Giants’ 2nd year linebacker flashes promise

New York Giants, NYG, Giants, Dane Belton, Micah McFadden, Brian Daboll
Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK

The New York Giants may have limped away from Week 1, but let’s remember: the NFL season is a marathon, not a sprint. The team has plenty of time to rebound. However, a Week 2 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals looms large, especially with the possible absence of star left tackle Andrew Thomas. Considering the Cardinals sacked Washington Commanders’ quarterback Sam Howell six times, the Giants are gearing up for another formidable challenge.

Not All Gloom: Bright Spots in Week 1

Brian Daboll’s squad certainly didn’t showcase their best against the Dallas Cowboys in the season opener, but it wasn’t all doom and gloom. We saw glimpses of promise, most notably from second-year linebacker Micah McFadden. Apart from standout performances from Deonte Banks and Dexter Lawrence, McFadden had a commendable start to his sophomore NFL season.

Micah McFadden: A Rising Starter

Last season, McFadden saw action in 435 total snaps, registering six pressures, 35 tackles, 19 stops, and yielding 269 yards in coverage, including one touchdown. Though he had a few solid games, he largely struggled to maintain consistency. Fast forward to the Cowboys game this year, and McFadden emerged as one of the top-graded Giants players. In 43 snaps, he recorded seven tackles, four stops, and allowed zero yards on one reception.

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Position Battles: McFadden and Okereke

Drafted in the fifth round out of Indiana, McFadden possesses the raw talent to solidify his spot as a key linebacker for the Giants, especially alongside new free-agent acquisition Bobby Okereke. At just 23, McFadden appears to have made significant strides in his second season, even if we’re working with a small sample size. His aptitude for clogging running lanes and supporting the run game has been especially noteworthy.

Week 2 Outlook: Giants vs Cardinals

As the Giants prepare to face the Cardinals, featuring running back James Conner and backup quarterback Josh Dobbs, all eyes will be on McFadden. While it’s unlikely he’ll be tasked with rushing the passer often, his tackling acumen and keen instincts will be crucial. Keep an eye on this burgeoning talent as he aims to lock down a starting role beside Okereke.