The New York Giants make potential strides at problematic CB2 position

Alexander Wilson
New York Giants, Ryan Lewis
Oct 4, 2020; Inglewood, California, USA: New York Giants defensive backs Madre Harper (45), Nate Ebner (43), James Bradberry (24) and Ryan Lewis (37) take the field durig pregame warmups before playing the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants fell 9-17 to the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday afternoon, but the game was much closer than a week three travesty to the San Francisco 49ers. The Giants made back up quarterback Nick Mullens look like the next coming of Joe Montana, and he was subsequently benched against the Philadelphia Eagles this week. It seemed to be an anomaly for a team that has a lot of fight but simply can’t extract wins this year.

New head coach Joe Judge has his team battling until the final moments, and the start of the season was always going to be problematic with multiple new starters on both sides of the ball and a new coaching staff with different schematics.

While the defense has looked fantastic for the most part, one position remains a big question going into a week five matchup against the Dallas Cowboys.

The New York Giants are finding answers, slowly:

The second cornerback spot, left by DeAndre Baker after his legal proceedings, has been a rotation of multiple options. He left a serious hole in the secondary, and the Giants have been trying to compensate ever since.

In week four, the Giants chose to bench Corey Ballantine entirely. He received zero snaps on defense but played the majority on special teams. Former third-round pick Isaac Yiadom, whom the Giants traded a seventh-round conditional pick for prior to the start of the regular season, earned only 26% of the snaps. Instead, they took a different route, inserting undrafted free agent Ryan Lewis for 74% of the snaps at CB2.

Lewis had a solid outing, and at 26 years old, the Giants will likely be utilizing him more frequently in the near future. Against the Rams, he racked up three combined tackles and didn’t allow a reception. Interestingly, he spent eight games with the Patrick Graham lead Miami defense in 2019, holding his opposition to a 58.3% completion rate and just one touchdown over 36 targets. He was actually quite successful in coverage, and bringing him onto a shallow Giants’ secondary was a good move. His experience in Graham’s scheme is proving to be essential and I expect him to continue growing in the role.

Nonetheless, finding an even serviceable option at CB2 is essential at this point. Ballentine and Yiadom have proven to be liabilities in coverage, and Lewis is already showing positive momentum in an area that has significantly hurt the team in recent weeks.