One thing that makes New York Giants’ defensive coordinator Patrick Graham stellar is that he doesn’t stall with his adjustments. Early on in the 2020 campaign, the Giants had a significant issue at the No. 2 corner position, but Graham didn’t waste any time rotating players to find a solution.
Starting with Corey Ballentine, who allowed an 83.3% completion rate, 65 yards, and a touchdown on just 22% of the defensive stops leading up to the present day, Graham quickly moved on to Isaac Yiadom, former third-round pick of the Denver Broncos. General manager Dave Gettleman spent a conditional seventh-rounder to acquire Yiadom, but he ultimately proved to be just as bad in coverage as Ballentine.
According to PFF, Yiadom enjoyed a 30.4 coverage grade over four games before being benched. While he was decent in run defense, his inability to hold up in coverage was his primary job, which he failed at miserably.
Since then, the Giants have installed former undrafted free agent Ryan Lewis into their secondary. At 6-foot and 195 pounds, Lewis has experience in Graham’s scheme, having played with him in Miami last season. He played in 293 total snaps and is already at 197 with the Giants this year. His run defense is extremely poor, but his coverage grades have been far better alongside James Bradberry at corner.
Against Washington in week six, he landed a 71.7 grade, holding Terry McLaurin to 74 yards through the air.
Should the New York Giants feel confident at CB2?
Now, I wouldn’t cement Lewis at the CB2 spot, as I would like to see more consistency from him and improvement in run defense. There’s a long way to go before the Giants can feel confident with him as their starter, but he is a short term solution for the time being unless he explodes onto the scene and completely revitalizes the position after the departure of the DeAndre Baker.
Through six weeks, the Giants currently rank 16th in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game with 235.5. However, their run defense has been solid, as they rank eighth in the league. In points per game, they rank 16th, which is about average. It is important to note that the defense is currently rebuilding and performing way above their expectations.
That is a complement to Graham and what he has done with this group in such a short period of time. Hopefully, Lewis can be an integral part of the secondary and grow within his role as the season progresses.