New York Giants: Silver Linings From Week One vs Pittsburgh

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

The New York Giants suffered a disappointing loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers last night. After getting off to a good start, the Giants squandered their lead and ultimately lost the game by two possessions. The final score was 26-16.

Despite this loss, there was plenty to like about the Giants’ performance in Week One. Some Solid performances on both sides of the football can encourage Giants fans heading into the second week of the season.

The Silver Linings

Daniel Jones

The Giants’ second-year quarterback, Daniel Jones, played a great game on Monday night. However, he did turn the ball over twice, and it cost the Giants big-time. But outside of those two turnovers, Jones was impressive as can be in Week One.

The Steelers possess one of the best defenses in the NFL. Their run-defense and pass-rush were elite last night. The Steelers held Saquon Barkley to 6 rushing yards and pressured Daniel Jones on 26 of his passing attempts. Jones was pressured 6 times more than any other quarterback in the NFL in Week One.

Despite having pressure in his face constantly, and despite not having a solid run game to rely on, Daniel Jones stood in the pocket and made some of the best throws of his career. Jones totaled 279 yards and 2 touchdown passes on 26 attempts.

Jones was particularly good when targeting the middle of the field. When targeting the middle, Jones completed 13 of his 15 passing attempts for 182 yards and 2 touchdowns. Jones was also superb on third down and carried the Giants’ offense at times. If Jones can continue to play at this level while keeping the turnovers down and receiving more help from his offensive line, 2020 could be the year Jones establishes himself as a franchise quarterback.

The Front Seven

The Giants enjoyed multiple impressive performances in their front seven. No one was more impressive than newly-signed inside linebacker Blake Martinez. Martinez recorded 11 tackles (tied for the most of all linebackers in Week One) en route to an 83.9 overall grade by Pro Football Focus. Blake Martinez played like one of the best linebackers in the NFL in Week One.

Lorenzo Carter also had one of the best games of his career on Monday night. Carter recorded 3 pressures, nearly had a sack, and earned an 81.5 overall PFF grade this week. His 3 pressures were tied for the team lead along with Leonard Williams, another player who had an impressive performance.

Leonard Williams recorded a sack and 3 pressures in Week One. Another interior defensive lineman also recorded a sack, though. Dexter Lawrence, the big hog molly out of Clemson started his second season off on the right track, earning a sack in an impressive performance.

The Giants’ defense was most impressive in Week One. The front seven was excellent, seeing multiple players have some of the best individual performances of their careers. This was especially important as the defensive secondary struggled to contain Ben Roethlisberger and his playmakers. The Giants will want to see their front seven build off of an impressive performance in Week Two, while also hoping to see some improvement from their young and inexperienced secondary.

New York Giants: Good Camp So Far For Dexter Lawrence

New York Giants, Dexter Lawrence

The New York Giants should have better talent on the defensive front this year. That’s a matter of them simply having more experience and added talent compared to last year. The pass rush should be better with Markus Golden returning and Kyler Fackrell joining, but don’t forget about what the Giants have in the middle.

Specifically, don’t forget about Dexter Lawrence. The second year lineman is improving since last season according to Joe Judge, who spoke on his camp performance on Friday.

Dexter Lawrence earns praise from Joe Judge

“I think Dex had a really nice camp. He’s a guy that came in really good shape, really ready to go. He’s done a really good job working with [Sean] Spence[r] and working on some of the pass rushing stuff,” Judge said when asked about his thoughts on Lawrence’s game and improvements. “But really where he’s improved this year a lot is his ability to build that wall and anchor in the run game, and really help us get them to a third down situation.”

It’s another mention of third down. It appears to be an important down for the Giants this year. Kyler Fackrell also spoke of third downs recently, saying it will be a ‘fun down’ this year. And Lawrence might play a part in getting the opposing team to third down in the first place through stuffing the run and pressuring the quarterback.

“He has a good knack for getting his hand up at the right time and batting the ball down,” Judge said about Lawrence’s ability to knock down passes at the line.

“A lot of that comes into just his instincts. But he’s also got that good length where he can really keep extension off the offensive line and see through them to when the quarterback is in a rhythm of throwing the ball, he gets his hand up at the right time.”

