New York Giants: How Lorenzo Carter can improve in 2020

New York Giants, Lorenzo Carter

The New York Giants’ defense needs the best version of Lorenzo Carter in 2020. Over the past two seasons, Carter has been nothing more than an average player. The Giants will need him to start at OLB if Markus Golden goes elsewhere. Through his first two seasons, the Giants have not seen the full potential of Carter, but a new defensive scheme could benefit him, and the new additions to the defense could play a big factor as well.

Lorenzo’s 2019 season stats may seem very average, but there are several areas he needs to improve. In 2019, Carter played in 15 games and started in 12. Also, had one forced fumble, 13 quarterback hits, and 25 solo tackles. I think the solo tackle number needs to be a lot higher. In the NFL, an OLB is responsible for containing the edge and not letting running backs bounce outside the tackles.

Needs to improve his pass coverage

The Giants’ defense has struggled in the passing game over the past three seasons. Especially linebackers in general, Lorenzo Carter, was not used a lot in pass defense, but when targeted, he struggled. In 2019, Carter was targeted five times and allowed three completions for 35 yards. Now, I know it may not seem like a lot, but this is a 60% completion percentage allowed when targeted. Overall, Carter did improve from 2018, but he needs to be better if Markus Golden is no longer a Giant.

An improved secondary

This offseason, the Giants made it a focal point to fix the secondary. With the additions of Xavier McKinney, James Bradberry, and Darnay Holmes, I see the Giants having a top-20 defense in the NFL. There is a lot of young talent on defense; this is a significant factor when it comes to the development of chemistry and coalition. These three guys will be huge in the secondary for Lorenzo Carter, they will allow Carter to focus on rushing the passer and making tackles in the backfield. There will be times where Carter gets stuck in coverage, but the secondary will be behind him to bail him out if anything goes wrong. This year’s secondary is a lot more promising than 2019’s; a healthy Jabrill Peppers looking to shock the world, and McKinney, who is going to put on a show.

Increase snap count

At the end of the day, the only way Lorenzo will get better is by being on the field more. Last season, Carter played in 723 defensive snaps (65%). I want to see Carter on the field for 85% of defensive snaps. Not only will the reps help improve his game, but this will also build his confidence. I think that’s the biggest problem, Carter being confident in the defensive scheme. Hopefully, the new defensive scheme with coach Graham will fit Carter’s playstyle better. Joe Judge is all about making players’ skill set match what his plans are.

New York Giants: Keep A Close Eye On These Players When Camp Is Here

New York Giants, Lorenzo Carter

The New York Giants, like the rest of the NFL, have missed out on a lot during this offseason due to facilities around the league being shut down for the spring due to COVID-19. However, it increasingly looks like training camp is going to happen as usual, starting in late July – even if the preseason is likely to be shortened to a couple of weeks thanks to awkward scheduling.

When the players do hit the field once again though, to work out together for the first time during 2020, which players are the ones worth keeping an eye on? Here’s three players to pay attention to, for both positive and negative reasons.

OLB Lorenzo Carter

The Giants are waiting on Lorenzo Carter. And they have been waiting on Lorenzo Carter. Carter was drafted in 2018 but after a pair of seasons where the outside linebacker performed somewhat under the expectation in tackles and sacks, many are wondering if Carter is even the right player for the spot.

Carter has increased competition this season after the Giants signed Kyler Fackrell at the same position specifically to help with the pass rush. The team also brings back Oshane Ximines, and if the Giants manage to bring back sack leader Markus Golden despite Golden’s free agency dragging on all the way into late June, Carter will have to deal with an even more crowded outside linebacker position with multiple other players who have statistically performed better than him.

It’s a make or break season for Carter despite being one of the regulars in the linebacker group during 2019. If his training camp performance is poor, those starts at OLB may not be so regular and Carter may find himself with a lesser percentage of the team’s snaps compared to others.

CB DeAndre Baker

So far, it looks like DeAndre Baker has a good shot to beat his legal case and return to football after multiple witnesses have claimed that he isn’t guilty of the crime he’s been accused of.

