After years of neglect towards the free safety position and no real consistency with the cornerbacks, the New York Giants are finally in a place to develop a young core of talent.
Drafting DeAndre Baker, Julian Love, Corey Ballantine, and trading for Jabrill Peppers will immediately give the unit a boost in 2019. Last season, the Giants’ defense allowed 371.4 yards per game, good enough for the 24th best in the NFL. Their lack of effectiveness against opposing offenses passing attacks was a primary reason for their failure.
Collecting just five wins after a complete rebuild is justifiable, but general manager Dave Gettleman laid down the hammer in the secondary this offseason, allocating plenty of resources towards its hopeful transcendence into stardom.
Maybe stardom is too optimistic, but rather serviceability is the better descriptive word. Baker has looked solid during training camp so far, and Love has competed valiantly at the slot-corner spot alongside Grant Haley. The Giants may look to transition him to the free safety position where Antoine Bethea can develop his skill-set.
Both Bethea and Janoris Jenkins will both play an essential role in the success of the team this upcoming season. The veteran corner has taken on a leadership role despite never really emerging as a voice in the locker room.
Newly signed receiver Golden Tate recalled a moment where Jenkins displayed his care for the younger players, according to the New York Post:
“One of the receivers made a play, and before the receiver and the DB could even get up, Janoris was jogging over to the DB to give him a tip,’’ Tate said Friday. “I didn’t hear the tip, but Janoris was kind of in his ear very calmly and letting him know, ‘Hey, this is what you can do next time.’ ’’
The Giants have established a newfound culture that is centered around veteran leadership and the ability to come together when the going gets tough. The team must be capable of weathering the storm, especially with so many young pieces on the side.
The defense will rely heavily on Jenkins and Bethea to step up and take the lead, as the 2019 season can either be a success, or a travesty.