The New York Giants lost to the New England Patriots 35-14 this Thursday night. This lopsided defeat indicates a blowout, but anyone who watched the game knows that this game was not a one-sided affair.
In fact, the Giants’ defense played an exceptional game through the first three quarters. Things fell apart in the fourth, but there is a lot to build on from the Giants’ week six performance.
One player who has stood out from the rest this season is rookie Dexter Lawrence. He has easily been the most impressive rookie from the Giants’ draft class so far, and that says a lot considering how much Daniel Jones and Ryan Connelly have impressed. But Dexter Lawrence has been playing at another level, at a level without rookie mistakes.
Lawrence Is Wreaking Havoc
Dexter Lawrence has surpassed all expectations so far in his rookie season. Dexter is Pro Football Focus’s third-highest graded rookie so far this season. He has been making an impact as a run-stuffer and a pass-rusher.
Dexter has 18 combined tackles so far this season, an average of 3 tackles per game. He has also added 3 quarterback hits and 2 sacks with 1 forced fumble. Lawrence has also been applying consistent pressure to opposing quarterbacks.
On this play against Minnesota, you can see Dexter Lawrence completely dominating the opposing offensive guard, driving him back into the lap of Kirk Cousins:
— Nick Falato (@nickfalato) October 8, 2019
This play is an excellent demonstration of why Dexter Lawrence is a force to be reckoned with. His pure strength and power at the point of attack is enough to scare any opposing quarterback. His massive figure and tackling ability also makes him a factor in the run game. Dexter has been improving week to week and is now looking like he could soon be one of the best players at his position soon enough if he keeps up this level of play.
Dexter’s Increased Playing Time
A big part of Dexter Lawrence’s recent improvement is his increasing playing time. Lawrence was initially pegged in as a “two-down run-stuffing defensive lineman” by fans on draft night. But Dexter has proven fans wrong so far this year.
Each week, Dexter Lawrence’s role increases. He has seen more snaps in every game, proving he is more than a two-down player. Leading up to the week five contest against Minnesota, Dexter was averaging 28-34 snaps per game from weeks one to four. This number has increased mightily in weeks five and six.
Dexter Lawrence was on the field for 52 snaps against the Vikings. His increased usage led to increased production with one sack, one forced fumble and six instances of being the first defender to contact according to Pro Football Focus. This led the Giants to increase Dexter’s playing time again in week six with 62 total snaps.