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.

The New York Giants have something special in LB Carter Coughlin

carter coughlin, new york giants

When the New York Giants originally drafted outside linebacker Carter Coughlin out of Minnesota in 2020, they didn’t imagine he would end up playing in 14 games, starting in two. Playing in 18% of the teams defensive snaps, Coughlin made an impact in multiple ways, picking up a sack, 17 combined tackles, and two quarterback hits.

While Coughlin’s role expanded when teammates Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines were knocked out for the remainder of the season, he had trouble stopping the run due to a slender frame. However, Coughlin was one of the highest-graded pass rushers at the collegiate level, and he showcased some of that potential last season, picking up nine hurries. Coordinator Patrick Graham seems to have a different approach for the Minnesota product this upcoming season, having him transition to the middle linebacker position.

Blake Martinez, Reggie Ragland, and Tae Crowder remain the team’s primary MLB’s but Coughlin is quickly adapting to the spot and making plays during the preseason.

Over two games, Coughlin has recorded 47 total snaps, picking up seven tackles, two sacks and allowed 21 yards on four receptions. His abilities as a coverage linebacker aren’t ideal, but using him as a pass rusher from the weak side prove to be effective.

Take a look at the clip below, where Coughlin executes a fantastic double A-gap twist to sack the quarterback. BJ Hill wins off the edge, putting pressure on the outside, while Coughlin pushes the interior guard and shoots up the middle.

It is clear the Giants have something in Carter, and there are multiple ways they can get him on the field to make an impact that doesn’t involve playing a traditional OLB role.

Deploying him as a situational pass rusher will likely be his most frequent utilization. Early downs when the Giants are anticipating a heavy run scheme is where I expect to see Coughlin more involved. He can shoot the interior gaps, curating tackles for loss but also attack quarterbacks on play-action and put immediate pressure with strong interior defensive play around him.

It is clear that Coughlin has flashed serious potential this preseason, and he will be looking to build upon that in the final game of the off-season against the Patriots next Sunday. He is generally thought to be a lock to make the roster at this point.

New York Giants: Carter Coughlin’s transition to inside linebacker seems to be a great success

New York Giants, Carter Coughlin

The New York Giants played their first preseason game of the 2021 season on Saturday. The Giants lost to the Jets, 12-7, as their offense struggled for the majority of the game. Preseason games are exhibitions, of course, and the main takeaways are seldom the scoreboard. Instead, there is a greater emphasis on individual performances.

Despite the loss, the Giants did have some individual performances stand out. Second-year linebacker Carter Coughlin had a tremendous performance in his first game primarily playing inside linebacker, rather than on the edge.

Carter Coughlin stats and highlights

In the seventh round of the 2020 NFL Draft, the New York Giants selected edge rusher, Carter Coughlin, out of Minnesota. Coughlin was a highly productive pass-rusher in his collegiate career, playing on the edge as a defensive end/outside linebacker.

In his rookie season with the Giants, Carter Coughlin continued to play on the edge. 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.

After a seemingly successfully rookie season playing edge rusher, the Giants decided to make a switch. Carter Coughlin transitioned to inside linebacker this offseason, a new position. His first time playing in this new spot on Saturday seemed to be a major success.

According to Pro Football Focus, Carter Coughlin graded out 91.8 on 24 snaps in his first extended look at inside linebacker. Coughlin totaled five tackles, one sack, and one tackle for loss on Saturday.

“It’s been really, really fun to work on. It was fun to do that on the scout team last year and get kind of a feel for it and then really dig into it during camp and get those off-the-ball reps.” – Carter Coughlin on playing inside linebacker via NY Daily News

Carter Coughlin is still a young player with plenty of areas to improve. But this transition to a new position seems to be a successful one after an impressive summer of practices and a stellar preseason Week One performance. If the Giants were excited for Carter Coughlin in his rookie season, their level of excitement has surely grown in year two.

