The New York Giants might be missing several key pieces on defense, but their unit currently ranks 12th in overall points allowed per game. In rushing yards allowed, they rank seventh in the NFL and a bit below average in the secondary, allowing 257.7 yards per game, good for 23rd.
What defensive coordinator Patrick Graham has done to this unit to make them successful has been extraordinary, disciplining them and teaching them a system that seems to work even against the best teams. The Giants held the Washington Football Team to 20 points and the Eagles to 17 points in consecutive weeks, and reports have indicated that they could be gaining reinforcements soon.
Joe Judge stated that he expects…
S: Xavier McKinney
OLB: Oshane Ximines
LB: Tae Crowder
CB: Ryan Lewis
All to return at some point this season, more tools for Patrick Graham.@JordanRaanan reported
— Alex Wilson (@AlexWilsonESM) November 18, 2020
ESPN’s Jordan Raanan reports that head coach Joe Judge expects to get back Xavier McKinney, Oshane Ximines, Ryan Lewis, and Tae Crowder in the coming weeks.
McKinney went down with a fractured foot before the regular season even began, and he has been rehabilitating ever since. As the top-rated safety in the 2020 NFL draft, the Giants were expecting big things from him on defense, especially after forcing seven turnovers with Alabama in 2019. He will be a key cog on defense for them, likely rotating with Julian Love to start his career at free safety.
The best part about McKinney, he is a student of the game and carry’s himself in a professional way. He is fantastic in cover 1 defense, something Graham used 50% of the time while with the Miami Dolphins last year. Ultimately, it will completely open up the defense and what they can do with their pass rushers.
As for Ximines, he was battling a shoulder injury and was placed on injured reserve. Getting him back will help the pass rush unit, which is severely thin with the absence of Lorenzo Carter and the Giants trading away Markus Golden.
Ryan Lewis at cornerback was slowly making strides at CB2, locking down the position and leaving Isaac Yiadom behind. He played so well that the Giants found Corey Ballentine was expendable, and they proceeded to waive him. He eventually landed with the Jets across town. Lewis is a feisty former undrafted free agent corner with plenty of potential, and while he was up and down with his performances, he saw plenty of progress.
Finally, linebacker Tae Crowder, who paired well with Blake Martinez as the inside man. Crowder was the last pick in the 2020 NFL draft and earned starting reps this year, which is an indication of his upside.
I believe Crowder is more of a solid depth piece, but there’s always a possibility he emerges and surprises everyone. I would like to see more aggression from him, but he is a fundamentally sound player with good football instincts.
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