The Giants last year had a very disappointing season, finishing 7-9 after their GM, Jerry Reese, put up a countdown to the Super Bowl clock in the team’s facility to try and motivate them. While Giants season as a whole was disastrous (starting 0-6 is about the worst case scenario for a team) there were some bright spots that should impact how they draft this May.
The Giants defense last year was charged with 383 points against or just under 24 points a game, which would put them in the bottom half of the league. Anyone who watched Giants games though knows that the opposing team’s best offensive weapon sometimes was Eli Manning. Eli had an awful lot of passes turn into touchdowns for the opposing team and through 27 overall on the season. It is almost impossible to ask a defense to give up less than three touchdowns when almost twice every game their quarterback turns the ball over. As a team, the Giants had 44 turnovers, which is almost three a game and an incredible 20% of total drives, again the defense was put in an very tough spot.
When looking deeper though, numbers and rankings for the Giants defense last year were pretty good. The Giants defense was 4th in yards per offensive play (4.9), 8th in net yards gained per pass attempt (5.6), and 6th in rushing yards per attempt (3.8). In other words, moving the ball on the Giants defense was far more difficult than it was getting the Giants to play defense. The Giants D also had the third worst starting field position (about own 32 yard line) but had only 31% of their drives against end in scores, good for 10th best in the NFL. The Giants basically turned opposing offenses into this year’s Ravens team, hardly an offensive juggernaut.
On an individual level, not only was finally healthy but had an excellent year. He and Prince Amukara both stepped up and finally played like the Giants had hoped and quite frankly needed. If both players can continue to play well and not have huge contracts, it will help the Giants immensely in their quest to improve on the team, specifically at the offensive line.
Overall while yes, the Giants had a poor year, the defense wasn’t really to blame and honestly should be looked at as an encouraging feature on the team heading into the draft. It’s odd to think after the 2011 Super Bowl victory but heading forward the Giants defense may once again be the strongest part of the team.