Giants’ new star pass-rusher has high expectations for defensive line: ‘Sky’s the limit’

Carolina Panthers offensive linebacker Brian Burns (0) (New York Giants)
Morgan Tencza-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants overhauled their defense this offseason after moving on from defensive coordinator Wink Martindale. They added talent to the front seven for new DC Shane Bowen to utilize, most notably with their blockbuster acquisition of pass-rusher Brian Burns.

Burns is stepping into the lineup as the Giants’ best pass-rusher, hopefully elevating the defensive line to new heights in 2024. He will combine with Kayvon Thibodeaux and Dexter Lawrence to create a formidable pass-rushing trio.

Brian Burns says the “sky’s the limit” for the Giants’ young new defensive front

nfl: tampa bay buccaneers at carolina panthers, new york giants
Jan 7, 2024; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers linebacker Brian Burns (0) during the second quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

While speaking with the media at the Dexter Lawrence Charity Softball Game last week (h/t NFL Media), Burns told reporters that he sees the potential for long-term success on the Giants’ rebuilt defensive line:

“That is soon to be found out,” Burns said when asked what the three are capable of together. “As of right now we’re just trying to get better every day. With our combined talents, I think the sky’s the limit. We can really do anything. And we’re all young, so hopefully this is years to come.”

Burns (26) is joining a young defensive front led by Lawrence (26) and Thibodeaux (23). Lawrence and Burns both signed extensions with the team and are under contract until 2027 and 2028, respectively. Thibodeaux’s rookie deal will expire after the 2025 season, but the Giants could easily pick up his fifth-year option to keep him around for 2026 and beyond.

The Giants’ defensive line could be among the best in the NFL

New York Giants linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux (5) celebrates a sack with the defense in the first half at MetLife Stadium
New York Giants linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux (5) celebrates a sack with the defense in the first half at MetLife Stadium on Monday, Oct. 2, 2023, in East Rutherford.

The Burns-Lawrence-Thibodeaux trio could give the Giants one of the best defensive lines in the NFL next season. The trio combined for 24 sacks and 149 pressures last season:

  • Kayvon Thibodeaux: 11.5 sacks, 44 pressures
  • Brian Burns: 8 sacks, 40 pressures
  • Dexter Lawrence: 4.5 sacks, 65 pressures

With these three up front on the defensive line and inside linebacker Bobby Okereke playing behind them, the Giants’ defense will be a tough one to go up against this season. As Burns pointed out, the sky truly is the limit for this Big Blue defense led by expert pass-rushers who have youth on their side.

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