Last season, Lawrence had a decent run as a rookie player with 38 tackles and 2.5 sacks. He started every game, which is expected to continue into this season as Lawrence is unchallenged at his spot by others on the depth chart.

And so far, it looks like there’s good reason to be optimistic about his play.

New York Giants: Dexter Lawrence Ready To Break Out In 2020

New York Giants, Dexter Lawrence

The New York Giants have built one of the best, young defensive lines in the NFL since 2018. General manager Dave Gettleman has put a heavy emphasis on building through the trenches, investing tons of assets into the defensive line. Since 2018, here is what the Giants have invested into their defensive line: a 2018 third-round pick, a 2018 fifth-round pick, a 2019 first-round pick, a 2019 seventh-round pick, a 2020 third-round pick and 2021 fifth-round pick in a trade to acquire Leonard Williams, and a $16.1 million franchise tag on Leonard Williams. Additionally, the Giants already had a 2017 second-round pick invested in Dalvin Tomlinson.

This long list of investments has paid off for the Giants. Their defensive line is loaded with talented players entering 2020. The Giants’ defensive line could be dominant in 2020. But the most exciting player in this position group is Dexter Lawrence. Lawrence was a first-round pick for the Giants just last year but he already looks like one of the team’s best players.

Why Dexter Lawrence Will Break Out This Year

Dexter Lawrence was great as a rookie in 2019. But he will be even better in 2020. Last season, Dexter Lawrence played and started in all 16 games, totaling 38 combined tackles, 3 tackles for loss, and 2.5 sacks. Dexter was an underrated pass-rusher coming out of college, and he definitely flashed some potential as a pass-rusher last season.

But Dexter Lawrence’s biggest strength is his performance in run defense. Dexter received the honor of making Pro Football Focus’s 2019 All-Rookie Team. PFF states that Lawrence’s 76.3 run-defense grade ranked 21st among 117 qualifying interior defenders last season.

Lawrence uses his ginormous stature to dominate in run defense. Last year, Dexter was logged in at 6 feet 4 inches and 340 pounds. But according to the man himself, that will not be his playing weight in 2020. Losing weight was something Lawrence focused on this offseason:

“I got a personal trainer, we focused on eating, portion control, I got a chef. I didn’t really like my build last year (when his listed weight was 342 pounds). This year I tried to focus on losing a little bit of weight just so I can be better on the field. I’m out there running a lot better than I did last year. That’s just the goal for me each year. Feel better and be better.” – Dexter Lawrence via Giants.com 8/18/20

This is potentially big news for Dexter Lawrence. Being lighter on his feet will allow Dexter to improve as a pass-rusher. It could also improve his stamina and make him more efficient in the fourth quarter, something he mentioned to the media. Dexter Lawrence will break out in 2020 with a leaner build and improved skills with a season of experience under his belt.

New York Giants: Dalvin Tomlinson talks new defense, Dexter Lawrence

New York Giants, Dalvin Tomlinson

The New York Giants are learning a new defense under first-year head coach Joe Judge, administered by new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham.

Defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson is enthusiastic about the new defense, comparing it to his “Alabama days” (quotes are courtesy of Giants.com’s Dan Salomone)

“I’m super excited about the new defense. I want to help in the run and pass this year.” He says the scheme is “fun” and reminds him of his Alabama days in terms of technique.”

The Giants selected Dalvin Tomlinson with the 55th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Last season he totaled 49 combined tackles, three and a half sacks and nine quarterback hits. The Alabama product has started 48 games while totaling 158 combined tackles, four and a half sacks and 10 quarterback hits across his three-year NFL career.

Tomlinson is entering the final year of his rookie deal, making the 2020 season a money year. He’s one of four holdovers from former general manager Jerry Reese’s reign, wide receiver Sterling Shepard, tight end Evan Engram and running back Wayne Gallman being the other three.

The Giants projected starting defensive line features Tomlinson, Leonard Williams, and the second-year Dexter Lawrence.

Tomlinson sees Lawrence getting more “comfortable” at the NFL level in training camp.

“You get used to the NFL. You get a little more comfortable going into Year 2.”

