New York Giants: Carter Coughlin should see his role increase Sunday

New York Giants, Carter Coughlin

The New York Giants were hit with brutally bad news on Monday morning. During Sunday’s painful loss to the Atlanta Falcons, inside linebacker Blake Martinez went down with a knee injury. On Monday it was announced that Martinez tore his ACL and would miss the remainder of the season.

Blake Martinez is a huge loss on the Giants’ defense. Last year, in Martinez’s first season with the Giants, he recorded 151 combined tackles. This was his fourth year in a row totaling 140 or more combined tackles.

Without Blake Martinez on the field, the Giants are going to need some young linebackers to step up and start making plays. Tae Crowder had a career game against Atlanta filling in for Blake Martinez, according to PFF. Unfortunately, Crowder is also dealing with an injury now. Tae is dealing with a hamstring injury and is QUESTIONABLE for Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints.

With Blake Martinez OUT and Tae Crowder hampered, second-year linebacker Carter Coughlin should see his role increase on Sunday.

Carter Coughlin stats and highlights

In his rookie season with the Giants, Carter Coughlin played edge rusher, as he did in college. He had some impressive moments as a rookie and showed some real promise. Coughlin racked up 17 combined tackles, two tackles for loss, and one sack in 14 games and two starts.

Heading into year two, the Giants had Coughlin transition to a new position: inside linebacker. After the preseason, this transition seemed to be a great success. According to Pro Football Focus, Carter Coughlin graded out 91.8 on 24 snaps in his preseason debut at inside linebacker. Coughlin totaled five tackles, one sack, and one tackle for loss in the Giants’ first preseason game. He finished the preseason with eight tackles, three pressures, and two sacks on 69 snaps.

Carter Coughlin looked phenomenal in the preseason. However, he has barely played in 2021 (11 defensive snaps in three games). Carter Coughlin has shown promise in the past. With injuries piling up at the position, it seems to be about time Coughlin enters the lineup and sees his role increase.

New York Giants: LB Blake Martinez OUT for the season with a torn ACL

blake martinez, giants

The New York Giants experienced another crushing loss this morning. It was reported that inside linebacker Blake Martinez suffered a torn ACL during yesterday’s pitiful loss to the Atlanta Falcons. Martinez will miss the remainder of the 2021 season as he hopes to recover fully and bounce back in 2022.

Blake Martinez went down with this injury early in the first quarter of yesterday’s game. It was feared to be an ACL injury, but there was no confirmation until now.

This is a huge loss for the Giants’ defense. Martinez is arguably one of the best inside linebackers in the NFL. He has totaled 140 or more combined tackles in each of the last three seasons. The Giants also invested a significant amount of their salary cap space (3 years, $30.75M) into Martinez, the captain of their defense.

How will the Giants supplement this loss?

The Giants will be without their starting inside linebacker for the rest of the year and they do not have an abundance of depth at the position. Tae Crowder played all but one of 62 defensive snaps yesterday, filling in for Blake Martinez.

The Giants’ new inside linebacker options are Tae Crowder and Reggie Ragland. Both are viable players, however, they are nowhere near the same level of quality as Blake Martinez. Carter Coughlin could also see more playing time as a result of this development.

Tae Crowder had a career game against Atlanta. The 2020 seventh-rounder played 60 defensive snaps and recorded 11 combined tackles. He also allowed just two receptions from four targets for seven yards and recorded a forced incompletion in coverage. – Pro Football Focus on Tae Crowder in Week Three

The Giants should be encouraged by Tae Crowder’s development. The second-year player has big shoes to fill as the Giants’ starting inside linebacker with Blake Martinez out for the year. Crowder, Ragland, and Coughlin will attempt to supplement this humungous loss for New York’s defense.

