New York Giants To Have New Help At Linebacker Versus Lions

New York Giants, Deone Bucannon

The New York Giants haven’t been the deepest team at linebacker this season, something that was made worse when Ryan Connelly was taken out for the season with a torn ACL, but they’ll have some extra help at the position against the Detroit Lions. That’s because the team recently signed Deone Bucannon, formerly of the Arizona Cardinals and the Buccaneers.

Bucannon only joined the team this week as a free agent after being released by the Bucs earlier in the year, but it’s not going to take long for Bucannon to get into the mix. It seems Bucannon remembers enough about James Bettcher’s system to get game time right away, because according to Pat Shurmur, Bucannon is set to play against the Lions in the Giants’ game for week eight.

“Yeah, he’ll be active. He’ll be involved. He did a good job this week. Again, there was some familiarity with our system and I think he handled his workload really well,” Shurmur said on Friday.

Bucannon, of course, has had a few bad seasons but will have a chance for a fresh start following a completely unimpressive stint in Tampa.

That was preceded by a couple declining years in Arizona, which followed an impressive sophomore season – if the Giants can get Bucannon to play more like he did in his second year, where he recorded 109 total tackles, they’ll find that they have a gem at the linebacker spot that they didn’t have to give up anything for.

With the trade deadline approaching rapidly, it’s unknown if the Giants intend to add any other players to the roster in the coming days. The Giants have until Tuesday afternoon to make trades, and with rumors flying left and right about whether the team will keep what they have or sacrifice players to rebuilding, it looks like we might not get answers until after the Lions game.

New York Giants: First Words From New Addition Deone Buchanan

New York Giants, Deone Bucannon

There’s a new player in town for the New York Giants – in a bid to help the defense out going into the season’s halfway mark, and the impending trade deadline, the team made the decision to bring in former Cardinals and Buccaneers linebacker Deone Bucannon, who after being drafted in 2014 by Arizona and joining Tampa in 2018, found himself released and looking for a new team earlier in the month.

That new team ended up being the Giants, who could use production at the spot after the surprisingly well performing rookie linebacker Ryan Connelly was taken out long term with an injury. The Giants aren’t the deepest team at the linebacker spot, but they bring in a player that had 109 tackles in 2015 including 11 tackles for a loss. They have a project on their hands, however, as Bucannon’s performances haven’t stayed at that level.

Bucannon registered only 38 tackles last year with the Cardinals and after joining Tampa this year, wasn’t good enough to stay on the roster and avoid being released. What does Bucannon himself have to say about that?

“I’m the same player I was when I was a rookie. When I get on the field, I know what I can do. People know what I can do. It’s about me being on the field, or whatever my role is, whether it’s a little bit or a lot of bit,I’m going to make some plays,” the player said, shortly after joining the Giants.

“I can cover, I can play the run, I’ve always prided myself on doing that. I’ve never liked being categorized as one type of player, I can do everything,” Bucannon continued.

We’ll get to see Bucannon in action as soon as week eight when the Giants take on the Lions, and former defensive tackle Damon Harrison. At 2-3-1, Harrison’s Lions aren’t much of a better team than the Giants are in terms of record, and the game may be a chance for the Giants to stop the bleeding and snap their losing streak… If they can compete on the defensive side of the ball, unlike in their outing against Arizona.

New York Giants news, 10/23 – Giants sign free agent defender, Sterling Shepard returning, more

New York Giants, Sterling Shepard

Good Morning, New York Giants Fans!

With the NFL trade deadline right around the corner, the league is in full swing with several big-name players making moves this week. October 29 marks the last day for teams to deal players, so we can expect to see a ton of movement, and the New York Giants could be one of them.

However, Big Blue picked up a free agent on Tuesday in linebacker Deone Bucannon, formerly of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Bucannon has previously played for defensive coordinator James Bettcher in the past, making his signing a valuable one. It won’t take long for him to slot into the defense considering his knowledge of the 3-4 scheme and connection with Bettcher. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in some degree this upcoming Sunday against the Detroit Lions, especially after an abysmal performance from the defense last week against Arizona.

