Last year Reese addressed what he believed was a glaring deficiency of the Giants that resulted in their downfall in the later stages of the 2008 season, the defensive line.
He went out and brought in a guy that his current team didn’t make an effort to keep in Canty. He brought in Bernard and he drafted Sintim, an OLB whose strength is rushing the passer. Part of his approach may have been due to both Cofield and an aging Robbins coming off microfracture knee surgery but their theme was they needed depth to keep their DL unit fresh at the end of the year. Unfortunately, what was achieved was a team that gave up a record 40 points 5 times in 1 season with the help from a Coordinator who led his players to “freelance” while accumulating 1 devastating injury in Phillips and nagging injuries too Boley, Canty, Tuck and Bernard.
This year Reese addresses an area that we here on this blog sited as a weaknesses going into the 2009 regular season, the safety position, via free agency with Rolle and Grant. In addition, he had added depth and youth to the DL unit with a “freakish athlete” and project in JPP and a solid value pick to clog the middle in Linval Joseph.
That makes a total of 5 assets spent on the DL unit via the first 2 rounds of the draft and free agency. While spending the equivalent of 1 for the LB unit and 2 on the safety unit (I am not considering C.C. Brown an asset). Therefore, the pressure and heat is all on Reese if this doesn’t pan out this year given what he has invested in the DL unit. In the words of Peter King:
“The Giants have spent more time and energy and prominent picks and free-agents than any team in football to fix their defensive line long-term, and there's no excuse now for the Giants not to be as good as anyone in football rushing the passer.”
No excuses. Expectations are high for big returns from the DL unit in terms of pass rush and controlling the line of scrimmage. You have a proven Coordinator who will not incur his players to “freelance” and you have 2 players a year removed from knee surgeries who should be at or near their capabilities, Osi and Cofield.
Let’s leave the LB topic to Andy as I am sure he has many thoughts and opinions on this subject.
On a side note, Vacchiano has a interesting piece on the “freakish athlete” JPP which highlights JPP’s determination and toughness.