernard. Both are recovering from injury. Will they be ready in time for Week 1? Probably. Will they be 100%? Probably not. While both can perform at less than 100%, they won’t be as good as when they are healthy. If healthy by week 1, Robbins and Bernard form a formidable duo.
Both can rush the passer extremely well. If not, behind them is,namely, Barry Cofield. Cofield is also recovering from injury. He has been the starter the past couple of years, and is a better run stopper than Robbins and Bernard. Justin Tuck can play tackle in a pinch, but he’s better in small doses. When Canty and Alford come back, the Giants have a plethora of options at defensive line. They can start Canty and Robbins, or Canty and Bernard, or many other possibilities. We can afford injuries to Canty and Alford because the depth at tackle are proven veterans.
The depth here is not as proven as the defensive line. With Aaron Ross hurt, and again, I’m assuming he won’t be ready by week 1, the starter will most likely be Terrell Thomas. Thomas is one of the players I expect to have a huge year. Thomas showed a lot in limited duty last year, mainly as a strong blitzer, and a solid cover guy. He has looked fluid in preseason action. Behind him is Kevin Dockery. Many folks seem to like him. I don’t. Whenever there is a big play given up, Dockery is usually involved. He’s speedy, but he’s too aggressive, giving taller receivers an edge. Behind Dockery, are rookies, including Stoney Woodson and Bruce Johnson. Both have impressed in preseason, but have not faced 1st team offenses yet.
This is the problem with depth. It looks great on paper. But, will these guys respond when giving starting duties? We can’t know until it happens. Luckily, the Giants are full of talented players, who, when called upon, have performed well, but have not been tested in starting roles. That’s why we’ll learn a lot from the 1st game. Will Thomas make the same plays as a starter? Can Robbins and Bernard be a capable inside duo until Canty comes back? All good questions. We’ll just have to wait for the answer.