Bucannon brings a veteran presence to the team and had some of his best seasons with Bettcher, most notably his 2015 campaign. He logged 109 combined tackles with three sacks and 11 tackles for a loss. Replicating those numbers will be complicated, but he’s had success in the past.

Sterling Shepard’s return:

Shepard stated that he’s been without concussion symptoms for quite some time now, but the New York Giants medical staff is playing it safe with the receiver. Having two concussions in one season can be dangerous to a player’s long-term health, so allowing Shepard to heal appropriately and take his time is most beneficial.

If he’s cleared to practice fully this week, he will suit up against the Lions in a must-win game. At 2-5 on the season, the Giants are dangerously close to slipping away into the depths of the NFC East.

Nonetheless–

Your top news of the day:

Michael Eisen – Giants sign linebacker Deone Bucannon

Dan Benton – Giants’ Golden Tate: ‘I didn’t come here to lose’
Michael Eisen – Giants waive TE Garrett Dickerson, sign LB Devante Downs from practice squad
Anthony Rivardo – The New York Giants Offensive Line Rebuild Is NOT Complete

New York Giants: What does LB Deone Bucannon bring to Big Blue?

New York Giants, Deone Bucannon

The New York Giants signed former Arizona Cardinal and Tampa Bay Cardinals linebacker, Deone Bucannon, on Tuesday afternoon, filling a position of need with a familiar player.

Defensive coordinator James Bettcher worked with Bucannon earlier in his career in Arizona, where he enjoyed some of his best seasons. The former first-round pick will pick up the role Tae Davis was supposed to fill this season before being benched and stashed away for a rainy day.

Bettcher utilizes a position called the “money backer,” which is essentially a blend of a tradition linebacker and outside linebacker. It requires a robust and fast player who can rush the passer but also drop back into coverage — something Bucannon has done in the past.

The fifth-year player has played strong safety in the past, giving him knowledge of multiple positions, which is beneficial for Big Blue, who will hope to plug him in right away alongside Alec Ogletree and David Mayo in the middle of the field. His influence can be valuable, but he’s three seasons from a productive campaign. While the Buccaneers cut him, the reasoning will give you more justification for his quality.

Bucannon was cut to enable a third-round compensatory pick selection for Tampa Bay, which was more valuable than the linebacker. Take the tidbit of information as you will, but he can fill a needed role for the Giants and has plenty of experience with Bettcher on defense.

The New York Giants are developing the linebacker position but are ways away:

With Ryan Connelly quickly establishing himself as the top linebacker on the team as a rookie, it puts Ogletree on the trade-block this season and could potentially send him on his way next offseason. Bucannon can help in the middle of the field and create confusion for defenses, and if he can regain his form from the past, there could be an argument to be made for a possible contract extension.

Of course, we need to see what the linebacker has to offer in live-action before we make any judgment calls.

New York Giants news, 10/13 – Giants running out of time to sign veteran linebacker

New York Giants, Deone Bucannon

Good Morning, New York Giants Fans!

The New York Giants enjoyed a surprisingly solid performance from linebacker David Mayo on Thursday night against the New England Patriots, as he recorded several stops on third down and even contributed in two turnovers on downs against Tom Brady.

However, that doesn’t mean the Giants shouldn’t be in hot pursuit over former Tampa Bay Buccaneers defender, Deone Bucannon. The James Bettcher product enjoyed his best seasons with the current Giants defensive coordinator. Bucannon racked up 82 combined tackles, one interception, two forced fumbles and two tackles for a loss over 12 games in 2017. That was his final season with Bettcher before the DC joined the Giants.

His familiarity with the system makes him a glaring gem for Big Blue and general manager Dave Gettleman, even after signing running back Javorius Allen. The available cap-space might hinder Gettleman’s ability to sign Bucannon, who was on a one-year, $2.5 million deal with the Bucs before being released. The reason he was let go is that the Bucs will now earn a third-round compensatory pick next draft — it wasn’t play related.

With Alec Ogletree, Tae Davis, and Nate Stupar featuring at the linebacker position alongside Mayo, the Giants are not secure in the middle of the defense whatsoever. They must upgrade the position eventually, which is why taking a flier on Bucannon is a great idea.