But Baker hitting the field again doesn’t necessarily mean all of his troubles will go away instantly. Baker’s missed time with the team during this offseason already because of his legal trouble, and while the Giants have been limited to a virtual program just like the rest of the league, the time spent still counts for something.

It’s an advantage for Baker’s rivals such as Sam Beal, who have a chance to move up and position themselves as the number two corner next to James Bradberry if they can outperform Baker early on, starting with camp.

After all, even if Baker is back in the game physically, there’s no telling if his head will be in the game immediately after a stressful legal situation.

OLB Kyler Fackrell

Another player on the defense and specifically the defensive line, Kyler Fackrell is another important name to keep an eye on not just for camp but for the entire season.

That’s because the Giants seem unlikely to come to a deal with Markus Golden, and they’re relying on him to fill the gap that Golden leaves in their team. The Giants haven’t been good in the sacks department for a long time now and Golden was their one saving grace in that area. If he’s gone, someone else is going to have to fill in for the production if the Giants don’t want to stay where they are or decline further in that area.

Fackrell had 10.5 sacks in 2018 but only had 1.5 last season. He was supplanted by others, playing in 16 games for Green Bay but starting none of them. It’s a concerning performance and the Giants will need Fackrell to bounce back to have a good pass rush this season.

All of that starts in camp. It’s worth paying attention to reports about how Fackrell has done once training camp begins.

New York Giants: Can Lorenzo Carter finally break out in year 3?

New York Giants, Lorenzo Carter

On paper, Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines both had extremely comparable rookie seasons in the NFL for the New York Giants. Carter posted 4.0 sacks over 40% of defensive snaps, which is a solid number for a first-year player in a new scheme. Carter passes all of the eye tests, with incredible speed and length.

However, Carter’s production in year two fell off significantly, even after experiencing a 25% bump in snaps. He was given more opportunities on defense and taken out of the special-teams significantly. After posting a 0.0% missed tackle right in his rookie season, he allowed eight missed tackles in 2019, compiling a 15.1% rate.

Additionally, in nearly 300 added snaps, he only added 0.5 sacks, two tackles, and three quarterback hits to his overall numbers. He actually recorded one less tackle for a loss over 12 games started compared to just two in 2018.

Ultimately, Carter has the physical traits to develop nicely for the Giants, and year three could be his turnaround season after a tough sophomore campaign.

Generally, Patrick Graham has had success utilizing linebackers in the 3-4 base defense. Kyler Fackrell, who worked with Graham as his linebackers coach in 2018 with a Green Bay Packers, helped him to 10.5 sacks in a similar role. I believe Carter can increase production and finally reach his potential, but they must not bury him in a depth role, they must keep him rotating in and gaining live snaps to test his abilities.

The expectation is that Ximines will elevate his game year two, which could give the Giants a nice one-two punch off the edge. In the case that they retain Markus Golden, having Carter and Oshane displaying quality pass rush moves and beating their respective assignments would be a gargantuan deal.

Here is Lorenzo Carter’s draft profile via Walter Football and what made him so special as a prospect entering the NFL:

There is no doubt that Carter definitely passes the eyeball test. He has shocking speed to go along with excellent height, length, and a natural build. Carter can be a dynamic pursuit defender. He is fast off the edge to chase after quarterbacks and running backs. When Carter is decisive, he can be deadly with a burst to close while packing a punch when he gets there. Carter needs to develop more pass-rushing moves, but he is versatile to rush from the edge or up the middle on the blitzes. Carter has the athletic skill set to be a dynamic pass-rusher, but it needs to be brought out of him, which he hasn’t done up to now.

We have seen small displays of this talent, specifically against the New England Patriots last season. Against the Pats, Carter posted 1.0 sacks, three tackles, two quarterback hits, and one forced fumble. This is the type of ability he contains, but his inconsistency has been disappointing. Nonetheless, it’s too early to write him off completely, as the upcoming season could provide a new life for the former Georgia stand out.

