Unpacking The Giants Players Performances: Defense

In the wake of the Bill Sheridan firing, I got to thinking that it would be helpful for us to establish an objective benchmark for how the players performed over the course of the season so that we can intelligently talk about changes that need to be made this offseason.

Stats are nice to have to aid to the discussion, so with that in mind I’d like to quickly move through the team starting with the Defense first. Here is a great table from ProFootballFocus — it illustrates very quickly who showed up and who didn’t this season.

DEFENSE

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Very quickly you realize how valuable Justin Tuck, Terrell Thomas, Danny Clark, Mathias Kiwanuka, Osi Umenyiora, and Chase Blackburn were to this Giants defense in 2009.  Not enough pressure from the front 7 — agreed. Not like we’re used to at all, but Justin Tuck and Terrell Thomas were still the standouts and surprisingly Danny Clark had a very good year when he was in for his 425 snaps.

Bruce Johnson and Antonio Pierce find themselves in the clear as well…. they were the only guys who had a lions share of snaps and didn’t royally screw up.  If you look at the 2007 season, this is largely what you find of the players performances — not alot of red, lots of white, and a little green.  That’s what won the Superbowl, guys who knew how to show up, do their job, and minimize the mistakes as a team and gut it out.

Now to the bad — from Corey Webster, to Barry Cofield, to Michael Boley, to Dave Tollefson…  nobody measured up in pass rush, coverage, or run stopping abilities. Essentially the majority of the defense is in the red for the Giants, and that needs to be addressed as urgently as anything the coaches will be examining this offseason. Players didn’t play, and when they did they made huge mistakes.  Week in and week out, mistakes in the form of missed tackles, blown coverage, mass confusion, hysteria… it got to be pretty pathetic by week 17.

And finally the ugly — and by ugly I mean UUUUUUUUUUGGGLYYYY.

CC Brown and Michael Johnson. We’ve been over this and over this, and CC Brown largely took the blame for the disgusting play in the secondary and I agree it’s as disturbing as anything you will see in your lifetime… but Michael Johnson was twice as bad. And not only was his play absolutely horrible, but he was on the field all the time!! He has the third highest snap count of anyone on the defense at 747 and he was BY FAR THE WORST PLAYER THE GIANTS HAD!!!  How in the world can you explain that?  I can’t believe my F$#@ing eyes when I see that kind of stat — I really can’t.

Look – I don’t have access to in depth footage like the teams do, I don’t sit in with the team and analyze film, I don’t take part in the coaches conference calls, I don’t draw X’s and O’s with Bill Sheridan — but I do know how to use my ojos and the one thing that was clear all along is that Michael Johnson killed the Giants’ secondary this year.   Atleast CC Brown was an excellent in-the-box safety who hits like a truck and can stop the run — atleast he has a redeeming quality to speak of.  It’s clear that CC Brown took the bullet, but Johnson sure as shit loaded up the gun.  Need it said another way?  Michael Johnson was the second worst safety in the entire NFL.  Here’s proof. (link)

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In effect, less than half the defense played status quo ball… less than a quarter stood out as positives. The majority of the defense was detrimental to production, and more than a third of the unit down right screwed it up.  On a sliding scale, the Giants defense was tragic.  Say what you want about coaching, and we should, but first and foremost a lack of execution would be an understatement for the 2009 Giants Defense.


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