New York Jets beat New York Giants 12-7 in First Preseason Game | Recap and takeaways

The New York Giants and New York Jets faced off tonight in Week One of the 2021 NFL preseason. The New York Jets came out victorious. FINAL SCORE: 12-7.

Key stats and takeaways

New York Jets

  • QB Zach Wilson: 6/9, 63 yards
  • WR Denzel Mims: 3 receptions, 51 yards
  • DE Bryce Huff: 2 sacks, 2 TFL

2021 second-overall draft pick Zach Wilson had a solid debut in his first NFL action. While he did not light up the scoreboard, Wilson was smart with the football. He was accurate, had some impressive plays, and avoided any major mistakes. An all-around good performance by a rookie quarterback.

Many felt as though the Jets got a steal in the second round of last year’s draft when they selected wide receiver, Denzel Mims. Tonight, Mims looked like an impressive wide receiver, totaling 51 yards. Denzel Mims had a nice highlight, converting a 3rd and 18 while showing off some skills after the catch.

The New York Jets’ defense took advantage of the New York Giants’ thin offensive line. The Giants lack depth upfront and this allowed the Jets to total 5 sacks in the contest. Bryce Huff contributed two sacks on the night.

The Jets also seem to have some solid quarterback depth. Mike White threw for 127 yards on 13 completions. James Morgan gained 45 yards on 5 completions. No turnovers for any of the Jets’ quarterbacks.

New York Giants

  • QB Clayton Thorson: 5/16, 72 yards, 1 TD
  • WR David Sills V: 3 receptions, 49 yards
  • LB Carter Coughlin: 5 total tackles, 1 sack, 1 TFL

The New York Giants’ starting offensive linemen did participate in tonight’s matchup. For the most part, the unit was impressive. Andrew Thomas looked good in both pass protection and run-blocking, including a dominant pass set in the first quarter. RG Will Hernandez also looked like an improved version of himself. Hernandez moved very nicely as a lead/pulling blocker and had a couple of key blocks in the running game. However, it was not a perfect outing for the starters as RT Matt Peart let up a sack on a third down.

Once the starting offensive linemen went out and the reserves went in, Giants fans were reminded just how poor this team’s depth on the offensive line truly is. The Giants let up 5 sacks, losing 34 yards and allowing a safety. The reserve linemen struggled mightily and also lost OG Kyle Murphy with an ankle injury.

Quarterback Clayton Thorson struggled throughout the game. He did throw a nice touchdown pass after evading pressure late in the game, though the majority of the game was relatively unimpressive.

Training camp standouts WR David Sills V and CB Rodarius Williams were on the field for the majority of the game. Sills lived up to the hype, beating cornerbacks with great releases off the line of scrimmage and making a few sound receptions for 49 yards (he also drew a DPI on a deep target). Williams had a rough night, letting up plenty of yards in receptions. But he did recover a fumble in the fourth quarter and nearly took it back to the end zone.

LB Carter Coughlin also stood out defensively for the Giants. The second-year player transitioned to off-ball linebacker this offseason after playing EDGE in his rookie year. Coughlin looked like he had been playing inside linebacker for years, putting together an impressive 5 tackle, 1 sack, 1 TFL performance. Carter was all over the place making plays.

New York Giants’ Carter Coughlin making transition to inside linebacker: What does this mean?

New York Giants, Carter Coughlin

The New York Giants have a weakness next to Blake Martinez at linebacker, with the expectation that 2020’s “Mr. Irrelevant,” Tae Crowder, will earn the first crack at the starting gig.

Crowder had an interesting rookie campaign, far exceeding his expectations as a seventh-round draft pick. He showcased the ability to step up in the run game and also drop back in coverage sufficiently but undoubtedly has a few kinks in his game to work out. He finished the season starting in six games and playing in 11, making 57 combined tackles, 23 assists, three tackles for a loss, three QB hits, 1.0 sacks, and returned a fumble for a touchdown.