General manager Dave Gettleman selected Lawrence with the 17th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft out of Clemson. He was one of the team’s three first-round draft selections, Duke quarterback Daniel Jones (6) and Georgia cornerback Deandre Baker (30) being the other two.

Lawrence started 16 games in his rookie season, totaling 38 combined tackles, two and a half sacks and nine quarterback hits.

Last season the Giants defense was third in the NFL in points surrendered (451), fifth in penalties (117), eighth in yards surrendered (6,037), 22nd in sacks (36), and tied for 28th in takeaways (16).

New York Giants: Why The Defensive Line Could Dominate In 2020

Since becoming general manager of the New York Giants in 2018, Dave Gettleman has put an emphasis on building up the defensive line. Since 2018, here is what the Giants have invested into their defensive line: a 2018 third-round pick, a 2018 fifth-round pick, a 2019 first-round pick, a 2019 seventh-round pick, a 2020 third-round pick and 2021 fifth-round pick in a trade to acquire Leonard Williams, and a $16.1 million franchise tag on Leonard Williams. Additionally, the Giants already had a 2017 second-round pick invested in Dalvin Tomlinson.

The Giants have invested a considerable amount in their defensive line. But this investment should pay off, as New York has a young core of highly-talented hog mollies to fill the trenches.

Young Defensive Line Talent

Dalvin Tomlinson

The Giants’ longest-tenured defensive lineman is an underrated star, Dalvin Tomlinson. The hog molly out of Alabama has been the most consistent and efficient player on the Giants’ defense since entering the league in 2017. Dalvin has not missed a game in his career, starting in 16 games every season for the past three seasons.

2019 was a career year for Tomlinson. Dalvin Tomlinson recorded 49 combined tackles with 7 tackles for loss. What made Tomlinson’s 2019 season so exciting though was his improvements as a pass-rusher. After failing to record a single sack in 2018, Tomlinson totaled a career-high 3.5 sacks in 2019. Dalvin Also totaled 13 pressures in 2019, 5 more than he did in 2018.

There is a reason to believe that Dalvin Tomlinson will improve further in 2020. When asked about new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham’s scheme, Tomlinson expressed excitement:

The scheme is fun. It reminds me of the Alabama defense and the Alabama days and the techniques I used to use and stuff like that.  – Dalvin Tomlinson via Giants.com 8/6/20

New York Giants: Is Dalvin Tomlinson The Most Underrated Player On The Giants?

New York Giants, Dalvin Tomlinson

The New York Giants‘ defensive line is slowly turning into one of the best units in the NFL. The combination of Leonard Williams, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Dexter Lawrence will leave opposing offensive lines struggling to gain ground in 2020.

On that defensive line, there is a player who is rarely talked about. Dalvin Tomlinson, the heart and soul of the Giants’ defensive front, has been one of the best and most consistent defensive linemen in the NFL over the past few years. Heading into 2020, Tomlinson is still an underrated and underappreciated talent.

Why Dalvin Tomlinson Deserves More Respect

Since entering the league as a second-round draft pick in 2017, Dalvin Tomlinson has been a rock on the Giants’ defense. Dalvin has not missed a game in his career, starting in 16 games every season for the past three seasons. Tomlinson was already a solid player in his rookie 2017 season but he has only gotten better each year.

Tomlinson finished with 50 or more tackles in each of his first two seasons. In 2017, Dalvin totaled 50 tackles, and in 2018 he totaled 59. He improved his tackles for loss total to 5 in 2018 after posting only 1 in 2017. Dalvin Tomlinson is not a flashy player, but he gets the job done.

In 2019, Dalvin Tomlinson recorded 49 combined tackles with 7 tackles for loss. What made Tomlinson’s 2019 season so exciting though was his improvements as a pass-rusher. After failing to record a single sack in 2018, Tomlinson totaled a career-high 3.5 sacks in 2019. Dalvin Also totaled 13 pressures in 2019, 5 more than he did in 2018.

Dalvin Tomlinson is far from a household name. He has never been to a Pro Bowl and he is rarely discussed as one of the best defenders on the Giants. But silently, Dalvin has been the Giants’ best defensive player over the past three years. Entering a new Alabama-like system in 2020, Tomlinson is bound to break out and get the respect he deserves (and maybe even a new contract).

