New York Giants: Where Will The Pass-Rush Come From In 2020?

The New York Giants‘ defense has struggled to pressure opposing quarterbacks in recent seasons. The Giants lack a top edge rusher on their current roster. Markus Golden was a solid contributor in 2019, totaling 10 sacks, but he is not guaranteed to remain with the Giants in 2020. Now, with a new defensive scheme being installed and a new group of defenders added, where will the pass-rush come from in 2020?

Patrick Graham’s Defensive Scheme

The majority of the pass-rush will come from new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham’s scheme. Patrick Graham runs a blitz-heavy, man-to-man defense:

“Graham had a great defensive scheme in place. The two major play calls of the Miami defense were blitzing and man to man coverage. Graham was very clever with his blitzing packages, using a variety of linebacker and defensive back blitzes. In Miami, Graham would also send in delayed blitzes to really disturb an offense. This was not just done in between the gaps; the blitzes came from different spots on the field. The Dolphins Blitzed on 35% of their snaps, 41% on third down (which was the third-most in the league). The Dolphins ran man to man coverage 50% of the time in the 2019 season and would often show blitz and drop back into coverage. This was a great strategy in the Graham defense, keeping opposing offenses on their toes because of the constant blitzing formations.” – Jack Quartararo of Empire Sports Media

With an emphasis on blitzing, Patrick Graham will scheme together the Giants’ pass rush. The Giants’ defense will run many complex blitzes to get after opposing quarterbacks. But who will be executing these blitzes for the Giants?

The Personnel

The Giants do not have a top-tier edge rusher. None of the players on the team’s roster are expected to dominate opposing offensive lines and rack up 15 sacks in a season. However, the team has added some underrated players. These players fit perfectly into Patrick Graham’s scheme and will help him generate a pass rush.

Kyler Fackrell, the former Green Bay Packers edge rusher, was one of the Giants’ key additions in the 2020 offseason. In 2018, with a career-high in snaps, Kyler Fackrell recorded career-highs with 10.5 sacks, 42 combined tackles, 12 tackles for loss, and 18 pressures. In 2019, though, Fackrell saw a huge decrease in playing time, being on the field for only 40% of the team’s snaps. Maybe reuniting with Graham and seeing an increase in playing time will lead to another 10+ sack season from Kyler Fackrell.

The Giants’ new addition in their secondary, safety Xavier McKinney, will also help boost the defense’s pass rush. According to Pro Football Focus, Xavier recorded 21 pressures across 71 pass-rushing snaps in the last two years. He also totaled 3 sacks in each of his last two seasons. McKinney is an excellent pass-rusher from the safety position, making him a perfect fit in Patrick Graham’s blitz-heavy system.

In 2020, the New York Giants will have to implore a pass-rush by committee. The scheme will need to generate pressure to make up for the lack of a top-tier edge rusher on the team. Luckily for Patrick Graham, he has a group of underrated pass rushers at multiple positions that will help him get the job done.

New York Giants: Markus Golden could leave Big Blue at any moment

New York Giants, Markus Golden

The New York Giants are entering the 2020 season with major question marks on defense. Their pass rush will be a hit or miss, as they are relying on young players like Oshane Ximines and Lorenzo Carter to step up and make an impact. They’re also depending on the interior defensive line to generate pressure on opposing quarterbacks, which attest to the franchise tag they placed on Leonard Williams this off-season.

However, Markus Golden is sitting idly by waiting for another team to snatch him up and take him away from the New York Giants. New head coach Joe Judge implemented the rarely used free-agent tender on Golden, who led the team in sacks in 2019. Essentially, Golden has until July 22 to land a deal elsewhere before guaranteeing his stay with the Giants for at least one more season.

The fact that Golden hasn’t been signed yet attest to how teams view him as a long-term option at the position. While he did post 10.0 sacks in 2019, most of his production came on the back-end of plays and coverage sacks. Nonetheless, he played well against the run and held his own on the edge, earning a second contract from the Giants, which would count $5.2 million next season. The free-agent tender guarantees 110% of his 2019 salary, and that would be a steal considering the value he brought to the team last year.

The Giants need as much pass rush help as they can get, and Golden brings experience and consistency to the position. I am not comfortable relying solely on Ximines and Carter to keep pressure on the quarterback, especially against tougher teams.

The Giants also brought in Kyler Fackrell, who they are expecting to replicate Golden’s production in 2020. Fackrell played under Patrick Graham as his linebackers coach in 2018 when he posted 10.5 sacks, 42 combined tackles, and 12 quarterback hits. He was extremely efficient in rushing the passer and would pair up well if the team manages to retain Golden for one more season.

