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Markus Golden: Big year would pay off for him, and for the Giants

Ex-Cardinal being counted on to provide pass rush

Oakland Raiders v Arizona Cardinals
Markus Golden with Arizona last season.
Photo by Rob Leiter/Getty Images

Lorenzo Carter is the New York Giants edge player who has been getting all of the attention so far in training camp. Justifiably so. Carter is a player the Giants desperately need to take a step forward this season, and thus far in training camp he has been fantastic.

Still, one player isn’t enough to make a successful pass rush. Unless, maybe that player is Lawrence Taylor, Reggie White or J.J. Watt.

The Giants need at least one player other than Carter, preferably two, to become pass-rushing forces. The player the Giants are pinning much of their hopes on to join Carter in terrorizing opposing quarterbacks is Markus Golden, formerly of the Arizona Cardinals.

“Don’t ever forget that before that [his 2017 knee injury] he was one of the best pass rushers in this league,” defensive coordinator James Bettcher said in the spring. “People had to plan for him.”

Golden, of course, is really the only Giant with a pass-rushing resume. He had 12.5 sacks for the Cardinals in 2016 in the year Bettcher referred to, but just 2.5 in 15 games since as a 2017 torn ACL has gotten in the way.

“I feel healthy. I feel good,” Golden told me a few days ago.

Golden, 28, has been splitting first-team reps with Kareem Martin during the early part of camp.

GM Dave Gettleman said recently that it’s important for young players to make plays at this time of year to build confidence. Golden told me “it’s always important to make plays,” but he finds himself in a different frame of mind than a first- or second-year player. He already has accomplishments to fall back on.

“I try to focus on staying healthy. As long as I can stay healthy and I feel good I know I can get out there and compete at a high level,” Golden said.

“The last two years injuries have been bugging me. I know if I can stay healthy I can get out there and compete at 100 percent.”

When the season begins, Golden figures to be on one edge with Carter on the other. Third-round pick Oshane Ximines figures to work into the mix as an additional pass rusher.

Asked if the 12.5-sack version of himself still exists three seasons later, Golden said “I know it is.”

“I’m working hard. I’m feeling good,” Golden said. “I’m not here to talk about how I’m gonna do this, do that. At the end of the day you’ve gotta get out there and prove it.”

Golden is on a one-year “prove it” deal with the Giants. If he can be something close to the player he was in 2016, that will be a huge boost to the Giants’ pass rush. And Golden’s bank account.