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Giants’ Xavier McKinney: ‘It’s pretty simple’ — the Giants just need to tackle better

It certainly has not looked simple the past two games

New York Giants v San Francisco 49ers
George Kittle of the San Francisco 49ers stiff arms Xavier McKinney during Thursday’s game.
Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

New York Giants safety Xavier McKinney had to know the line of questioning that was coming on Monday when he met with New York media via Zoom. Considering that the Giants have missed 28 tackles in their last two games, have yet to force a turnover and are giving up 32.7 points per game the poor performance had to be discussed.

So, what is going on with the tackling?

“Just need to be better tacklers,” McKinney said. “Something we’ve gotta practice, but then most importantly on Sundays just gotta be better. I think it’s pretty simple.”

In three games, the 1-2 Giants have played one solid quarter of defense. That quarter was enough to help earn a Week 2 come-from-behind victory over the Arizona Cardinals. It won’t be good enough to become a good defense.

What’s going on?

“Like I said, it’s kind of, to go back to what I just said, we’ve just got to be better all around. I think a lot of us know that,” McKinney said. “Individually, we’ve got to be better, we’ve got to have faster starts, and we’ve got to execute a lot better, we’ve got to be a lot cleaner, be a lot sharper. I think it’s pretty simple. There’s only so much talking you can do about it. We’ve got to go out there and do these things and execute and be able to execute at a high level. So, once we do that, we’ll be fine.”

What did McKinney see when he watched the tape from the 30-12 Week 3 loss to the San Francisco 49ers?

“Just not good enough execution. We’ve got to be a lot better. We’ve got to tackle. We’ve got to get turnovers,” McKinney said. “So, it’s a lot a lot of different things that we’ve got to be better with. We’re going to stick to the script, regardless of what’s going on. We’re going to keep doing it how we’ve been doing it, keep preparing how we’ve been preparing, and it’ll pay off for us.”

Are the struggles on defense, and the team’s 1-2 record, as simple as tackling better?

“Obviously, we’ve got to tackle, but that’s not why we lost two games. We’ve got to be better with it, but that’s not the reason to us having last two games, in my opinion. The fundamentals matter, and we’ve got to be a lot better in that aspect, which we will. But that’s not the reason why the games are going how they’re going,” McKinney said. “[There’s] a lot of other different things that we’ve got to correct and be better with, and like I said, fundamentals matter and they’re always going to matter, and we’ll be better with it. I’m not going to stress too much over that, because I know that we’re a good tackling team.

“Obviously, we’re just going through a little hiccup, but like I said, we’ll correct it, and we’ll keep moving forward. Not going to stress over it, though.”

How can the defense force turnovers?

“I don’t think that we’ve gotten — we don’t have any turnovers. I think those are two of the big keys in my mind,” McKinney said. “Right now, we’re just trying to figure out a way where we can be able to force these turnovers. For me as an individual, that’s something that I’m constantly trying to figure out, is how to be able to force turnovers and get the ball back for our offense. I think that’s two of the reasons. Even the game that we won, we still didn’t have any turnovers that game. So, really in the three games that we’ve played, I think that’s the biggest thing for me and for our defense.”

Are you buying what McKinney is selling, that the Giants have thus far had a defensive “hiccup” and that things will get better?

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