Are the New York Giants taking too big a risk on their pass rush in 2020?

New York Giants, Markus Golden

The New York Giants will either have a solid pass rush in  2020 or struggle significantly with the lack of proven talent on the roster. One could argue that the Giants are taking too big a risk with the current pass rushers on the team.

The only player they signed in free agency was Kyler Fackrell, who stands at 6-foot-5 and 245 pounds. His last successful season was in 2018 when Patrick Graham was his linebackers coach. Fackrell tallied 10.5 sacks, 12 quarterback hits and posted a 14.3% missed tackle rate. From these numbers, we can conclude that Fackrell was a solid pass rusher two years ago, but he missed a good amount of tackles to pair with his 10.5 sacks. He must improve in that category significantly after posting an 11.5 missed tackle rate in 2019.

Nonetheless, he has proven to be healthy over the course of four years in the NFL, and he lost his starting position to Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith last year, setting him back in his progression. While there is optimism, he can replicate his 2018 performance, having only one good year as his sample size does not breed optimism. We can hope for the best, but there is a very real chance Fackrell could be a dud.

The Giants are also placing their confidence in homegrown players. Both Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines will play in expanded roles moving forward, despite Carter regressing in 2019.

In nearly double the number of snaps from his rookie season to 2019, his numbers either remained the same or worsened. He only recorded .5 sacks more in 2019 (4.0 –> 4.5), and he logged a 15.1% missed tackle right after not missing a single tackle in 2018. Taking that far of a step backward might actually be a good thing because we know what he’s capable of and the potential he has.

This season is clearly an outlier, and if you can reverse this negative trend, Carter can be a successful player with Big Blue.

The New York Giants could have a stud in Oshane Ximines:

On to Oshane Ximines, who posted 4.5 sacks and nine quarterback hits on just 45% of defensive snaps in 2019. I anticipate he will earn more reps and hopefully emerge as a quality pass rusher for the Giants. He didn’t miss a single tackle last year, and he showed a wide array of pass rush moves that justify optimism. He utilizes a nice speed rush, arm chops, swim moves, you name it. For a player out of Old Dominion, a lower-tier D1 school, he certainly requires more pass rush moves than the average prospect. I expect big things from him in 2020, and he certainly has the skill set to prove me right.

The next player on the list is Markus Golden, who the Giants placed a free agent tender on this off-season. Ultimately, if he doesn’t sign elsewhere, he will stick with the Giants on a one-year, $5 million deal, which is about 110% of his 2019 contract.

Golden was the best pass rusher for the Giants in his redemption year last season, posting double-digit sack numbers and getting after the quarterback frequently. He was the leader on the defensive line, but the Giants were all but ready to let him walk in free agency before hitting him with a relatively cheap tender. If he sticks with the team, the Giants could have a solid pass rush to work with.

It is also fair to mention that defensive coordinator Patrick Graham utilizes a schemed pass rush, including linebackers and safety blitzes. The Giants also bolstered the interior of their defensive line with Leonard Williams, to help the outside linebackers put pressure on opposing quarterbacks. This defense is going to rush the passer on all different fronts, so we should expect a unique system that focuses on unpredictability.

New York Giants: What To Expect From Lorenzo Carter In 2020?

New York Giants, Lorenzo Carter

The New York Giants have a youthful defense that will need to improve in 2020. The team has spent third-round picks in each of the last two NFL Drafts on edge rushers. In 2018, New York drafted Lorenzo Carter, then Oshane Ximines in 2019. The Giants’ 2020 defense will likely feature a pass-rush by committee. But for Lorenzo Carter, specifically, what should we expect to see?

Lorenzo’s 2019 Regression

Lorenzo Carter was a decent player on the Giants’ defense in 2018. As a rookie, Carter showed some great flashes of potential. Lorenzo totaled 4 sacks, 10 QB hits, 19 pressures, 43 combined tackles, and 0 missed tackles. Carter did this on 40% of the Giants’ defensive snaps (441 snaps in total). That statistic is key to understanding why Carter’s 2019 performance was so disappointing.

