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New York Giants’ midseason review: Linebackers not making the grade

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Position once again a problem spot for the Giants

New York Giants vs Dallas Cowboys
B.J. Goodson tackles Ezekiel Elliott.
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Linebacker is a position on the New York Giants’ defense that fans have been complaining about since before Big Blue View was born in 2007. Again this season, the position has been an issue.

The Giants are 23rd in the league against the run. They have 10 tackles for loss through seven games from their linebackers. Four of those come from Devon Kennard, who splits his time between linebacker and the defensive line. Per Football Outsiders, the Giants are 22nd in the league in covering both tight ends and running backs — duties which fall primarily to linebackers.

The problem isn’t that Kennard, Goodson, Jonathan Casillas and Keenan Robinson are bad players. It’s just that none are truly complete do-everything players. And none really qualify as impact players. Goodson had 18 tackles in the season opener, but he’s been hurt a couple of times since then and has just 24 tackles since that debut. Pro Football Focus has Casillas as the 72nd-ranked linebacker out of 82 they have graded. Goodson is also in the “poor” category.

Overall grade: I’m giving Kennard “Kudos” for playing well while bouncing around to multiple spots. The position as a whole, though, gets a “Wet Willie.”