The issue is available cap-space, as the Giants are now down to around $2 million and will be reluctant to spend a majority of it on signing a linebacker for half the season. For argument’s sake, giving him a chance is not a bad idea considering the success he has had in the past with Bettcher. If he proves to be successful once again, extending him for next season would be a great move, especially considering how cost-effective he would be for a starter.

Nonetheless–

Your top news of the day:

Zach Braziller – Giants are wiping away long-standing defensive concern

Alexander Wilson – New York Giants: Give Daniel Jones a break, there’s a reason he struggled against the Patriots

Dan Benton – Giants’ Dexter Lawrence on his way to elite status
Shanna McCarriston – Photo of Eli Manning, Daniel Jones on sideline during Giants vs. Patriots game turns into perfect meme

Dan Benton – Giants sign Javorius Allen: 5 things to know about their new running back

New York Giants news, 10/12 – Injury update, Deone Bucannon, Dave Gettleman mistake?

New York Giants, Dave Gettleman

Good Morning, New York Giants Fans!

The New York Giants escaped the 35-14 loss to the New England Patriots without suffering any further significant injuries. Rooke passer Daniel Jones took a few big hits but managed to stay active and healthy throughout the contest — one play in specific was cause for concern when he dove headfirst into a diving Pats defender extending for the defensive score.

https://twitter.com/PatsNationTM/status/1182490006184706049

The effort is appreciated by Jones, but spare us the heart-attack and push him out of bounds rather than spearing him with the crown of your helmet. Luckily, he walked away unharmed and finished the game with 161-yards passing for one score and three interceptions.

Did Dave Gettleman do the Giants a disservice?

Consider this reality for a second — the Giants trotted out practice squad rookie Jon Hilliman onto the field against one of the best defenses in the past decade. A defense that hadn’t allowed a passing score through five-week before Golden Tate’s 64-yard circus catch.

My question is, did Gettleman even try and help Jones out with some free agent support? Hilliman was not only inefficient, but he fumbled down seven-points in the fourth-quarter, giving Pats defender Kyle Van Noy a treat in the form of a fumble recovery for a touchdown. This play alone put the Giants two scores away and in a position of impossible return.

Big Blue is sitting on about $3 million in available cap, and Gettleman didn’t even think to utilize any of it for at least one week to help out his rookie quarterback. Options like CJ Anderson, Bennie Cunningham, and Jay Ajayi remain available on the market, but Gettleman didn’t even consider signing one. The Giants did, however, work out three veterans when Barkley went down, but none were signed.

While Gettleman didn’t allocate cap-space to the running back corps, he could still sign linebacker, Deon Bucannon. The former Tampa Bay Buccanneers defender and Arizona Cardinal has experience playing underneath James Bettcher. Bucannon had his best seasons playing on Bettcher’s defense, and the Giants would be crazy not to kick the tires on the former first-round pick.

That could certainly be where the cap allocation is headed.

Injury update:

With over a week to recover and prepare for the Arizona Cardinals, star running back Saquon Barkley should be ready to return. There was speculation that he would play against the Patriots, but cold weather and reliance on running the ball might have been too strenuous on the injured ankle.

Tight end Evan Engram could have theoretically played on Thursday night, but a sprained MCL kept him out. He will also likely return against the Cardinals. Wide receiver Sterling Shepard might be the playmaker out the longest, considering his second concussion of the season suffered against the Minnesota Vikings. If he misses a second-consecutive week, he will be in line to return against the Detroit Lions.

Nonetheless–

Your top news of the day:

Tyler Sullivan – Patriots’ Kyle Van Noy says Daniel Jones was ‘trippin’ for continuing to test Stephon Gilmore

Jordan Dajani – Pat Shurmur not surprised by NFL’s ruling on pass interference challenge: ‘Replay doesn’t overturn much’

Ed Valentine – Post-game quotebook: What thy Giants were saying after 35-14 loss to Patriots

Mark Cannizzaro – Giants turned grim Patriots matchup into building block: ‘Can beat anyone’

Alexander Wilson – New York Giants news, 10/11 – Pat Shurmur blasphemy, Positive signs, Saquon Barkley

New York Giants could snag former 1st round linebacker Deone Bucannon

New York Giants, Deone Bucannon

The New York Giants need all the help they can get at the linebacker position after losing rookie Ryan Connelly to a torn ACL against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Wisconsin product looked stellar in his first season in the NFL, consistently making tackles and showing improvement with every passing game.

