NFL Wire News

Giants’ reeling run defense serious cause for concern


The Sports Xchange

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The New York Giants’ run defense started out with a bang this season, holding down a spot in the top-3 league-wide in Weeks 2-4.

Lately, though, the run defense has begun to get sloppy, and it has more to do with playing against solid offensive lines, especially in the Giants’ past two games.

How bad has it been? In their first four games, the Giants allowed 279 total rushing yards to opponents. In these last three games, they’ve allowed a whopping 515.

“We made some mistakes in terms of our responsibilities and how we play certain aspects of the run,” head coach Tom Coughlin said.

Such as?

“It’s a number of things – they blocked very well, we were sometimes out of position, and sometimes not maintaining our leverage, and our contain responsibilities.

“Our tackling at times was shoddy. We didn’t get away with block tackles, which you don’t like to see anyway, but some of the people in the secondary were trying to implement that and it wasn’t successful.”

Against Dallas, running back Darren McFadden rushed for 152 yards on 29 carries and one touchdown.

To put that total by McFadden into perspective, that’s just 127 yards less than what the Giants gave up over the first four weeks of the season.

“It’s something we talked about today and we’ve definitely got to address,” said linebacker Devon Kennard. “We’re a defense that takes pride in being run-stoppers and we’ve done that all year, but we have slowly let it creep in to where Dallas was able to do that.

“It’s something we need to address and it just comes down to everybody doing their job and making plays.”

Coughlin said that the Cowboys put in some new wrinkles following their bye week, but that at the end of the day, it came down to winning one-on-one battles in the pit.

“By in large, they blocked us and we’ve got to find a way – and they’re a good offensive team, don’t get me wrong – but we’ve got to do a better job of holding the point, of being where we’re supposed to be from a gap responsibility, of recognizing the style run that’s coming,” he said.

That and cleaning up the sloppiness, such as the tackling, which Coughlin described as being “shoddy” at times, and with doing a better job of being in position to make stops.

“I think at the end of the day it comes down to us and our fitness and how we’re taking on blocks and if we’re shedding and making plays, and I don’t think we did enough of that,” Kennard said.

NOTES: DE Owa Odighizuwa suffered a hamstring strain on the opening kickoff, an injury that ultimately forced him from the game early. According to a source, Odighizuwa could miss at least the next game if not longer, and he is unlikely to do much if any work in practice this week. … LB J.T. Thomas, the team’s starting weak-side linebacker, suffered an ankle sprain in the win over the Cowboys. Coughlin did not provide an update Monday on Thomas’ status. … DE Damontre Moore, who was benched by Tom Coughlin this week after the coach publicly questioned whether he could trust the reckless defender to play a fundamentally smart game, isn’t necessarily guaranteed a spot back on the active list this week despite the hamstring injury rookie Odighizuwa is dealing with. “Damontre Moore is a skilled athlete who we’ll again look at the plan and see exactly where we stand,” Coughlin said. “If we can include him, then we will.”

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