Sports on Earth hasn't been very kind to the New York Giants in recent weeks, ranking their receivers at No. 18 overall and their front seven as one of the very worst in the league. However, after spending a majority of the offseason shoring up their secondary, the boys over at Sports on Earth took notice.
In their most recent unit power rankings feature, Big Blue was listed as having the No. 4 overall secondary in the NFL.
The Giants entered the offseason with a great safety (Antrel Rolle), an outstanding nickel defender (Trumaine McBride) and lots of questions. They then added Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Walter Thurmond and Quentin Demps to fill in the ample cracks. For the Giants, that's roughly six years' worth of free-agent acquisitions in a month, and the results should be immediate.
DRC and Thurmond both arrive with some questions, but Rodgers-Cromartie's ability to gamble-and-bait is a major step up from Terrell Thomas' attempt to recapture his pre-multiple-ACL-tear form, while Thurmond was a valuable role player in Seattle before injuries and suspensions. Prince Amukamara allows too many short receptions but few deep ones, and he is still developing after an early career filled with injuries. Amukamara and DRC should complement each other well, while McBride was a 2013 revelation after years of practice squad and bench bouncing.
Rolle, meanwhile, leads a safety corps that excelled at shutting down long running plays last year, and Demps is a natural free safety who can allow Rolle to prowl close to the line of scrimmage. The Giants secondary stats looked great last year. Part of that was Rolle and McBride (and Amukamara and Thomas' ability to keep things manageable), part of it was coordinator Perry Fewell, who adjusts his system to keep players out of bad positions. But part of it was a terrible offense that allowed opponents to play conservatively to beat the Giants. Fewell, Rolle and some others are still here, but with all the reinforcements, they won't need the offense to look bad to make the secondary look better.
The Giants' secondary could have been even better had Will Hill not gotten him suspended and subsequently released. It also took a bit of a competitive hit when Jayron Hosley later found himself suspended — also for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
However, even with those two losses (one temporary and the other permanent), the Giants still have a tremendous amount of talent in their secondary. The big key, as it always is, will be their ability to stay healthy.
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