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How are the Giants tackling their tackling problem?

Players say there has been an emphasis on it in practice, and it will require doing the “little things” correctly

New York Giants v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

Tackling, or lack of it, has been a major problem for the New York Giants over their first three games. The Giants have missed 31 tackles, third-most in the NFL.

“I think we can do a much better job tackling,” said defensive lineman Leonard Williams. “I think we can do a better job in a lot of areas on defense, but overall, I think that we are on that right track. The way we played against San Fran and the way we’ve been continually growing is a good thing for the defense right now, I think we are on the right track.”

The Giants practiced in pads on Thursday, and linebacker Bobby Okereke said a “tackling circuit” was part of the defensive work.

“We put an emphasis on it today at practice,” said linebacker Bobby Okereke. “I had a coach always tell me that tackling is all about technique and desire. We all have a great desire to tackle, now it’s just cleaning up the technique and we’ll get it right.”

Cornerback Adoree’ Jackson said tackling better as a team is about doing the “little things” correctly.

“I feel like just wrapping up, thudding up. Good angles to the ball, 11 hats to the ball, just the little things – effort, running to the ball, angles, thudding up and wrapping up,” he said. “I just think 11 hats running to the ball, effort is just something that everybody does. Regardless of what may happen, 11 hats to the ball, effort, I don’t think of it as a bad thing, I’d say. Just do it. It’s one of those things, you just get it done.”

John Michael Schmitz handling the chaos

The Giants’ offensive line has been in a constant state of flux around him for the first three games of his NFL career, but rookie center John Michael Schmitz is taking it in stride.

“You’ve got to be able to adjust,” Schmitz said. “You never know what’s going to happen. You’ve got to be ready to just go out there, whoever the five that are out there, and go and compete.”

Appreciating Geno

Leonard Williams was a member of the New York Jets in 2015 when teammate IK Enemkpali sucker-punched quarterback Geno Smith. All these years later, after flaming out with the Jets and barely playing from 2015 to 2021, Smith made the Pro Bowl a season ago as Seattle’s starter.

Williams gave his former teammate props this week.

“To me, it’s awesome to see because when I first came in the league, he was the starting quarterback for the Jets, and it was a crazy eye opener for me to see – he got punched by a linebacker in the locker room and I was just like a rookie seeing this and was just like whoa,” Williams said. “Since that moment, he kind of like got his opportunity taken away from him and he was trying to climb back and things like that. It’s really cool to see him in a system that’s working well for him, and he seems to be loving it over there and doing well.

Especially at the quarterback position, it doesn’t happen often. I feel like he just kept his head down, kept grinding and he’s also in a system that works well for him. You can tell he just seems more comfortable and confident out there.”