I believe Crowder will earn the first opportunity to play alongside Martinez, but one other Giant is in the mix as he makes a transition from outside linebacker to inside linebacker.

The differences between outside and inside linebackers are significant, as an OLB is expected to rush off the edge and pressure the quarterback, while the ILB is oftentimes referred to as middle linebackers.

Essentially, the inside linebacker’s role is to fill gaps and make tackles in the running game, protecting the second level of the defense. Carter Coughlin, another seventh-round pick from 2020, is making the transition to the second level, given his undersized frame and physical traits.

What does Carter Coughlin offer the New York Giants?

He stands at 6’3″ and 236-pounds, and considering the Giants brought in a few bigger, more physical options at the position, Coughlin will now have to learn how to play middle linebacker after posting 17 tackles, two tackles for a loss, and 1.0 sacks in 2020. I would be remiss not to mention is standout performance against the Seattle Seahawks, where he played the “spy” role to help bottle up Russell Wilson in one of the more improbable victories of the season.

This is the perfect opportunity for Coughlin to learn a new position at just 23 years old, especially as the Giants look to plug a position of weakness. Carter will compete with Crowder, TJ Brunson, and even Reggie Ragland for the second spot. However, I imagine whichever option proves to be the best in coverage will win out, as they already have their elite run-stopping LB in Blake Martinez.

I do like the versatility that Coghlan brings to the team, though, with the ability to rush the passer from the second level and expose gaps adequately with refined moves. Nonetheless, it will take him time to adjust to his new spot, but with great mentors around him and fantastic coaching staff, I imagine his transition won’t be strenuous.

New York Giants: The key to stopping Kyler Murray on Sunday is a rookie OLB

New York Giants, Carter Coughlin

The New York Giants endured a massive challenge against the Seattle Seahawks and stopping future Hall of Fame quarterback Russell Wilson in week 13. They did a phenomenal job limiting him in the passing game and contained him in the pocket with spies.

Defensive coordinator Patrick Graham drew up a perfect game plan against Wilson, trying to confuse him at the lighten of scrimmage and fill passing lanes. Since Russell isn’t the biggest quarterback, he needs passing lanes to see his targets, so filling them with big bodies and delayed blitzes flushed him out of the pocket and subsequently filled those lanes.

The New York Giants activated their fastest pass rusher in a unique way:

When the Giants landed Carter Coughlin in the seventh round of the 2020 NFL draft, most didn’t believe he would be an impactful player in his rookie season. Coughlin previously had pass-rush win rates in the upper echelon of categories in 2018, fitting in alongside names like Joey Bosa, Chase Young, and Nick Bosa.

He has fantastic speed for an outside linebacker (4.57 40-yard sash) and has the ability to drop into coverage when need be. We saw him do a variety of different things for the Giants against Seattle, and I expect to see him in a similar way against Arizona.

Carter maneuvered his way around the trenches, lining up in the zero technique and as an outside linebacker quite frequently. His entire job was to confuse Russell Wilson and utilize delayed blitzes and a quarterback spy to keep him from running outside of the tackle box.

As you can see from the clip above, Carter bluffs a blitz at a zero technique over the center, dropping back a few feet and hovering to contain Wilson. He has his eyes on the quarterback the entire play — he did this throughout the contest, forcing Wilson to throw the ball and allowing the big interior linemen to collapse the pocket.

However, in this clip, you see Coughlin rush from the OLB spot, beating the right tackle with a bull-rush and hand swipe down to hit Wilson simultaneously with a mad-man in Jabrill Peppers who bursts through two players at the line and gets to Russ.

Against Arizona and Kyler Murray, who is a very similar quarterback to Wilson, I expect Carter to act in a similar role. Playing quarterback spy and containing the edges will be his primary task.

Since Arizona has a far superior offensive line compared to Seattle, this will be a much more difficult contest for the Giants, but I expect to see them taking advantage of a weak center in Mason Cole.

