New York Giants

2009 New York Giants' Defense: Shades Of 1986

Vinny YeagerCorrespondent IJune 22, 2009

When you think about the New York Giants organization, you automatically think about defense.

From the days of Sam Huff, too Lawrence Taylor, to even present day and the Super Bowl 42 winning team, the Giants have always been about hard nosed defense.

Yet, even though there have been great New York defenses, the 1986, Super Bowl winning team was one of the elite. Players such as Harry Carson, Carl Banks, Pepper Johnson, Leonard Marshall, George Martin, and of course Taylor, roamed the field for this outstanding squad that made offenses look embarrassing.

They were feared, and had a swagger about themselves, and made sure that none of their opponents left Giants Stadium without bumps and bruises, and black and blues.

Looking at the 2009 Giants, this team's defense has the ability to be just as good, or even better then that 1986 squad. Veteran players are coming back, free agents are filling vacant spots, and rookies are finding their role on the team.

Marshall and Leonard were two of the best Giant defensive lineman in the organization's great history, but Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck are looking to break that mark.

Umenyiora and Tuck, who have really started next to one another, can become one of the scariest tandems on the line. The combination of Tuck's strength and Umenyiora's speed can provide a lot of havoc for opposing offenses.

To go along with that lethal combination, New York also has veteran defensive tackles Fred Robbins and Barry Coefield, and two excellent free agent signings in defensive tackle Rocky Bernard and defensive line utility man, Chris Canty.

Although it is hard to compare anybody with the linebacker combination of Taylor, Carson, Johnson, Banks, and Reasons, this seasons Giants' linebackers are very solid.

Defensive captain and middle linebacker Antonio Pierce is coming back and ready to bring his defense back to the top. After Michael Strahan retired two years ago, Pierce has stepped up as the heart and soul of the defense.

Second year Giant Danny Clark and free agent acquisition, Michael Boley will line up beside Pierce and both bring unique qualities to the table. Clark is an excellent run stopper, and can also cover the pass, while Boley is quick and athletic, and can probably run with most tight ends and running backs in the league.

The 1986 defense did not really have that stand out defensive back, but the 2009 defensive back field is on the verge of being great.

Corner back Corey Webster as the been the number one man ever since the 2007 post season, and is counter part Aaron Ross should have a nice bounce back year after a rather disappointing campaign in 2008.

Kevin Dockery and Terrel Thomas, who have both made a splash over the past few seasons, will also get some more valuable time in certain packages.

Kenny Phillips, the Giants' 2008 first round draft pick, is looked upon to be the next great safety in the league. He a big time player, who can run and hit with recklessness, which is exactly what New York needs. Michael Johnson, who emerged as a starter last season, will be relied on to have another successful season.

The 1986 New York Giants' defense is one of the greatest of all time, and the 2009 team is trying to capture that same title.


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