Reggie Ragland signed this offseason to back up Martinez as a run-stuffing inside linebacker. Carter Coughlin transitioned from edge rusher to inside linebacker this offseason. Coughlin could provide the Giants with a solid pass-rush boost through the interior. The Giants will feel the absence of Blake Martinez, but they do have some quality depth pieces to fill-in in the meantime.

New York Giants name 2021 team captains ahead of Week One

New York Giants, Nick Gates

The New York Giants are days away from kicking off their regular season. The team has announced its new team captains for the 2021 season with kickoff only six days away. There are a few players returning as captains with a couple of new names also added to the mix.

New York Giants 2021 Captains

Offensive Captains:

  • Daniel Jones
  • Saquon Barkley
  • Nick Gates

Defensive Captains:

  • Blake Martinez
  • Logan Ryan

Special Teams Captains

  • Jabrill Peppers
  • Graham Gano

Offense

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones is entering his second season as a captain of the team. This is his third career season, one that fans expect to be a big breakout year. He is a carryover captain, along with star running back Saquon Barkley. Saquon was named a captain in 2019 and has maintained that role ever since.

The new captain on offense is starting center Nick Gates. Entering his third season with the team, Gates has been named a captain. Nick Gates has proven to be the definition of a good teammate and a hard worker during his time in New York.

Defense

For the first time in his nine-year career, Logan Ryan is a captain. Ryan spent many years as one of the best players on the Tennessee Titans and New England Patriots defenses but was never named a captain. The Giants signed Ryan late last offseason and he instantly proved himself as one of the team’s best leaders. The Giants have awarded Logan Ryan with a captain’s patch in his second year with the team.

Blake Martinez is a captain for the second consecutive season. Martinez was one of the Giants’ splash signings in last year’s free agency period. He quickly proved himself as one of the best players on the team and had a career year with the Giants last season.

Special teams

Graham Gano is another new captain on the Giants. Another player entering his second season with the team, Gano earned his captain’s patch after having a phenomenal 2020 season where he made 31 of his 32 field goal attempts.

Jabrill Peppers earned his captain’s patch for the second consecutive season. Peppers brings that energy every Sunday and leads the team’s defense and special teams. Peppers contributes primarily as the team’s starting safety, but also as a punt returner. The Giants are expecting a huge year out of Peppers in 2021.

New York Giants: PFF lists Blake Martinez as a potential first-time All-Pro selection in 2021

New York Giants, Blake Martinez

The New York Giants had one of the NFL’s best defenses in 2020. The unit ranked top-ten in points allowed per game as Joe Judge and Patrick Graham made strong impressions during their first year coaching the Giants. The Giants’ defense really turned things around after allowing the third-most points per game in 2019.

The acquisitions that the team made in the 2020 offseason were crucial for the defense’s success last season. New York made a few splash signings on the defensive side of the ball, adding the likes of James Bradberry, Blake Martinez, and Logan Ryan. This new core of veteran defenders surrounded by young talent allowed the Giants’ defense to outplay all expectations last season.

James Bradberry was selected to his first-career Pro Bowl in his first season with the Giants in 2020. Many felt like Blake Martinez should have been selected to one too, however, the Giants’ star linebacker received no such honor. According to Pro Football Focus, heading into 2021, Blake Martinez has a great chance of earning an even more prestigious honor: an All-Pro selection.

Why Blake Martinez could be an All-Pro in 2021

Blake Martinez was phenomenal for the New York Giants in 2020. The Giants have suffered through various struggles from the inside linebacker position for years. Last season, that changed with the arrival of Blake Martinez.

Martinez spent the first four years of his career with the Green Bay Packers. In 2020, he signed a three-year, $30.75 million contract with the Giants. Blake Martinez was the fifth-most valuable off-ball linebacker in the NFL, according to PFF’s Wins Above Replacement metric. His PFF grade was an impressive 75.9 overall last year.