According to PFF, Coughlin played in 45 total snaps this past weekend, the most in his career. He also dropped back into coverage 14 times and rushed the passer 24 times. He was rarely on the field during running plays but still picked up two tackles, three quarterback hurries, and two stops.

With his influence clearly showing up on film, I predict he will be another spy for a majority of the contest against Murray in week 14. His speed makes him a threat against running quarterbacks, so this is a perfect match up for him once again.

New York Giants getting everything and more out of 2020 rookie class

New York Giants, Tae Crowder

The New York Giants are on a four-game winning streak. This is the longest winning streak the Giants have been on since 2016. New York is also in first place in the NFC East after beating a tough 8-3 Seahawks team on the road this Sunday. The Giants look poised to make a playoff run this season, proving their legitimacy while beating one of the best offenses in the NFL in Seattle.

One of the biggest difference-makers on the Giants this season has been their 2020 rookie class. New York has seen early returns on nearly every single rookie they drafted or signed this offseason. These rookies have been crucial to the Giants’ success in recent weeks.

Rookies on offense

On the offensive line, the Giants have been seeing their young, inexperienced players improve every single week. Andrew Thomas had the best performance of his young career so far this week against Seattle. For the second week in a row, Thomas did not allow a single pressure in pass protection. He also recorded the highest single-game Pro Football Focus grade of his career at 87.1 overall. Not only was this his highest-graded single game this year, but it was also the highest single-game grade among all first-round offensive tackle picks this season (PFF).

Right beside Andrew Thomas is Shane Lemieux, the Giants’ fifth-round pick from Oregon who has been starting at left guard for the past few weeks. The entire offensive line has played significantly better since Lemieux entered the lineup. Lemieux has had his fair share of ups and downs, but he has been very impressive when considering where he was drafted. Lemieux has also been improving week-by-week and looks like he will be with Big Blue for a long time.

In addition to the two rookies on the offensive line, Nick Gates has gotten better every week playing a brand new position. Initially, a guard, then a tackle, Nick Gates has transitioned to the center position and played at a high level in recent weeks after some great struggles early in the season. Gates is basically a rookie as he is learning and playing a brand new position this year. He has shown tremendous progress, though, and is already locked into a contract extension that should keep him as the Giants’ starting center for years to come.

Undrafted rookie free agent wide receiver Austin Mack also has a game this season as the Giants’ leading receiver. The Giants’ other rookie offensive tackle, Matt Peart (selected 99th overall in the 2020 NFL Draft), has not elevated to starting status yet. However, he has seen playing time while rotating in at both left and right tackle this season. He has been super impressive whenever he is on the field and could play his way into a starting role sooner than later.

Rookies on defense

The defensive side of the ball is where the Giants have really seen their rookies contribute this year. New York has been starting rookies at multiple defensive positions this year. Darnay Holmes, New York’s fourth-round selection out of UCLA, has started at slot cornerback all season long. Holmes has, like the rest, improved every single week. He certainly has not been a liability like the slot cornerback position has been for the Giants in the past. Holmes had his first career interception against Russell Wilson and the Seahawks this week. A promising future seems to be laid out for Darnay Holmes and the Giants’ defense.

The second half of the Giants’ 2020 NFL Draft class was filled with defensive selections. New York drafted the likes of Cam Brown, Carter Coughlin, and Tae Crowder in the sixth and seventh rounds. Whether earned through merit or obtained through injuries, these rookies have all seen significant playing time in the Giants’ defense.

Tae Crowder, Mr. Irrelevant from the 2020 NFL Draft, has been starting on the Giants’ defense this year when healthy. Crowder has been so impressive for a player who nearly went undrafted. Crowder recorded a clutch sack against the Seahawks this week and recorded a game-winning scoop-and-score fumble recovery against Washington earlier this season. He has exceeded all expectations as a starting inside linebacker for the Giants this year.