New York Giants: The 3 most important defenders for 2020 and beyond

New York Giants, James Bradberry, Dexter Lawrence, Xavier McKinney

The New York Giants no longer have room for failure, as the past three years have been disappointing and resulted in a revolving door of head coaches. Since hiring Joe Judge, the team seems to be on a better path, but only the regular season will give us legitimate answers.

This off-season has already been different, as the NFL draft seemed influenced by Judge. He also utilized the rare free agent tender to retain Markus Golden potentially. These small but robust moves can be the difference between success and failure in specific units.

However, the defense still requires plenty of attention and refinement. Judge will be more of a walk around head coach monitoring every unit, leaving his coordinators to do their jobs. New defensive coordinator Patrick Graham will have a lot on his plate in year one. Installing a new defense with many different sets and tendencies can be problematic.

Nonetheless, the defense has several talented players that will hopefully develop an identity moving forward.

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Let’s take a look at the three most important New York Giants defenders:

1.) Dexter Lawrence

Lawrence earns the number one spot simply based on his youth and potential. During his rookie season, the former Clemson stand-out posted 38 combined tackles, nine quarterback hits, and 2.5 sacks over 16 games. His numbers were more efficient than Leonard Williams’, who is currently asking for $18-20 million per season.

Considering Dexter is still on his rookie contract, he represents additional value in the monetary category. His production and statistical efficiency should see an improvement with one year of experience under his belt. He is a building block and staple on defense and will be utilized as such for the foreseeable future.

Several weeks ago, an anonymous general manager and AFC scout told Matt Lombardo of NJ.com that Dexter ranks atop the players on the Giants’ defense.

“It has to be Dexter Lawrence or James Bradberry at this point. Lawrence is a legitimate run-stuffer up the middle, and Bradberry is a dominant cornerback with good size and ball-skills,” the GM said.

“I believe it will eventually be Andrew Thomas, but I can’t give him that title just yet. My choice is Dexter Lawrence. He’s just such a factor in the running game and now has been showing emerging pass-rush ability,” he said.

New York Giants: Dexter Lawrence is gearing up for a dominant 2020

New York Giants, Dexter Lawrence

The New York Giants might be sitting on a gold-mine with Dexter Lawrence:

The New York Giants are heading into 2020 with multiple players that deserve praise, one of them being stud interior defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence. Lawrence started off his career efficiently, playing in all 16 games, tallying 2.5 sacks, 38 combine tackles, three tackles for loss, and nine quarterback hits.

Lawrence is a 6-foot-4, 342-pound man, filling the interior defense and stopping the run at a high-level. Last season, he did miss five tackles, which accounted for 11.6% of his attempted tackles. That number needs to be decreased, but overall, as a rookie, he was fantastic and proved valuable as the 17th overall pick in 2019.

There are a few extremely impressive traits regarding Lawrence, one of them being a deadly bull-rush. While his pass rash moves may be limited and numbered, his elite move is running full speed and carrying his 364-pound body through offensive lineman.

His athleticism and ability to drive his feet and extend his arms leave guards begging for forgiveness. The former Clemson stand out has extremely strong arms, which he uses to job and stab at the shoulder of guards, pushing them off balance and using his power to manipulate their feet/hips. Once you can get an offensive lineman’s weight going backward, it becomes easy to push them right into their own quarterback. His disruption and ability to draw double teams opens up opportunities for success at the outside linebacker position and blitzing safeties.

The major deficiency Lawrence will have to refine year to is the mental aspect of his game. Sometimes he can be late coming off blocks and diagnosing plays as they happen, but that is all part of experience and earning more live reps.

Matt Lombardo of NJ.com spoke with an anonymous general manager about the best players on defense for the Giants, and what she stated dexter Lawrence ranked among them.

“It has to be Dexter Lawrence or James Bradberry at this point. Lawrence is a legitimate run-stuffer up the middle, and Bradberry is a dominant cornerback with good size and ball-skills,” the GM said.

There’s plenty of optimism to go around, but Lawrence has drawn the attention of managers and coaches around the NFL. If he can take the next step in 2020, the Giants will be sitting on a gold-mine.

