You guys know how much I like the work done by the folks at Pro Football Focus. Quibble with the grading system and question their methods all you want, but take their body of work as a whole and more often than not their grades turn out to be a pretty accurate reflection of what your eyes, or at least my eyes, think they are seeing.
PFF came out the other day with a look at 'Movers and Fallers' for each division. I am not surprised at all by what PFF found when it came to the New York Giants.
Moving on up: DT Barry Cofield (-4.6 to +16.3)
This could also have gone to DT Chris Canty as both showed an impressive resurgence in 2010. But Cofield ended up ranked 12th in our interior defensive line rankings, a rise of 43 places.
Had a bad year: CB Terrell Thomas (+12.6 to -1.4)
What is it with NFC East CBs? Thomas showed top-level ability as a pass rusher and run defender, ranking in the top 10 in both departments but he really struggled in coverage. Teams generated big plays regularly when they targeted Thomas, and he proved susceptible to the deep ball. His 950 yards allowed and his seven TDs given up ranked 3rd and 2nd worst respectively.
Give this guy more snaps: DE Jason Pierre-Paul (+6.1 in 408 snaps)
Pierre-Paul really came into his own to end the year, getting snaps both in the rotation and in the nickel. After an inconsistent start, JPP really came on with a positive grade in each of his last six games. For a player touted as incredibly raw coming out of college, four sacks, four hits and 16 pressures represents solid production. With Osi Umenyiora on the wrong side of 30, the Giants will be expecting more from Pierre-Paul in the near future.
Like I said, no surprises. Cofield had a great year and will be difficult to replace. I want to see Linval Joseph on the field, but he had better be as good as we think he is. We have already discussed Thomas's struggles in coverage. In terms of yards and touchdowns allowed, though, I did not realize the numbers were that bad. As for JPP, thank God Jerry Reese doesn't listen to us when it comes to the NFL Draft.