In 2019, Carter played a much larger role in the defense. He saw his total number of snaps jump all the way to 723, which accounted for 65% of defensive snaps. With such an increase in playing time, one would reasonably expect an increase in production. Carter did not deliver. He gained only an extra 0.5 sack (4.5 total) compared to his 2018 total. He gained only 4 more pressures (23 total), only 2 more combined tackles (45 total), and saw his missed tackle rate skyrocket. Carter missed 8 tackles in 2019, a 15.1% missed tackle rate. This statistic is concerning and shocking considering just how reliable Lorenzo was as a tackler in his rookie season.

Carter’s Role in 2020

After failing to take that step forward as a sophomore, Lorenzo Carter is likely to see his role decrease in 2020. He played 65% of snaps in 2019 and that total percentage will likely decrease in 2020. The Giants added Kyler Fackrell in free agency and have high expectations for Oshane Ximines in his sophomore season. Not to mention Markus Golden is likely to return. These reasons will probably lead to Carter settling into a backup/rotational role.

If Lorenzo Carter can have a season similar to his 2018 campaign, that should be considered a success. Fewer snaps, but more efficient production, plus the additional pass-rushers on the roster could spell success for the Giants’ defense.

Projecting The New York Giants’ Top Roster Weaknesses In 2020

New York Giants, Markus Golden

The New York Giants have rebuilt their roster over the past couple of seasons. They found their future franchise quarterback, Daniel Jones, in 2019 and revamped their offensive line in 2020. The future is bright for the New York Giants, but the rebuild is not complete. There are some legitimate strengths on their roster but also some glaring weaknesses. Today, I will break down those weaknesses heading into 2020.

The Pass Rushers

It is no secret that the Giants lack a premier pass-rusher. They have a chance at retaining Markus Golden before the season starts, but even still, the pass-rush with Golden was not fantastic last year. The Giants did sign Kyler Fackrell this offseason, though, and he should make an impact. But there still is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the group of pass-rushers on the Giants’ roster.

Lorenzo Carter did not take the leap forward that we expected him to last season. Oshane Ximinez flashed potential, and hopefully, he can build on that in 2020. But the pass-rush on the Giants’ defense is going to have to derive mostly from Patrick Graham’s scheme. Graham loves to blitz in creative ways to get after the quarterback. That is how the Giants are going to have to do it this year.

The Lack Of A Primary Receiver

The Giants have a core of talented receivers on their roster. Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate, and Darius Slayton form a reliable group of receivers for Daniel Jones to throw to. But there is no X-Factor amongst the group.

That dominant, reliable, number one receiver can be so crucial for an offense. Don’t believe me? Let me refresh your memory of the Giants’ 2008 season. How bad was that offense after the Plaxico Burress incident occurred? They could not move the ball without that legitimate receiving threat. And it’s not like there were no other capable receivers on the roster. Amani Toomer, Steve Smith, and Dominick Hixon were all solid contributors. But they were not primary targets. They could not draw double teams and open up the offense the way that Burres could.

That is what we are looking at with the Giants’ offense in 2020. There is a lot of talent in that receiving corps, and there is a chance that Slayton could progress and become that primary threat. But, at this moment in time, that dominant number one receiver does not exist on the Giants’ roster.

Darius Slayton and Golden Tate both averaged only 2.2 yards of separation per catch. This number ranked near the bottom of the NFL. Sterling Shepard did manage to average a respectable 3.1 yards of separation, though. But still, Daniel Jones had a lot of tight windows to throw into last season and there is no sign that that will change in 2020.

Question Mark At Center

The Giants have options at the center position. There will be a three-way competition for the starting role. But there is no definitive answer at this point as to who will start at that key position.

Spencer Pulley, Nick Gates, and Shane Lemieux are all options at center. But there are cons with each of them. Pulley has never been an impressive starter, albeit he is a solid backup. Gates and Lemieux are both offensive guards that will look to make the position switch this season. Even if the switch is made successfully, there are bound to be growing pains along the way.

