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Steve Spagnuolo downplays significance of sacks

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Since the Giants don’t get any, that is probably a good plan

Washington Redskins v New York Giants Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

A year ago, the New York Giants defense registered just 23 quarterback sacks, a franchise low for a 16-game season. This season, the Giants are on pace to obliterate that record. They have a league-low four in five games, a pace which would net them just 13 (12.8 to be exact) for the season.

It’s a good thing, then, that Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo doesn’t care about that number.

“I only really know the sack numbers when somebody tells me. Sacks are great, they're effective, they make a huge difference. It is not the telltale, in my opinion. It's not one of the statistics that we use that has a great correlation between points allowed and points not scored. To us, we take the most important that correlate most to points allowed,” Spagnuolo said on Thursday.

And those numbers are?

“Quarterback rating, First- and second-down rushing stats. There's like 10 of them that we use, explosive plays. Sacks is not one of them,” Spagnuolo said. “Some people do use it though, I will tell you that. I will say this. Would we like to have more? Yes. We would like to have more pressure on the quarterback? Yes. I do think that there are moments in there where we are hitting and getting pressure on the quarterback that don't show up on a stat sheet. But, we need more.”

Spagnuolo did seem to admit he would like to have more pressure on opposing passers.

“I can feel that, even in the course of the game, that I would like to have the quarterback either pressured sooner or hit earlier, more times. I can feel that in the game. But, I'm evaluating the scheme,” he said. “Look, I think we got the right guys. We got some guys that are banged-up, dinged-up, can't use certain parts of their body so that makes it a little bit difficult. But, the guys are fighting through that. My hope is that it will get better and we'll continue to improve. Can't do anything about the past five games.”

Here are some other takeaways from Spagnuolo’s Thursday session with the media.

On the Ravens emphasizing downfield shots with new offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg ...

“That was the immediate [thought] that we had. I know Joe, I think he's a terrific quarterback. That guy is one of the toughest football players, not just quarterbacks. He gets hit a lot but he always bounces back up; it doesn't faze him. He's got a big arm. He's a smart football player. Loved being around him for two years. Knowing him and what you read, I believe that one of the emphasis will be to get the ball downfield. We're planning on that being one of the focuses. ...

“Knowing John Harbaugh, I still think it will begin where John always wants it to begin and that's running the football. I don't think that would change. But, I do know that they believe in explosive plays and one of the ways they get them is to throw the ball downfield.”

On whether the revolving door in the secondary limits what he can do ...

“Yes, a little bit. We certainly want to play fast but we don’t want to scramble up their brains. Andrew Adams has done a nice job. Landon has been the rock back there. Leon Hall really stepping in there being a safety when he’s really a corner. They’ve done a nice job. Would be nice to get some of these guys back. It would really help. All the guys that have had all the reps at safety in training camp and in OTAs. you would like to get those guys back out there. It’s part of what happens in the league.”

On Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie playing through injury ...

“He’s terrific to work with. I think he wishes he was completely healthy too. I think the role that he accepted and excelled at when he moved inside a little bit at training camp. That helped us tremendously. We haven’t been able to do that lately because we lost two guys on the outside. We’ve been pleased with what DRC has been able to do. We would like to get him out there a little bit more. We’ll see this week.”