In 2020, Blake Martinez totaled 151 combined tackles, 9 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles in his career year. This was the fourth season in a row that Martinez totaled 140 or more combined tackles. He has been consistently one of the best run-stuffing linebackers in the NFL throughout his career, but Blake Martinez has never been recognized as such. That could change in 2021 if Martinez can put together another impressive season with the New York Giants.

New York Giants: Blake Martinez has glowing praise for Joe Judge

New York Giants, Blake Martinez

Going into their second season under Joe Judge, the New York Giants are one of the most intriguing teams in the NFL. After all, they almost made the playoffs last season despite a terrible early season and they remained in the mix for the entire year. There’s a certain allure around their head coach, not just because of his prestigious background working with some of the biggest names in the sport but also because the Giants showed more fight than they have in years during his first season in charge.

Headed into the second year, the sentiment is understandably positive around Judge. That begins with the players, and defensive captain Blake Martinez will be the first one to speak up in support of the head coach.

Martinez did just that when interviewed by the New York Post. He was asked about several of his teammates and offered his takes on them, but the questions also came around to the topic of Judge.

“Whether it’s a coach or a player, he’s gonna make sure he’s getting the best out of everybody,” Martinez said. “His number one thing is he believes that every single person could be even better than what people expect. There’s a lot of people out there that would pat us on the back last year. But all of us as a team know we’re competitors and we want to be playing further into January and continuing our season… There’s no complacency anywhere at any point, any tier of this team, and it starts with him and all the way down.”

It just goes to show the sentiment is good right now around the Giants despite the team coming off another season where they ended up with a top 10 draft pick. That, hopefully, won’t be the case this time around.

If the Giants do make a dark horse run to a better record and potentially the playoffs, we can be sure the leadership of Joe Judge will be heavily involved in that outcome. And, likely, more high level play from Martinez at linebacker.

He competed for the top spot in tackles last season despite not getting as much credit as many other linebackers. This season, that top spot may be his if his performance is similar.

The New York Giants have one of the best, yet most underrated linebackers in the NFL

New York Giants, Blake Martinez

The New York Giants had a top-ten defense in the NFL last season. The team made a couple of key moves in the 2020 offseason to propel their defense into being one of the league’s best units. The Giants allowed only 22.3 points per game defensively, which ranked ninth-best in the NFL.

Two key free agency additions made their marks and revamped the Giants’ defense: cornerback James Bradberry and linebacker Blake Martinez. The Giants saw their newly-acquired cornerback, Bradberry, make his first career Pro Bowl in a season where he led the NFL in forced incompletions (PFF).

Blake Martinez, however, did not receive any recognition for a stellar 2020 campaign. Martinez has never made a Pro Bowl in his NFL career. He was listed as the sixteenth-best linebacker in the league by PFF this offseason, but Giants fans feel Blake Martinez deserves more credit.

Blake Martinez stats and highlights

The New York Giants enjoyed watching Blake Martinez have a “breakout” season in 2020. Though it was a career year for the five-year veteran, it was anything but a “breakout.” Martinez has been one of the best inside linebackers in the NFL for a few seasons now. Blake Martinez leads the NFL in total tackles over the last four seasons.

Martinez has racked up an insane 594 combined tackles since 2017. He led the NFL in combined tackles in 2017 and has posted 140 or more combined tackles in every season since. Last year, Blake Martinez totaled 151 combined tackles in his first season with the Giants. He also added nine tackles for loss, three sacks, and notched 57 defensive stops and forced two fumbles for the Giants in 2020 (PFF).

If there is one weakness to his game, Blake Martinez does struggle at times in pass coverage. But the Giants’ defensive schematics were excellent in 2020 and played to their players’ strengths. Martinez was not asked to play in coverage that often, masking any deficiencies he might have in that aspect of his game. Patrick Graham allowed Martinez to be a pass-rushing and run-stuffing linebacker. That clever New York Giants scheme allowed Blake Martinez to play to his strengths and emerge as one of the best linebackers in the NFL.