The Giants finally solidified their tackle positions, drafting Andrew Thomas at fourth overall and Matt Peart later in the third round. This gives the Giants the flexibility to move Solder to the other side of the line or have Thomas play his rookie season at right tackle. The options at that position make it a strength compared to the center position, where the options are slim and unreliable.

New York Giants Are Betting On Lorenzo Carter Stepping Up

Earlier in the offseason, the New York Giants were one of the teams potentially in the running for Leonard Floyd, who eventually ended up on the Rams. Outside linebacker is a position that many thought the Giants would go for, after all. Floyd, Jadeveon Clowney, and Isaiah Simmons were all names at the position that were brought up in connection to the Giants. In the end, however, the Giants didn’t go for any of these high profile players and stuck with what they had.

After all, the Giants already had a linebacker on the roster that’s very similar in style to Leonard Floyd. That, of course, is Lorenzo Carter – who even played at the same college.

But the Giants are taking a gamble trusting in Carter and not pursuing an alternative, because so far, they haven’t gotten everything they’ve needed out of the linebacker.

The expectations for Carter in 2020

Last year, Lorenzo Carter appeared in 15 games but was outperformed by others at the outside linebacker position. He wasn’t the top player at the position in either general stats or in pass rushing. Carter finished with 45 combined tackles while Markus Golden had 72 and Alec Ogletree had 80. In sacks, Carter had 4.5 while Golden led the team in a season where sacks were rare, finishing with 10.

It doesn’t look like Golden is going to be a Giant in 2020, and Ogletree isn’t returning this season either. With that production gone, the Giants need a big step up in Carter if this season isn’t going to be written off as another underperforming one for him.

After all, it’s less clear this year who would fill the gap in production. The Giants have brought in Kyler Fackrell to aid in the pass rush but it remains to be seen if they’ll get much actual production from the new signing – Fackrell had 10 sacks in 2018 but that seems like more of an anomaly, as he hasn’t had more than three in any other season and only had one in 2019.

The Giants don’t have a ton of other players to step up at the position and the fact that they didn’t pursue other big name outside linebackers probably shows that they have at least some faith in Carter. Therefore, the natural expectation is an increase in stats.

Carter isn’t going into a contract year, but the year after 2020 is one, and it’s about time for Carter to start improving his numbers to make the case for the Giants keeping him around long term once he has a chance to either get paid or be forced to settle for less than his likely asking price.

Six or seven sacks, and a big step up in tackles thanks to some of the previous top tacklers being gone, would go a long way in showing the Giants that they made the right choice in not moving to replace Carter.

New York Giants Should Stick With Lorenzo Carter Over Leonard Floyd

New York Giants, Lorenzo Carter

The New York Giants started beefing up the linebacker position by signing Blake Martinez early in free agency, and they may not be done yet when it comes to adding players in that area of the defense. According to Mike Garafolo, the team is potentially interested in a former top ten draft pick – linebacker Leonard Floyd, formerly of the Bears and a recently released free agent.

Floyd would be an addition to the outside linebacker spot and an alternative to the Giants drafting Isaiah Simmons with the fourth overall pick – something that might not happen due to a trade down, or because of the team’s desire to find a new starter at one of the offensive tackle positions.

There’s something peculiar about Floyd, however, and that’s the fact that he’s very much in the same mold as a player the Giants already have. Both players came from Georgia and they’re known to have a similar playing style, and both players are also regarded as being somewhat underwhelming compared to their expectations.

While Floyd was the ninth overall pick, after all, the end result of his time in Chicago is being released. He only had three sacks last season, and hasn’t repeated his rookie total of seven. In the past two seasons before that, he had four and four and a half, which are also the same numbers that Lorenzo Carter put up in the past two seasons.

Carter is, of course, the less developed player between the two of them… But in this case, that works out in his favor. An argument can be made that the Giants should stick with what they have when it comes to deciding on which of Carter and Floyd should be prioritized. Carter only has two years in the league and has put up the same numbers over the past couple of years that Floyd has put up with double the experience.

