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Best Defense He’s Ever Coached? Giants DC Steve Spagnuolo Won’t Bite

Maybe it will be, but Spags is right to deflect that question now

NFL: New York Jets at New York Giants Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Could the 2017 New York Giants be the best defense that coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has ever coached? Asked that on Thursday, Spags wanted no part of it.

“I would never go there. We haven’t played the first game yet,” Spagnuolo said.

It was premature to ask the question, but with everyone but Johnathan Hankins back and with safety Darian Thompson returning from injury, thinking it’s possible isn’t wrong.

“I think we have to have some depth. We have to stay healthy. I think that’s really important,” said Spagnuolo, in the third year of his second stint as Giants defensive coordinator. “You all made mention of it last year with the number of reps certain guys got. We have to try and not allow that to happen again this year. Maybe it will. Maybe it won’t. The best way to do that is make sure they don’t run 80 plays in a game. We have to keep it down a little bit, but we’ll see what happens.”

Here are some other takeaways from Spagnuolo’s Thursday press briefing.

On how Ezekiel Elliott changes the Dallas offense ...

“He’s a premier back. There’s 32 in the world that play that position. There’s 32 teams. There are some really good backs, but he obviously proved last year that he makes an offense go. I know they have a really good offensive line, but he’s able to do all the things you want a great back to do. He has great vision. He can run inside. He bounces it outside. He turns the corner and it’s scary and he runs with power. I mean, he’s not an easy back to take down. He’s become a good pass receiver, too, so we have to worry about that. He’s a guy we have to respect and we have to go out and always be concerned about. When No. 21 is out there, we have to be concerned about it.”

On the matchup between Janoris Jenkins and Dez Bryant ...

“Two really good football players. Jackrabbit and Dez. Dez can wreck a football game. Rabbit can go out there and cover some people. I think it’ll be a great battle. In those kinds of battles, sometimes in the course of the game, you win some, you lose some. From a defensive standpoint, if you happen to lose one somehow, you have to make up for it. I’m sure that’s the way Rabbit thinks. But, he’s looking forward to it. We’re all looking forward to it. I’m sure Dez Bryant is too. That’s a good player. Good size and, again, we have to find a way not to let him wreck the football game because he could do that.”