Crowder was one pick away from going undrafted. When speaking of undrafted rookies, it is hard not to talk about Niko Lalos, the Giants’ undrafted gem out of Dartmouth. Lalos was elevated to the Giants’ active roster last week before their matchup with the Bengals. In his first NFL game, Lalos recorded an interception and earned more playing time this week. Of course, the Ivy League animal went ahead and recovered a fumble this week against Seattle. This undrafted rookie has been forcing turnovers left and right.

Cam Brown and Carter Coughlin were two under-the-radar linebackers that the Giants found late in the 2020 NFL Draft. Coughlin has seen increased playing time with EDGE Kyler Fackrell recently placed on injured reserve. Coughlin has played 79 defensive snaps this season, already totaling 6 combined tackles, 1 sack, 8 total pressures, and 6 hurries. Cam Brown has played 48 snaps, recording 5 pressures 3 hurries, and 8 combined tackles already.

Second-round pick Xavier McKinney has yet to see expanded playing time after returning from a fractured foot, but he is sure to be part of New York’s long-term defensive plans as well.

The Giants have seen early returns on nearly every rookie they drafted or signed this offseason. It was a job fantastically done by Dave Gettleman, Joe Judge, and company, acquiring young, talented players this offseason. The future is bright in the Big Apple.

New York Giants preparing to give opportunities to two young linebackers

carter coughlin, New York Giants

The New York Giants have sustained multiple injuries at outside linebacker, leaving Kyler Fackrell and Markus Golden as their primary pass rushers.

When the season began, they had Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines both featuring at the position, but Carter tore his Achilles against Dallas in week five, and Ximines was placed on injured reserve with a shoulder issue.

Losing Carter was a massive blow to the defense, as Dallas immediately marched downfield and used a power running scheme to overwhelm the Giants’ defense immediately after he was carted off. While Carter isn’t the type of linebacker to rack up sacks, he did a fantastic job securing the edge with his length and athleticism. The moment Golden replaced him, deficiencies became obvious.

How the New York Giants will operate at OLB moving forward:

The Giants are being forced to roll with Golden and Fackrell, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Fackrell has been fantastic this season, on a one-year, $4.6 million deal. He has racked up 17 combined tackles, six tackles for loss, two quarterback hits, 2.0 sacks, and one interception in which he took for a touchdown.

Nonetheless, defensive coordinator Patrick Graham will have to add more talent to the position, providing some sort of rotation with their two young guns out. That brings me to rookies Cam Brown and Carter Coughlin, who have made solid progress this season.

Fackrell stated that both Brown and Coughlin are starting to blossom and believe they can contribute toward the defense. So far, Cam has been fantastic on special teams. The former sixth-round pick has logged two assisted tackles for the unit and has been a primary strong side gunner. His contributions there have made head coach Joe Judge happy and could lead to an extended opportunity on the defense.

“I think the one thing about special teams for young players is that it allows them to learn and adjust to the speed of the game and the physicality. And just the reactionary instincts they have to develop within the game that transfers to offense and defense as well.”

For Penn State, Brown played and 51 total games with 26 starts. He recorded 198 total tackles, including 14.5 for a loss and four forced fumbles. He has the frame to be an athletic coverage linebacker, but adding a bit more muscle mass and starting at OLB could be the Giants’ priority.

As for Carter Coughlin, who dominated at the University of Minnesota, he is more of a situational pass rusher. I don’t think he has the frame and strength to seal the edge in the running game, making him a decent option on third downs in pass-heavy sets. His thin frame and speed makes him an attractive player on creative blitzes.

I could see how Patrick Graham good find imaginative ways to activate Coughlin in his scheme. However, he lacks the experience and technicalities to produce at the NFL level. I believe Brown will receive the first shot behind Fackrell and Golden, but Coughlin could be sprinkled in situationally.

New York Giants: One pass rusher to keep an eye on with Oshane Ximines hitting IR

carter coughlin, New York Giants

Based on the injuries the Dallas Cowboys are currently facing, most would say that their opponents would have a favorable matchup, especially on the offensive line. They will be without their starting center, right tackle, and left tackle against the New York Giants in week five. However, the New York Giants have a few injuries of their own, specifically at pass rusher.