We can hope to see him feature in a starting role next season alongside a capable option not named Alec Ogletree or Tae Davis. However, both Ogletree and Davis will return from injuries this week against the New England Patriots in what will be a difficult matchup given the unavailability of offensive studs Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, and Evan Engram.

On Wednesday, though, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers released former first-round pick, Deon Bucannon, a strong linebacker with experience under Giants defensive coordinator, James Bettcher.

Well-known former Giants player Carl Banks even advocated for Deone on Twitter, stating that Big Blue would be silly not to take a flier on him:

Bucannon could theoretically fill in at the “money backer” spot, a position that Tae Davis was supposed to excel at this season. His demise leaves a gaping hole in the defense, and the former Cardinal could fit the bill nicely. At 6-foot-1, 211-pounds, he’s an agile defender that would bring aggressiveness and athleticism to the middle of the defense.

Bucannon, who’s 27-years-old, enjoyed three stellar seasons with Bettcher in Arizona. Last season, his play fell off exponentially, playing in just six games for the Cardinals, making only 38 tackles. His role with Bettcher seemed to fit his play-style perfectly, and the Giants not kicking the tires on the veteran would be ludicrous.

In his five seasons with the Cardinals and Bettcher, he earned 404 combined tackles, seven sacks, 311 solo tackles, and 27 tackles for a loss. Reuniting the two might be a match made in heaven for a defense that ranks as one of the worst in the NFL. The defensive scheme that helped extract the best out of Bucannon could be utilized once more, and it might give the Giants confidence going into 2020, especially if his cap-hit is team-friendly.

A side not — The Giants did have interest in Bucannon over the offseason.

New York Giants: 2019 Free Agent Targets At The Linebacker Position

Last offseason, the Giants attempted to improve their linebacker position via trade. The Giants acquired Alec Ogletree and a 2019 7th round pick from the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for a 2018 4th round pick and a 2018 6th round pick.

Despite this trade, the Giants’ linebacker position was still below average in 2018. Alec Ogletree finished the season with a 50.7 overall grade, ranked 81st out of all linebackers in the league. He was inconsistent in coverage and missed many tackles that left fans frustrated with the defensive captain. B.J. Goodson performed better (66.2 overall PFF grade), but was still only the 41st ranked linebacker in the NFL.

Luckily for the Giants, there are plenty of options to upgrade the linebacker position in the 2019 offseason. There are options in the 2019 free agency class. The Giants can certainly find quality linebackers to start for 2019 and beyond.

Free Agency:

If the Giants want to make a splash in free agency, there are a couple of big-name free agents they could look to sign. However, it does not stop there. There are not only big-name free agents, there are solid depth pieces they could look to sign on cheaper contracts.

Anthony Barr:

One big-name linebacker they could sign is Anthony Barr from the Minnesota Vikings. Barr is a jack-of-all-traits. He can rush the passer, defend the run, and play in coverage. Anthony Barr has been selected to the Pro Bowl each of the past four seasons.

Anthony Barr accumulated 23 pressures on just 94 pass-rush snaps in 2018. On top of that, 2018 featured a career high in sacks for Barr 3 total sacks. This is especially impressive considering Barr’s high number of pressures and low number of pass-rush snaps. This prompted some to believe he should be converted to a full-time edge defender like he was in college

However, it would not be surprising if Barr remained at linebacker because of his ability to play in coverage. His 22 total passes defended in only 5 seasons proves he is a playmaker at the linebacker position.

He had a down year in 2018. He posted a career worst tackle total with only 55 but that could work to the Giants’ benefit. His 2018 campaign could lead him to a lower market value this offseason. If Barr could return to form, he could take the Giants’ defense to the next level.

Jordan Hicks:

Jordan Hicks is another big-name free agent that the Giants could look to sign. Stealing an impact player from a division rival could reap plenty of benefits. He could give the Giants some insider info on how to beat the Eagles’ defense. On top of that, Hicks is one of the best coverage linebackers in the NFL. He had 5 passes defended in 2018.

