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The New York Giants are one of those franchises that has definite style, a way of playing that is easily identifiable as 'Giants Football.' It transcends generations, coaches and players.
Offensively, the most successful Giants' teams throughout history have been characterized by an opportunistic, run-first, manage the clock and do not lose the turnover battle style.
Defensively, we know what 'Giants Football' is. Smash-mouth, dominate the line of scrimmage, terrorize the quarterback defense that can -- and often has -- won football games all by itself.
Enter the 2010 NFL Draft, and the selections of defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul in the first round and defensive tackle Linval Joseph in the second. I know the early selections of a pair of defensive linemen, especially Pierre-Paul, raised some eyebrows because of the seeming abundance of talent already available at those spots and the need for players at other positions.
The reality is, though, that this is the Giant way. It is what they do, what they have always been about, and it has worked.
Think about all of the Giants' championship teams in the Super Bowl era. Each had a dominant defense whose calling card was a physical style and a fearsome pass rush.
1986 had Lawrence Taylor, Harry Carson, Carl Banks (yes, I know, linebackers), Leonard Marshall, Jim Burt and George Martin.
1990 had Taylor, Banks, Marshall and Pepper Johnson.
2007 had Michael Strahan, Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck and Antonio Pierce.
Obviously, some of those guys are linebackers and some are lineman. Notice, though, none of them are defensive backs. The Giants have always been about dominant play at the line of scrimmage, not shut-down play from the secondary. That shut-down play is nice, of course, but not how championship Giants' defenses have historically been built.
We also know that for the last decade or so, that Giants' defensive philosophy has focused mainly on the front four -- a philosophy that helped them win a Super Bowl in 2007.
That is why Pierre-Paul and Joseph are Giants today.The Giants live and die by the success and failure of their defensive front, and new defensive coordinator Perry Fewell's schemes won't change that essential fact.
Last year, we know they died with their front. We thought they had the horses, but some of them never left the barn and others spent most of the year handicapped.
The freakishly athletic Pierre-Paul and the massive, run-stuffing Joseph are here to make sure the Giants don't run out of horses again.