The Giants’ run defense has been absolutely atrocious this season, and a lot of the blame has to fall squarely on the shoulders of their linebackers. New York has to find some way to stop the bleeding, as they cannot afford to give up an average of 5.0 yards per carry all season.
Michael Boley is the Giants’ signal-caller, so he is on the field for just about every defensive snap. While Boley has been a playmaker when dropping into coverage—he has three interceptions on the season—he hasn’t been as sturdy against the run.
Middle linebacker Chase Blackburn usually lines up next to Boley. The one-time middle school math teacher enjoyed a fairytale interim role during last year’s Super Bowl run, but he simply hasn’t played up to par this season. That’s not very surprising, though, since the team gave Mark Herzlich a wide-open shot to usurp the starting position in training camp. Herzlich didn’t deliver, so Blackburn retained the starting job by default.
The Giants have not had consistency at the third linebacker position. Mathias Kiwanuka has started taking more snaps along the offensive line, and Jacquian Williams and Keith Rivers have had limited opportunities to make an impact.
The Giants sit in their five-defensive back set very often, which leaves an overabundance of responsibility on Boley and Blackburn to stop the run. New York will have to find a better way to counter this deficiency, because the current unit/scheme isn’t making the plays it needs to.
Midterm Grade: D+