Power. Strength. Versatility. Any of these adjectives could be used to describe the defensive line of the New York Giants throughout the NFL playoffs this season. The Giants, their coaches, and their fans will be counting on this line to have a repeat performance of their Super Bowl performance four years ago when they repeatedly sacked Brady, and pressured him all game long.
A Unique Approach
There aren’t too many teams in the National Football League that can get consistent pressure on a quarterback with just their front four, but when Justin Tuck, Chris Canty, Jason Pierre-Paul, and Osi Umenyiora, get after the quarterback, the do so with astounding success. Throughout this post-season, the New York Giants lead all playoff teams with nine sacks. As a comparison, two of the league’s top defenses (Ravens and Steelers) had just one sack between them. What’s even more surprising is that they do it almost exclusively with their defensive line. Typically defenses rely on a blitzing linebacker or safety to generate the extra pressure needed to hurry a throw or bring the quarterback to the ground. The Giants rarely blitz, sending just their front four 63% of the time according to footballinsiders.com.
The Need for Speed
When we talk about speed with this Giants defensive line, we aren’t talking about them breaking any world records in the 100 meter dash, rather, the speed in which they can get to the quarterback. This is more about taking the right angle and the right approach against the offensive blockers, anticipating where the quarterback wants to move, and meeting him at that spot. Few teams get to the quarterback quicker and more consistently than the New York Giants.
Most pundits, including many here in the All Sports Talk offices, are convinced that the best way to beat Tom Brady (or any quarterback for that matter), is to get as much pressure as possible, while dropping as many defenders into coverage as possible. I’m not sure any team in the NFL is more equipped to handle that challenge than the New York Giants. They have the potential to change the course of Super Bowl XLVI.