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Land of the Giants: Defense Edition

I don't know about the rest of you, but since the baseball season is as good as over for a Mets fan like me, the lack of football these days is killing me. There's not a lot going on, but here's a few of the Giants related stories making the rounds:

  • Obviously the biggest story around the Giants these days is that of Michael Boley's one-game suspension by the NFL. According to every source I've read, it sounds like the Giants knew what they were getting into when they signed Boley and the suspension didn't come out of the blue. The following quote is being lifted from the Daily News by way of Matt Mosley's NFC East blog because the Daily News Web site hasn't been loading for me tonight:

"It's really unfortunate that when you're in pro sports everything gets overexaggerated a little bit," Reese said. "We don't condone any kind of domestic violence of any kind in any way, so don't get me wrong on that. But Michael Boley does all kinds of community service and people never talk about that. It's really kind of a shame that people don't say, 'Wow, this guy's a really good guy. He does all this kind of community service.' But the negative things seem to always come up.

"It's just unfortunate, but when you're in a high-profile position I guess this is what happens."

I'm never going to condone domestic violence and I'm definitely a little less excited about the Boley signing than I was before the injuries and the suspension, but if he can stay out of trouble from here on out, I see this situation blowing over in the long run.

Burress had nothing to do with the decline. Instead, it was a regression in the team’s sack rate that correlated well with the team’s dip in performance, culminating in the playoff game versus the Eagles in which — despite playing behind an offensive line missing multiple starters — Donovan McNabb was not sacked once

That pretty much echoes what many of us here at Big Blue View have been saying all offseason. I will give some credit to Donovan McNabb and the Eagles offense for avoiding what seemed like a lot of close calls, but the fact of the matter is the Giants pass rush ran out of gas at the end of the season.

The article only devotes two paragraphs to the additions the Giants made in the offseason, but I don't think it gives Jerry Reese enough credit for the pass rush he's assembled going into next season. Some GM's in this town would see that they had a position that was a strength for most of the past two years and which was returning a key injured player next season and say "we're fine, it'll still be a strength," igoring the fact that it was clearly a liability by the end of the season. Reese, on the other hand, identified the D-line as the engine that makes the Giants run and decided that just returning Osi wouldn't be enough, so he went out and signed an impact player in Canty and a key depth player in Bernard.

Now, it's certainly possible that these signings won't work out and Osi will be a shell of his former self and the Giants pass rush won't be very good, but that seems highly unlikely. Instead, it looks like the Giants will have one of the best pass rushes in a pass happy league, which worked well enough to net them the Lombardi Trophy two seasons ago. It's things like this, more than anything else, that get me really excited for the football season to start up again. Even though the Giants didn't win it all last year, I believe they are poised for a long run of success because they have a front office that just seems to understand what it takes to build a winning football team. As a fan, you can't ask for anything more.*

* For those of you who are also Mets fans, I'm sure you recognize that this rant was as much an indictment of Omar Minaya as it was an endorsement of Jerry Reese. It's been a tough month. three years. four decades. But hey, it could be worse: we could be Jets fans, too.

  • A good article from the Sporting News about new defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan and his plans for the Giants defense. I like the fact that it sounds like the Giants have become a defense that players from other teams want to play on, and that Sheridan plans to keep that style intact. I was a big Spagnuolo fan, but I also give a lot of credit for the Giants success to the scheme developed by former Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson, who in my mind is the most underrated football personality of the past decade. I'm very interested to see how his system is going to perform under a new disciple in Philly, a second-hand disciple for the Giants, and with much less talented players in St. Louis.