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New York Giants' 2012 Season In Review: The defense -- an outside view

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Breaking down the failings of the Giants defense in 2012 with Jim Sabo of Ourlads NFL Scouting Services.

Corey Webster
Corey Webster
The Star-Ledger-US PRESSWIRE

When you assess anything, whether that be personnel on an NFL team or something else, ti can be helpful to hear some outside opinions. When trying to assess the 2012 New York Giants I reached out to Ourlads NFL Scouting Services for some outside opinion.

Ourlads Depth Chart Coordinator Jim Sabo, an analyst with three decades of experience breaking down film and a contributor to Giants Insider, spent some time discussing the Giants with me. What we will do is examine Sabo's thoughts on the Giants in two parts -- the offense and the defense.

Today, we look at the defense and gets Sabo's thoughts on many of the players the Giants have to make decisions about this off-season. First, though, a quick thought from Sabo on the 9-7 playoff-less season the Giants just completed.

"I think they under-achieved. I think the talent was there," Sabo said. "Now whether it was all the injuries or whether it was Super Bowl flu or whether it was these guys just not listening anymore, tuning people out. I don't know what it was, but they should have been better."

I think most people would agree with that, including the Giants themselves. Now, on to Sabo's thoughts on the defense.

Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell

"I'm not crazy about the job he's done this year," Sabo said. "Is he a good coach? I think he is, but it's the same old story. He can't go out there and make plays for the guys, but something's not right with this defense.

"It all starts with that pass rush. When that pass rush is going Fewell's a good coach.

"It wouldn't break my heart if he got a head coaching job someplace else."

Corey Webster

"He was absolutely horrible this year. I don't know what happened to him, I don't know why all of a sudden he just went bad," Sabo said. "My opinion is that they ought to get rid of him and start over in that secondary, especially at corner."

Webster is owed $7 million last season and Sabo feels the only way he should return is if the Giants transition him to safety.

"I don't see him as a viable corner anymore," Sabo said. :I think he has better safety skills right now than he has corner skills. He just can't cover man-to-man, but I think he can do some zone ... I think he can play some center field.

"I think they'd like to rid themselves of that contract. That would be the wise thing to do."

Justin Tuck

Sabo echoed the thoughts of many Giants' fans about the defensive end who has now had two sub-par seasons in a row.

"I don't know if he's got his heart in the game anymore, I really don't," Sabo said. "I can't believe that he's just fallen off the way he has ... he's just not getting it done.

"Whether you give him another year or not I don't know. He's just done nothing the last couple of years. I don't know if Tuck's part of the future or not. I really don't."

Kenny Phillips

We have already debated Phillips' future, and I'm sure that won't be the last time with him heading into free agency. Here is Sabo's take:

"I think he's gone, I really do. I don't think they'll re-sign him," Sabo said. "He had that micro-fracture surgery and that's pretty bad. A lot of guys don't come back from that. They had such high hopes for him and that really robbed his career.

"I don't see them bringing him back with the injuries. There's always something going on with him. I definitely don't see him back."

Chase Blackburn [US PRESSWIRE]


General manager Jerry Reese said this week that the Giants "have to have better linebacker play moving forward." Sabo agreed:

"I think they've got the most work to do at linebacker," Sabo said. "I'd like to see them move Kiwi back to d-end permanently and just blow up the rest of the linebackers. Maybe Jacquian Williams I would bring back.

"[Keith] Rivers. I thought he was going to be a great deal, but he hasn't turned out to do anything. [Spencer] Paysinger, you're seeing how bad he can be when he's playing now. [Michael] Boley, it's just a mess."

Here are Sabo's thoughts on some of the individual linebackers.

Michael Boley

"Boley started off OK, three picks in the first three games. But, boy, he's been missing in action the rest of the time. I can see him being a guy that needs to go."

Chase Blackburn

"I love the guy, but he shouldn't be starting. I'd love to see Chase Blackburn be a backup linebacker, play some special teams. I like his heart, I like his desire, good teammate, all of that. Good teammate, all of that. But, he should not be a starting middle linebacker," Sabo said.

"Really limited athletically, and it shows. They have nothing going up the middle to stop the run. The D-tackles are not keeping blockers off those guys, and he can't handle it. He's not strong enough or he's not athletic enough to do the job in there."

Mark Herzlich

"I thought he would have replaced Blackburn early in the year. Obviously he's not getting it done, either," Sabo said. "Great story, decent special teams guy, but I don't see him as a starter."

Defensive Tackle

As you saw above, Sabo was not impressed by the play of this group in 2012. Here is the lump sum of his comments on the defensive tackles:"[Chris] Canty's a good guy. I like him, he tries hard, plays with fire but he's another injury guy and I'm worried about him. He's getting up in age, missing time.

"Linval Joseph. I like him a lot but I thought he would be a little better than he is already. I thought this was gonna be his breakout year.

"Marvin Austin is a zero. He's either hurt or can't play, he's just a huge disappointment.

"Rocky Bernard. I think he's finished.

"I think you gotta bring a guy in in free agency or high in the draft that you can count on to be a starter pretty quick next to Joseph."


We will get to Sabo's thoughts on some of the offensive personnel in a subsequent post. Thoughts on this defensive breakdown, Giants' fans?