After missing 9 games in 2017 with a leg injury, Hicks bounced back with a solid campaign in 2018. In only 12 games, Hicks posted 91 total tackles. Hicks also totaled 3 sacks and one fumble recovery.

Hicks was still working his way back from injury in 2018, but if he is completely healthy in 2019, he could return to form as one of the best linebackers in the NFL. In 2016, Hicks played all 16 games and was lockdown in coverage. He had 5 interceptions and 11 passes defended in 2016. The Giants’ defense would welcome that production with open arms.

Deone Bucannon:

Deone Bucannon from the Arizona Cardinals is not a top-tier, big name free agent. He should be a cheaper option in free agency, but he could very well be a match for the Giants. Bucannon has a connection to the Giants’ defensive coordinator, James Bettcher. Bettcher was the defensive coordinator of the Cardinals before he joined the Giants in 2018.

Bucannon used to play safety for the Cardinals, but Bettcher had the wits to convert him to linebacker because of his tackling ability. In 2015, when Bucannon was playing both safety and linebacker, he racked up 109 tackles. He also had an interception, 3 passes defended, and 3 forced fumbles.

Unfortunately, Deone’s production has not been as stellar as 2015 in recent years. In 2018, Bucannon only started in 6 games, played in 13, and racked up just 38 tackles. He has become more of a rotational player. However, it is possible that a reunion with Bettcher could bring out the best in Bucannon.

New York Giants Division Rival Release Player At A Position Of Need

On Monday morning it was announced that the Washington Redskins had released safety D.J. Swearinger. Swearinger was cut due to repeated public criticism of the coaching staff. However, he has been an excellent player this season and should draw interest from many teams, including the New York Giants.

Swearinger As A Player

D.J. Swearinger is a strong safety who spent his last two seasons with the Redskins. Swearinger has a combined 51 tackles this season, and 79 tackles last season. He played primarily as a strong safety after the Redskins traded for Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, but he has the ability to play free safety too. Swearinger is 27 years old and has played for four teams in his six year career. The hard-hitting safety forced three fumbles while additionally recording one fumble recovery and even one sack this season. In two seasons with Washington, Swearinger totaled 20 passes defended and eight interceptions. This is consistent high-level play by the veteran that the Giants lack from that position.

How Could He Fit In The Giants’ Defense?

For the Redskins this season, Swearinger played strong safety. The Giants have former all-pro Landon Collins on their roster as a strong safety, so it may look like they have no need for Swearinger. However, Collins has just undergone surgery and is a free agent this offseason. If the Giants decide not to resign Collins, Swearinger is a player they would take a look at. If the Giants do resign Collins, there are still reasons why they might consider signing Swearinger.

Firstly, a position change could be on the horizon for Landon Collins. Collins is a run stuffing strong safety who plays like more of a linebacker than a safety. This is due to Collins’s lack of coverage ability. Collins was getting picked on by opposing teams in coverage all season leading up to his injury. Most notably was the Bears game where running back Tarik Cohen hauled in 12 receptions for 156 yards, including a 46 yard reception in which Collins was in coverage.

Due to his inability to play as a coverage safety, Collins could have his position switched to become a full-time linebacker. This would not be the first time defensive coordinator James Bettcher has done something of the sorts. During his time in Arizona, Bettcher switched safety Deone Bucannon over to linebacker due to his inability to cover.

In this scenario, Landon Collins would move down to linebacker and Swearinger would play strong safety. This would be a great move for the Giants, however, it would still leave a gaping whole at the free safety position.

Another way the Giants could use Swearinger would be by moving him over to the free safety position. Swearinger is more of a run support safety than a coverage safety, but for a run support safety he is great in coverage. He also had four interceptions this season and 10 passes defended.

The Washington safety is also the highest graded defensive back covering in-routes this season, according to Pro Football Focus. He played strong safety with Haha Clinton-Dix playing opposite of him at free safety with Washington. Those two elevated each other’s play and the pairing of Collins and Swearinger would likely do the same.

The Giants have holes at multiple positions and safety is one of them. With the inconsistent play of Curtis Riley, it is likely the Giants will be in the market for another safety this offseason. Multiple names will come up when discussing the Giants’ options, and D.J. Swearinger needs to be one of them.