The Giants’ defense is busting at a league high rate and the Eagles offense found more success after two frustrating performances that produced 19 combined points. We dialed in on why the Giants’ defense is playing so poorly on The Kist & Solak Show #155.
Here’s a loose transcript from one segment of the show where I detail my issues with the mixture of their philosophy, roster construction, coaching, and talent:
“You look at the overall stats for the Giants defense, it’s not hard to tell where the weakness is, and it tells the same story as the film, because you couldn’t get through one drive against the Packers without seeing a wide open Allen Lazard flying down the field..
Football Outsiders’ DVOA has this as the 27th ranked defense, against the run they’re 11th, and they’re getting really solid interior play against the run with the rookie Dexter Lawrence, Dalvin Tomlinson, and BJ Hill.
Let’s isolate that point for a second before we continue. Those three: Lawrence, Tomlinson and Hill are the top 3 graded defenders for the Giants per PFF. Drafted in rounds 1, 2, and 3 respectively, all of them were drafted by Dave Gettleman.
The best pass rusher of their interior defenders is Leonard Williams, who they traded for with the Jets, since the trade he’s got the highest pass rush productivity percentage in that group and the most pressures and it’s not particularly close.
So they spent picks of 17, 55 and 69 overall on three interior players - stout against the run - and then they realized, ‘oh crap, none of them can rush the passer right now. Let’s trade a 2020 third round and a 2021 fifth rounder that can turn into a fourth if he’s extended for Leonard Williams because he can rush the passer a little bit.’
This underlines a big problem for the Giants, because with most of Markus Golden’s sack production coming in the beginning of the season, combined with not getting enough from second year guy Lorenzo Carter, they don’t have guys that can get after the quarterback.
They also don’t trust their secondary when it comes to blitzing, which is something James Bettcher wants to do at a high frequency but as we highlighted in the summer in our Eye On the Enemy preview of the Giants, he wasn’t able to blitz as much in 2018, saw a dramatic drop there, and given the current tools to play with he hasn’t been able to blitz much in 2019, so you have a conservative zone team with a lack of a pass rush, that type of time is going to get you carved up, hence the following…
(audio of that Eye On the Enemy preview below or click here)
The Giants are 30th in pass defense DVOA, 22nd on 3rd down, they are dead last on 4th down, allowed a 71% conversion rate on fourth, and we talked about how it feels like the Eagles are worse on 3rd down because they get smashed on 4th down.
Looking at more niche stats here, nobody is giving up more 40+ yard passing plays than the Giants. They’ve 14 allowed on the year. We talk about the Eagles having communication issues and busts in the vertical third, nobody is doing that like the Giants this year. 50 plays of 20 or more yards through the air and they’re allowing a first down on 37% of the passes against them, that’s 3rd worst in the league only behind, wait for it... Arizona, wait for it some more... and Miami.
Ben this is a defense lacking an identity. The philosophy either doesn’t match the talent or it’s a dumb philosophy from a roster construction standpoint because the talent isn’t good at what works at stopping NFL offenses. On top of all that it looks like they won’t have their best player in the secondary this year in Jabrill Peppers on Monday and even if he is available he’ll be extremely limited.
This defense is a mess, it was built for 1970, not 2020, this Eagles offense should take them behind the woodshed and there’s no excuse if they don’t.”
We continue to conversation before giving our final predictions on The Kist & Solak Show #155! Listen on the media player below or click here if the player doesn’t load. New to podcasts?! Check out our guide on how to listen to BGN! FLY EAGLES FLY!