The New York Giants‘ defense struggled all season in 2018. The unit ranked 24th in the league allowing 371.4 yards per game. The team had a serious lack of defensive talent, so defensive coordinator James Bettcher did not have much to work with.
The Giants were poor against both the run and the pass. Big Blue allowed 252.8 passing yards per game (23rd in the league) and 118.6 rushing yards per game (20th in the league).
Dave Gettleman made a trade last offseason for middle linebacker Alec Ogletree. This trade was supposed to bring solid play to one of the Giants’ weakest positions, but unfortunately, in 2018, it did not.
How Alec Ogletree Did Not Meet Expectations
Plays like this contribute to Ogletree’s poor coverage grade:
New team, but same old story for Alec Ogletree. He just cannot cover RBs in space, it’s a major problem.
— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) August 18, 2018
Ogletree struggled in pass defense, but he was not spectacular in run defense either. Pro Football Focus considers Alec Ogletree to be one of the least effective tacklers in the league. He missed 20 tackles in 2017, and a number similar to that in 2018 with the Giants.
Alec Ogletree also did not demonstrate the tenacity needed from the inside linebacker position. His most embarassing play of the 2018 season came against the Tennessee Titans. Ogletree was chasing down the running back when he was absolutely leveled by quarterback Marcus Mariota (yes, leveled by a quarterback):
Mariota just turned Alec Ogletree into a pancake pic.twitter.com/08IHpmyQUu
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) December 16, 2018
How Alec Ogletree Did Meet Expectations
Despite his lackluster performance on the football field, Alec Ogletree earned himself a captain’s patch. Ogletree was a true leader for the Giants’ defense in 2018.
Watch: LB Alec Ogletree discusses his mentality on defense and being a team leader pic.twitter.com/h92aJ9f82J
— New York Giants (@Giants) July 25, 2018
Ogletree also made a couple of highlight plays in his 2018 season. These great plays can sometimes blind fans from the poor plays, but they help make watching the Giants fun again.
Alec Ogletree finished the season with 5 interceptions, including 2 pick-sixes. These plays were exciting for Giants fans. Ogletree needs to improve his consistency covering running backs and tight ends in space and improve his gap choices in run defense. If Alec can achieve this and continue to make spectacular highlights, too, then he can solidify himself as a long-term starter on the Giants’ defense.