New York Giants: Blake Martinez comes in underrated in PFF linebacker rankings

New York Giants, Blake Martinez

The New York Giants have one of the best inside linebackers in the league in Blake Martinez – but he might be underrated still when compared to others. Martinez, of course, went under the radar as a good addition until the season started and he proved himself on the field.

Many thought the Giants were overpaying and doubted the move, but Martinez went on to register 151 tackles and 3 sacks in his debut season.

His numbers last year placed him with some of the position’s top tacklers, but Martinez still comes in relatively low in this year’s linebacker rankings from Pro Football Focus.

16. Blake Martinez, New York Giants

Only Zach Cunningham and Lavonte David have racked up more defensive stops over the past two seasons than Blake Martinez, whose first season with the Giants was a career-best for him in terms of overall PFF grade (75.9). He notched 57 defensive stops and forced two fumbles for the Giants, and he’ll look to build on that and be even better in 2021.

To be fair, the list involves more than just inside linebackers. Part of the reason why Martinez falls outside the top fifteen is competition from pass rushing outside linebackers.

Still, even including OLBs, the number looks low considering Martinez’s performance last season which saw him competing with some of the leading LBs in the league statistically as well as helping the Giants make a big improvement on the interior compared to previous years.

Going into this season, though, Martinez might have a chance to get more recognition. He is, after all, entering the year already having proved himself last season. The league in general will be more aware of Martinez’s ability, so we’ll see soon enough if he can keep up his standard of play from 2020.

New York Giants’ Blake Martinez details ‘awesome’ free agency and atmosphere around Big Blue

New York Giants, Blake Martinez

The New York Giants have had an eventful off-season, littered with high-profile free agent signings and a strong draft class. Acquiring WR1 Kenny Golliday, CB2 Adoree Jackson, and a bevy of adequate depth pieces, the Giants are heading into the 2021 season with a revitalized sense on both sides of the ball.

For current players, watching the Giants go out and spend big money to acquire more talent was exciting; it represented the progress and forward momentum of the organization.

This present-day Giants team is far different than the one we experienced in recent years, ranging from personnel to front office decisions. Even the players noticed a change, compared to their old teams or just in one off-season with Big Blue.

Arizona radio station interviewed Giants’ LB Blake Martinez, who described the difference between playing in New York and Green Bay — they were quite extreme:

“I think the biggest difference between both is the age of the given guys on either team. I think in Green Bay, it was a lot of older, veteran guys, where in New York it was a lot of young guys still in that college mindset and everyone hung out with each other and had that camaraderie. Not that we didn’t have that camaraderie in Green Bay, but it felt more like a high school (or) college vibe in New York,” Martinez said.

The locker-room aspect of any given team is extremely important, but the camaraderie the Giants currently have is outstanding. The coaching staff has put together a disciplined roster containing a variety of demographics, ranging from youth to veterans. With so much youth on the team, there has a college feel to it, which boosts morale and excitement.

The New York Giants had an “awesome” offseason:

“It’s awesome. Throughout the whole thing, I was excited, especially with the free agency process and the guys we brought in on offense and defense. In the draft, we got multiple defensive guys — a couple outside linebackers, a cornerback, the list goes on. The sky’s the limit, and I think the potential is there, but each and everyday as a group, we just have to keep going back to that foundation and that culture and put that work in to be able to reach that potential. If we do that, I think it’s going to be a very successful year.”

That is exactly what you want to hear from your mike linebacker, who played such an integral part in boosting the defense to a top 10 year in 2020. Martinez finished his first season in blue with 151 tackles, nine tackles for a loss, six QB hits, 3.0 sacks, and a career-low 6.2% missed tackle rate. Martinez is a reliable player, playing at all 16 games despite battling injury at points of the season. He set the example for the younger guys, and with Martinez’s excitement, should come an even better 2021 campaign.

Will the New York Giants receive any compensatory picks this year?