New York Giants, Joe Judge to ‘push’ Leonard Williams

New York Giants, Leonard Williams

Leonard Williams is entering his first full season with the New York Giants. The Giants acquired Williams from the New York Jets before last season’s NFL trade deadline for a 2020 third- and 2021 fifth-round draft pick. The Giants utilized the franchise tag on Williams this offseason, which pays him roughly $16.1 million for the 2020 season.

New head coach Joe Judge is encouraged by the team’s conversations with Williams, and the Giants have made it clear that they plan to “push” the defensive lineman.

“Leonard has had a really good spring in terms of what we’re able to do working virtually,” Judge said, per Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News. “He’s done a phenomenal job working with our coaches. He’s been great in meetings. He’s been very active. We’ve had great conversations. And we’ve expressed to him how much we’re gonna work and push him, that we want to see him maximize his potential.”

Judge says there has been minimal talk about a long-term deal for Williams.

“There have not been extensive talks on contracts since the spring’s gone virtual.”

The head coach wants Williams to maximize his potential this season.

“The biggest focus I have on Leonard right now is that this year, he can really go ahead and maximize his potential. I’m looking forward to working with him for this year, and I’m really looking forward to working with him on the field, finally, to be honest with you.”

The Giants have put a lot of stock in their defensive line. Alongside Williams is Dexter Lawrence (one of the team’s three first-round draft selections in 2017), Dalvin Tomlinson, B.J. Hill, RJ McIntosh, and Austin Johnson, a free-agent signee.

Williams appeared in eight games for the Giants last season. Across those games, he totaled 26 combined tackles, two tackles for loss, 11 quarterback hits, and 0.5 sacks. Across his five seasons in the NFL, Williams has totaled 266 combined tackles and 17.5 sacks.

New York Giants: Dexter Lawrence has Pro-Bowl potential in 2020

New York Giants, Dexter Lawrence

Taking a look at New York Giants’ Dexter Lawrence and what we should expect from him in 2020:

One unit for the New York Giants remains in question after the bulk of free agency and the 2020 NFL draft have completed. While the likes of Jadeveon Clowney continues to scour the free-agent market for high-bidders, the Giants’ pass rush will revolve primarily around a scheme that utilizes linebackers, safeties, and depends on interior pressure to collapse the pocket.

A major piece in this scheme will be second your player Dexter Lawrence, who stands at 6-foot-4 and 342 pounds. At just 21 years old, Lawrence posted 2.5 sacks, 38 combine tackles, nine quarterback hits, and an 11.6% missed tackle right in his rookie season.

Lawrence has the potential to be a significant piece of the Giants’ defense moving forward. He earned a spot on the Pro Football Writer’s Association All-Rookie team based on his performance and ability to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Despite being the fourth interior defensive lineman selected in the 2019 NFL draft, he still managed to grade higher than Ed Oliver, Quinnen Williams, and Christian Wilkins.

Lawrence’s primary skillset revolves around his ability to clog running lanes and use his massive size to push offensive lineman backward in the trenches. He’s strong at the point of attack and is rather quick for a player his size. If he can increase his technical abilities and fundamentals, his ceiling is sky-high. He has the innate potential to be an All-Pro level player in the NFL, and in just his second season, he has plenty of time to reach that feat.

The addition of Leonard Williams in 2019 should also benefit Lawrence. Williams is another tough and gritty run stopper who can draw double teams. Having Dalvin Tomlinson, Williams, and Lawrence on the line should be overwhelming for offenses. They simply can’t double all three of them at the same time with players like Oshane Ximines, and possibly Markus Golden will be rushing off the edge.

Factoring in a diverse Patrick Graham defense, which will utilize safety blitzes and predominantly man coverage, will be tough to stop. On paper, this unit is underrated, and Lawrence plays a significant part in that expectation.

I expect Lawrence to post about five sacks in 2020 with 50 combined tackles and 15 quarterback hits. That is a solid improvement in each category, which would give him serious consideration for a Pro Bowl appearance. One category he needs to work on is his missed tackle percentage. He missed five last season, but as a rookie, it is only expected to see hiccups every now and then. Becoming more efficient in that category would translate into better run-stopping. Overall, he can be a staple for the Giants on defense, and 2020 might be the year he shows a glimpse of what he’s capable of.