Big Blue put second-year outside linebacker Oshane Ximines on injured reserve Friday afternoon, and Kyler Fackrell is also questionable for the contest against Dallas. That will ultimately force players like Markus Golden and Lorenzo Carter into more prominent roles. Through four weeks, Golden has only enjoyed 26% of defensive snaps, posting zero sacks and just six tackles in that timeframe.

Considering Golden’s lack of production lately, the Giants could inject rookie Carter Coughlin at OLB in the absence of Ximines. He hasn’t played a single down on defense this year, but has played 25% of special team snaps.

What does Carter Coughlin bring to the New York Giants defense if given an opportunity?

Coughlin, who was drafted in the seventh round of the 2020 NFL draft, has exceptional physical traits and athleticism. His 4.57 40-yard dash and 8.16 10-yard split in the combine both ranked in the 80th percentile for linebackers this year.

At 6-foot-3 and 236 pounds, Coughlin doesn’t represent a power rusher but more of a finesse player. Back in 2018, Coughlin ranked third among Big-10 players with a 92.2 overall pass-rush grade.

Carter ranked above Joey Bosa and just behind Chase Young and Nick Bosa in pass rush grading. For the Giants to experience that same value in the NFL, they need to increase his bulk but ultimately use him to his strengths.

I don’t necessarily feel comfortable with Coufhlib sealing the edge in the run game, but he can be a solid pass rusher against heavy-footed tackles. His speed and athleticism off the edge makes him an interesting player, and I wouldn’t mind seeing the Giants rotate him with Markus Golden, for the time being, just to gather some film.

New York Giants’ Carter Coughlin ranked among best pass rushers in country in 2018

New York Giants, Carter Coughlin

When the New York Giants drafted seventh-rounder Carter Coughlin out of Minnesota, nobody knew much about him. The outside linebacker contains solid physical traits, grading out exceptionally in the explosion and broad jump categories. Overall, he landed a 9.8 RAS score, a formula created by Kent Lee Platte that compares player measurements during the pre-draft process.

His tangible trades didn’t stop in those two categories, though, as he posted a 4.57 40-yard dash and 8.16 10-yard split, both ranking in the 80th percentile for linebackers this year. At 6-foot-3 and 236 pounds, Coughlin isn’t the strongest and biggest pass rusher, but he has the agility to beat blockers in the trenches. Dating back to 2018, Coughlin started 13 games and was a Second Team All Big-10 player and was also an Academic Big-10 winner.

Not only is Coughlin a talented football player, but he is incredibly intelligent. He posted 48 tackle, 15 tackles for a loss, four forced fumbles, 9.5 sacks, 16 quarterback hits, and 29 quarterback hurries on 342 pass rush attempts during his junior year. While his numbers fell off in 2019 due to injuries and a level of inconsistency that forced him to drop in the draft, he has the ability to play at a high-level.

During his 2018 campaign, he ranked third among Big-10 players with a 92.2 overall pass-rush grade. He ranked above Joey Bosa and behind Chase Young and Nick Bosa (2014-2019).

The New York Giants could see some production-value from Coughlin in 2020:

Overall, I believe Coughlin can be an incredibly influential player for the Giants and the pass rush rotation. The current unit consists of Oshane Ximines, Lorenzo Carter, Kyler Fackrell, and possibly Markus Golden, who was hit with a free agent tender. If the Giants lose out on Golden to another team, Coughlin could be forced into a more impactful role. While I do think it will take him some time to adapt to the NFL level, especially the size and speed of offensive tackles, he has the fundamentals and ability to have some success.

Again, it is fair to mention that he is a seventh-round pick, and there’s a reason he dropped that far. He will still have to fight for a roster spot among the three other seventh rounders selected by the Giants in 2020 NFL draft.