New York Giants, Cleveland Browns

The New York Giants are not expected to be awarded any compensatory draft picks in the 2021 NFL Draft. The Giants hold the 11th overall pick in the 2021 Draft. They will only have six picks overall to fill the many needs on the roster.

In addition to their first-round pick, the G-Men will have the 42nd overall pick in round two, No. 76 overall in round three, No. 107 overall in round four, and two sixth-round selections — No. 172 and No. 177, the latter received in exchange from the Arizona Cardinals in the Markus Golden trade.

The Giants do not have a fifth-round selection due to the trade with the New York Jets for Leonard Williams. Big Blue also does not have a seventh-round selection either due to the trade with the Denver Broncos for Isaac Yaidom.

According to the compensatory draft pick cancellation chart compiled by “Over The Cap,” the Giants are not due any additional selections due to their aggressive shopping spree in free agency last March. They signed cornerback James Bradberry, linebacker Blake Martinez, kicker Graham Gano, outside linebacker Kyler Fackrell, quarterback Colt McCoy, tight end Levine Toilolo, and safety/special teamer Nate Ebner.

Safety/Special Teamer Michael Thomas was signed by Houston, but according to the chart, he is listed as non-eligible for compensation.

New York Giants have no players selected to the 2020 All-Pro team

New York Giants, Blake Martinez

The New York Giants have been shut out of the 2020 NFL All-Pro team. This is now back-to-back years where the Giants have had zero All-Pro selections. Their last All-Pro selection came in 2018, with Saquon Barkley making the second team along with Aldrick Rosas.

No Giants made the All-Pro teams this year, despite having a number of worthy candidates. The Giants’ defense in particular saw numerous players put together standout seasons in the 2020-2021 regular season. Some Giants players received votes for the All-Pro teams, but no one received enough votes to actually earn a spot.

Who received votes?

Blake Martinez, Leonard Williams, James Bradberry, and Graham Gano all received votes for the 2020 All-Pro teams. Williams and Martinez received two votes each while Bradberry and Gano each received one vote.

Arguably the most confusing snub on the list of Giants snubs is cornerback James Bradberry. The Giants’ cornerback had a career-year and even made Pro Football Focus’s All-Pro team this season. Bradberry was second-team All-Pro via PFF, behind Jaire Alexander.

James Bradberry was phenomenal this season, totaling a combined 17 interceptions and pass breakups on the year, the third-most in the NFL. Bradberry was also selected to the Pro Bowl this year for the first time in his career. So he did receive some recognition, but one could argue that James deserves far more recognition than he is getting after seeing the 2020 All-Pro teams.

Leonard Williams also had a career-year in 2020, but he did not receive any recognition. Despite totaling a career-high 11.5 sacks and racking up an insane 62 pressures, Williams missed both the Pro Bowl and All-Pro selections. Granted, there is a lot of strong competition amongst interior defensive linemen, but Big Cat had an elite season that should have seen him earn some recognition.

Graham Gano is another player that received no recognition, despite a phenomenal 2020 season. After missing all of 2019 with a hip injury, Gano came back strong with the Giants. Graham hit 30 straight field goals this year, a Giants record. He also missed just one kick (57-yards), making 31 of 32 attempts (97%). Gano was not selected to the Pro Bowl and only received one All-Pro vote, but he was truly dependable for the Giants this year.

Finally, Blake Martinez, one of the Giants’ biggest 2020 free-agent acquisitions, also received zero recognition from the league for his phenomenal season. Martinez totaled 151 combined tackles this season, 3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and 0 touchdowns allowed in coverage. At the very least, Martinez should have made the Pro Bowl.

These Giants were snubbed but a good part of the reasoning why could be the team’s win-loss record. Finishing 6-10, the Giants were never a top team in the NFL. Many voters might have held the team’s lack of success against these individual players. Regardless, the Giants and their fans know the level of talent that these players possess. This All-Pro absence will only serve as motivation for these players as they look to build towards the 2021 season.