Football Outsiders: Linebacker Giants' biggest issue

Chase Blackburn - Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE

Football Outsiders says that linebacker is the biggest personnel issue for the Giants going forward.

It should come as no surprise to New York Giants' fans that advanced statistical data shows the team's linebackers weren't very good in 2012. Football Outsiders, in a post for ESPN Insider, said that linebacker is the single biggest position of need for the Giants in 2013.

The Giants did not have a single linebacker among the top 40 in total plays, the top 30 in successes, or the top 50 in defeats. Worse, their top linebacker in all three categories, Chase Blackburn, is entering free agency.

... the Giants' run defense struggled. They ranked 30th in adjusted line yards, which measures average yards per carry with a cap on long runs and a bonus for stuffs in the backfield. In other words, the New York front seven was pushed around more than almost any other defense in the league. The Giants need an infusion of youth, athleticism and attitude in the middle of their defense if they're going to get to the 2013 postseason.

We haven't begun full in-depth position-by-position or player-by-player analysis, and in due time we will. It is, however, difficult to disagree with FO's assertion here, and difficult to believe the Giants won't make some changes to this group.

"I do think we have to have better linebacker play moving forward," general manager Jerry Reese said during his season-ending press conference.

Linebacker is a position the Giants simply have not invested many high draft choices in, or big free-agent dollars. With this sort of evidence that the position is lacking, and Reese's acknowledgement of that, it will be interesting to see if that changes this off-season.

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