Player-by-Player Report Card for the New York Giants: Defensive Edition
We've now graded every single key player that took a snap in the NFC East in 2012, except for those who played defense for the New York Giants. We cap off our 2012 report card series with a full rundown of how each significant Giant defender performed in another 9-7 but far-less-rewarding season.
Jason Pierre-Paul: B
It was sort of a disappointing third season for JPP, whom many felt would make a serious run at the single-season sack record after busting out in a dangerous way in Year 2. Instead, he had only 6.5 sacks, which is only two more than he picked up despite not starting a single game as a rookie.
Osi Umenyiora: C-
Just six sacks for Umenyiora despite playing a full season in his big contract year. From that perspective, it was a tie for his worst season since he came into the league in 2003. Clearly, the 31-year-old has run out of gas, and New York looks smart for not giving in and offering him a long-term deal last year.
Justin Tuck: D
At least Tuck was a better run defender than Umenyiora, but he only had 32 total pressures on 389 pass-rushing snaps (per Pro Football Focus), which made him one of the least productive pass-rushers in the NFL.
Linval Joseph: B+
Young, versatile and getting better every year. Joseph does pretty much everything the Giants expect from him.
Chris Canty: C
He's now a former Giant because the veteran simply wasn't living up to his contract. He missed seven games due to injury and lacked consistency when he returned.
Rocky Bernard: C
He started early with Canty out and did a pretty good job as a run stuffer. But a quadriceps injury forced him out of the lineup for a few weeks at around midseason and he was never the same after that. Bernard had seven pressures in the first four games and just one the rest of the year.
Jacquian Williams: A-
The 23-year-old once again flashed an ability to become a tackle machine in his second season. He's rangy and fast and doesn't make a lot of mistakes. Don't be surprised if he's a starter in Week 1 next year.
Mathias Kiwanuka: C-
The 29-year-old tied a career low with just three sacks and completely disappeared when the Giants needed him down the stretch. What's strange is that his tackle totals plummeted because he got to rush the passer far more often in 2012, and yet his sack and pressure numbers didn't change much, if at all.
Keith Rivers: D+
He was one of the best players on the field in the season opener against Dallas but then dealt with hamstring and calf injuries and was never the same. If he can stay healthy, he can be a valuable backup, but there's little reason to believe that can happen.
Michael Boley: D+
The eight-year veteran was released after a terrible season. He was completely ineffective as a run defender and a pass-rusher and simply wasn't worth the money. Pro Football Focus ranked him 108th out of 111 outside linebackers.
Who should start at MLB for the Giants next season?
Chase Blackburn: D+
Some commenters didn't like it when I recently called Blackburn overrated, but one guy summed it up nicely: He's overrated as a starter, underrated as a backup. I'm not sure I agree with the second part completely, but I'll admit he could still be useful in a reserve role. The veteran is far too sloppy and slow to start in this league.
Mark Herzlich: D+
The second-year man didn't get a lot of opportunities behind Blackburn, but he did make two starts and really struggled. I don't think he's anything more than a career backup, but he does have the ability to prove me wrong.
Prince Amukamara: B+
Solid first full season for Amukamara, and thank goodness, because if not for him this secondary would have been a train wreck of historic proportions. The 2011 first-round pick gave up only 33 catches on 63 targets and surrendered just two touchdowns.
Jayron Hosley: D
Despite taking about half the total number of snaps, Hosley somehow gave up as many receptions and more yards and touchdowns than Amukamara did. Rough rookie year for the Virginia Tech product, who also has to work on his run defense and his tackling if he wants to stay employed in this league.
Corey Webster: F
What the hell happened to him this year? Was there a secret injury or did he just have money on all 13 of the Giants' opponents? Webster was an above-average corner heading into 2012, and then he gave up eight touchdowns and 988 yards, both ranking in the bottom three in the NFL. It might have been bad enough to get him cut.
Kenny Phillips: B
He couldn't stay on the field much this year, but a healthy Phillips is still much, much better than any defensive back on this roster. He's good in coverage, good against the run and he can even rush the passer here and there. He might not be an interception machine, but he's still a stud.
Stevie Brown: B-
Kudos to Brown for stepping up and making some huge plays with Phillips hurt. The only problem was that he was often an all-or-nothing safety. The 25-year-old had eight picks, but he also allowed a lot of completions and missed 10 tackles.
Antrel Rolle: C-
Rolle was once again awful in coverage and he missed a team-high 12 tackles. I realize he's asked to do a lot of things he's not completely comfortable with, but there's no versatility. It was a disappointing year for him.
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