New York Giants: How does the loss of Lorenzo Carter affect the defense?

Alexander Wilson
New York Giants, Lorenzo Carter
Oct 11, 2020; Arlington, Texas, USA; New York Giants outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter (59) is carted off the field in the first quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants lost more than their week five contest against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday afternoon, they also lost outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter for the remainder of the 2020 season. Carter tore his Achilles, a major blow to his young, developing career and the defense.

Carter, who has been a fantastic presence on the edge for the Giants this year, playing in 71% of snaps prior to going down. He missed just one tackle and racked up 15 combined tackles, four quarterback hits, and 1.0 sacks over five games. However, his ability to secure the edge and limit the run game was apparent. Losing his extraordinary length and athleticism was immediately noticeable against the Cowboys.

Markus Golden replaced Carter after the injury — Golden did not show the same tenacity had in 2019 when he earned 10.0 sacks. Against the Cowboys, he finished with 0.5 sacks, one solo tackle, and three combined tackles.

While his stats on paper don’t seem terrible, he missed a number of tackles and was a liability in run defense. In addition, the angles he took toward the quarterback seem to be problematic, missing several would be sacks. While he did his usual job by getting into the backfield, he seemed lost once he beat his assignment.

How can the New York Giants further supplement the loss of Carter?

With Carter out and Oshane Ximines on injured reserve, the Giants will have to rely on Golden and Kyler Fackrell moving forward. If they continue to lose, despite already being 0-5 on the season, I would like to see Carter Coughlin earn reps at the position.

As an effective pass rusher at Minnesota, Coughlin has elusive moves but lacks the strength to bull-rush in the NFL. He can be more of a finesse option, but I worry he will not perform well against the run. Activating him on third downs might make more sense earlier on in his career, but for now, I believe the Giants will stick with the more experienced players.

Fackrell, who signed a one-year, $4.6 million deal this past off-season, has played extremely well for the Giants. Against Dallas, he played 98% of snaps, recording three combined tackles, one tackle for a loss, and one interception for a touchdown. I expect Fackrell to continue earning a majority of the snaps on a weekly basis, but with their inexperience behind Carter and Ximines, Golden will undoubtedly be the next man up.