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Film Study: Devon Kennard is the future for the Giants' defense

Let's hit the film room and take a look at one of the more promising players for the Giants

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Nothing seems to be going right for the New York Giants. At 3-7, the team really doesn't do much to stem the misery of us Giants fans. You know it's bad when every debate at this point pretty much centers around firing someone.

So let's do something different. Let's talk about something positive because being grumpy all the time is bad for my health (literally, I don't think my liver can take much more -- only kidding).

The Beezer Brigade (of which I'm still not a part of, thank you very much) is a well known contingent around here. I've teased them well enough with prospects like Kyle Van Noy last year, or Bernardrick McKinney this year. So I'm going to talk about a guy that is actually on the team. That is, of course, Devon Kennard. I'm going to talk about his game against the San Francisco 49ers and why I agree with Carl Banks' take that he "is the future at linebacker."

He Stays Disciplined


Really, this is the biggest thing for any Giants linebacker. Play with discipline. I believe Kennard is the guy lined up on the edge as the strongside guy. He's the one that takes on the pulling guard no.77 and allows Herzlich to make the play. Notice before contact, Kennard faces inside and lowers his shoulder before quickly disengaging. His strength doesn't move him from that area and quickness in disengaging from the guard's block forces Gore inside and intoHerzlich. If Kennard crashes and takes too wide of an angle, he might get knocked outside and form a crease for Gore to run through. Instead, he jumps back in and helps make the tackle. It's these little things that make you a good player. This is very subtle.

He's Smart and Keeps Contain


I guess this goes under discipline as well, but it was so good, we felt we needed to add to it. Kennard's responsibility is to keep contain on the outside edge. He's supposed to hold the line of scrimmage and stay in coverage in case Colin Kaepernick decides to throw an outlet pass in his direction. That' why you see him flowing laterally pretty much at the 9-yard line.

Once he sees Kaepernick starting to tuck and run, he uses his athleticism to take a phenomenal angle and nail him for a loss. There's few LBs athletic enough and smart enough to take down a speedster like Kaepernick like that. Kennard flashed it, albeit for one play, right here. That makes me excited.

His Athleticism Lets Him Be A 3-Down Linebacker


Another very subtle observation on this routine play here, but Kennard's athleticism is outstanding. He's playing middle linebacker here in coverage. I believe this is a third down if I'm not mistaken (and I'm mistaken a lot). That's why you see all the 'backers backpedaling to the orange line and giving Gore a free release and catch. His change of direction is outstanding as he gets the catch, makes a nice adjustment, and his closing speed is all you need from an LB. This seems routine, but how many times have you seen an RB burning one of our linebackers on similar plays?

His Block Shedding Is Advanced


Kennard is lined up this time as the strong-side linebacker (because he's lined up above the tight end) on this running play. He engages said tight end and is able to get disengage pretty easily using his leverage and is the first guy on Carlos Hyde. An assist should be given to Johnathan Hankins, who blows up All-Pro guard Mike Iupati, shoving him back and closing off the anticipated lane. This is what gets me excited about Kennard, though. Stack, shed, tackle. Textbook. He does this consistently.

Final Word

I think Kennard is the future. In a 4-3 scheme, he definitely seems like an SLB, not a WILL or MIKE. He's got the requisite size and speed to crash down and take on tight ends. He also gives the Giants an excellent weapon against running backs or full backs in the passing game. If the Giants decide to switch to a 3-4 scheme, I think he can be a very good SILB. His blitzing ability, though not shown here, is as good as anybody else we have on the roster and his aforementioned stack and shed abilities lend him well to this.

All in all, in a year, we'll all be looking at Devon Kennard as a young player not only worth keeping, but one that's thriving in whatever defense we choose to run. Now if only he had some help...