Furthermore, Carter even has slightly more tackles than Floyd in the span of the past two seasons despite playing on a worse overall defense – Floyd couldn’t capitalize, after all, on playing with Khalil Mack.

So with those numbers, why should the Giants pay attention to Floyd becoming a free agent? Carter isn’t the highest performing player on the defense, but sticking with him and targeting a different player to help with the pass rush may just be the better option than going for a player with a similar play style, and more experience, but numbers that are about the same and even slightly less despite that advantage in experience.

New York Giants need third-year pass-rusher Lorenzo Carter to wake up (highlights)

The New York Giants invested a third-round pick into Georgia standout pass-rusher, Lorenzo Carter, in the 2018 NFL Draft. Since his inception into the NFL, Carter has racked up just 8.5 sacks, but he has shown the ability to burst through the offensive line and use his incredible bend and length to get after the quarterback.

Before we get started, here’s a highlight video to give you an idea of his abilities. Make sure to subscribe to our new “Fireside Giants” Youtube channel!

The Giants just finished piecing their coaching staff together, and one of the names mentioned was Kevin Sherrer, who previously coached Carter at Georgia. This could be an excellent hire for the Giants and their third-year pass rusher, as the youngster hasn’t fully unlocked his potential, and Joe Judge will be looking to keep the best and leave the rest.

As a rookie, Carter logged 43 tackles, four sacks, and flashed the promise to become a talented pass rusher at the NFL-level, but he lost snaps to Oshane Ximines last season and couldn’t cement himself as a reliable option. While Sherrer will be coaching the inside linebackers, his familiarity with Carter might go a long way in allowing him to open up and improve his efficiency.

The New York Giants will be changing things on defense:

It’s possible that Carter fits more of a traditional defensive end role than an outside linebacker, since his lankiness and speed off the line gives him the leverage he needs to beat opposing tackles. Dropping back into shallow coverage or spying on the run isn’t his strength, and new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham should be aware of that going in 2020.

The defense will likely feature a hybrid of 3-4 and 4-3 looks, focusing on keeping quarterbacks confused and allowing players like Carter to excel. They say that “third year’s a charm,” so, with the overhaul in the coaching staff and a hard-nosed HC like Joe Judge taking over, Carter theoretically should see an uptick in production. Nonetheless, the Giants desperately need him to take a big step forward.

New York Giants will likely push for prized free agent pass rusher

New York Giants, Yannick Ngakoue

During New York Giants‘ GM Dave Gettleman’s final interview with Joe and Evan, he stated that everybody east of the west coast knows the Giants need more quality pass rushers. Last season, they had Markus Golden, who tallied double-digit sacks, but beyond his production, there’s nothing to write home about.

Lorenzo Carter showed up towards the end of the campaign, finishing with 4.5 sacks, and Oshane Ximines logged 4.5 as well. Combined, they don’t even reach Golden’s number (10.0), who put up high numbers in a contract year. However, the Giants need more, which is where Yannick Ngakoue enters the frame.

The Jacksonville Jaguar is keen on taking his talents to the free agency market, where he’s prepared to cash in on a big deal, likely worth over $16 million per season. The Giants have the cap space and require another elite pass rusher if they want their defense to compete in 2020.

Adding Ngakoue and retaining Golden would put the team in a good spot, as it would allow them to work around losing Chase Young in the NFL Draft and pluck an elite linebacker like Isaiah Simmons off the board. They could also trade back and collect assets, waiting to select an offensive tackle.

There are plenty of options in the draft for Big Blue, who currently hold the No. 4 overall pick, but they need to have a successful free agency period to ensure their strategy is correct for the draft.

What would Yannick Ngakoue bring to the New York Giants?

The former Jaguar had a monster 2019 campaign, logging 8.0 sacks, 41 total tackles, four forced fumbles, one interception, 15 QB hits, and 13 tackles for a loss. His ability to get after the quarterback and put essential pressure on the pocket is well documented, and with a top-line interior defensive to help maximize his qualities, the Giants could be in line to rejuvenate their defense this offseason.