The New York Giants may be struggling to curate production on offense, but they have to be excited about their dynamic pass-rush duo on the defensive side.
For the first time this season, the Giants had a fully healthy defensive front composed of Kayvon Thibodeaux, Leonard Williams, Dexter Lawrence, and Azeez Ojulari. They immediately felt the production of Ojulari’s return, as he finish the game with two quarterback hits, a sack, and a forced fumble which he recovered.
After setting a single-season Giants record for rookie pass rushers with 8.0 sacks last year, the expectations for Ojulari were considerable.
Unfortunately, he missed multiple games to open the year, only playing in Weeks 3-4 before being shut down with another calf injury. In his return, he was an impact player, but so was rookie Kayvon Thibodeaux, who matched his production and then some.
The 21-year-old outside linebacker finished with five tackles, two quarterback hits, one tackle for a loss, and a sack in a big moment down the stretch.
The best part about having two young players that have unlimited potential is they are on rookie contracts, keeping their salary hits down for the future and allowing the Giants to spend elsewhere.
- The Giants need to give Daniel Jones more rushing opportunities
- The Giants continue to give unexplainable chances to oft-injured offensive guard
- The Giants need to give this rookie more playing time
The New York Giants are in great financial shape at OLB:
Specifically, Thibodeaux will count $7.1 million against the cap next season, and Ojulari will count just $1.85 million. That is under $10 million for two extremely productive players that seem to be the future for the Giants off the edge.
With that being said, Big Blue also has rookie contracts at left and right tackle, locking up four of the most important positions on cost-controlled deals, which is exactly what Joe Schoen had in mind this past off-season.
Led by coordinator Wink Martindale and his blitz-happy defense, the Giants’ pass rushers experienced plenty of 1V1 situations and unblocked runs at the quarterback. When you are overwhelming an offensive line with numbers, it increases the probability of missed assignments, which is exactly how Thibs got his sack against Washington on Sunday afternoon.
Nonetheless, having two promising young OLBs is one major silver lining from what was an otherwise disappointing performance in the tie.