Nonetheless, Markus has one more month to secure a multi-year deal that pays him more than $5.2 million per season with a mother team. Given his value, I’m surprised he hasn’t been picked up yet, but there is still a good chance he will not play for the Giants moving forward.

New York Jets could pursue OLB Markus Golden to bolster pass rush

New York Jets, Markus Golden

While the New York Jets have plenty of strong units on both sides of the ball, their past rash could be problematic in 2020. Having recently cut Trumaine Johnson, who they coughed up $34.5 million guaranteed money for in 2018, they now have $11 million in cap-saving to spend elsewhere.

The Jets recently signed veteran quarterback Joe Flacco to supplement any injuries to Sam Darnold, but their spending might not end there. Currently, the Jets seem confident in Jordan Jenkins as their most active pass rusher.

Jenkins has a fantastic motor and is a positive influence in the locker room, but he posted a significant amount of his production against backup players over the last two seasons. He’s posted 14 total tackles in that time span, and three of them came again starting offensive tackles. That shows us that Jenkins might not be as efficient and productive as we would hope, which makes the idea of signing Markus Golden intriguing.

Golden is an intriguing player that would project as a 3-4 outside linebacker and Gregg Williams defensive scheme. Last season, he posted 10 sacks with the Giants on a one-year deal, paying him $4.75 million. Golden could be a significant add for the Jets, who are looking for an established pass rusher without the monstrous price tag. Jadeveon Clowney still remains a free agent and a possibility, but his asking price is so astronomically large that even dabbling in his market seems like malpractice. Nonetheless, that opens up at the opportunity for Golden to join the Jets on a much cheaper deal.

The Giants recently placed a free agent tender on golden, which would pay him 110% of his 2019 salary on a one-year deal for 2020. However, golden is still seeking a long-term extension that would pay him more per season. The Jets could offer him a 2-3 year deal to hold him over, averaging in the $8 million-per range.

Golden only produced one year of solid play, which could take away from his monetary expectations. That’s why a number like $8 million seems to be fair and reasonable.

If the Jets are willing to take a flier on a two-year deal, paying him $16 million with $10 million guaranteed, I believe it would only benefit the defense as a whole. He’s also a leader and a positive contribution to the locker-room.

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.

Giants Talking to Markus Golden Regarding Possible Reunion

New York Giants, Markus Golden

The prospects of the New York Giants bringing back outside linebacker Markus Golden this year were getting dimmer and dimmer until the Giants placed the little-used UFA tender on him right after the NFL Draft.

Golden, who has drawn very little interest since becoming an unrestricted free agent in mid-March, now has until July 22 to sign a free agent contract with another team or else his rights will revert back to the Giants for the 2020 season.

It’s a rarely used tender, but Giants head coach Joe Judge comes from the New England school of yanking out little-known rules to their advantage. The tender does several things. It forces Golden to reset his value in the marketplace so that he can find a new team whether that be the Giants or not. More importantly, if he does sign with another team it makes him eligible for the compensatory pick formula in 2021. Right now, the Giants are severely underwater on that end and could use some help, although noting is guaranteed.

Judge, speaking on a conference call with reporters on Tuesday, spoke of the current situation regarding Golden.

“Yes, I have spoken with Markus,” he said. “I have a lot of respect for him as a player. He’s a great person, he’s a hard worker. He’s a productive player so we have a lot of respect for him. He’s definitely someone that I have spoken to in terms of possibly adding to the roster. We placed the tag on him. That’s something that’s allotted to us through the league rules. We thought that it was a situation when it came up and was available to us, it was something we could use.”

“We have an interest in Markus, we’ve talked to him. We are going through the procedure right now. We’re going to let it play out a little bit and see where everything shakes out.”

Golden had ten sacks for the Giants in 2019 playing on a one-year ‘prove-it’ deal worth $3.75 million. He went into free agency seeking a contract that would pay him approximately $10 million per year. No team has the appetite for that and he remains unsigned to this day.

The 29-year-old Golden was brought in last year to play under then defensive coordinator James Bettcher, who coached Golden to a 12.5 sack season in Arizona several years ago. Golden rekindled his career in 2019 after two down seasons marred by injury and a position change but not enough to pique the interest of NFL GMs.

Where the Giants see Golden fitting into defensive coordinator Patrick Graham’s schemes is unknown but you can’t have enough pass rushers and right now the Giants don’t seem to have many at all.

The rubber will meet the road on this in the terms of how much it will cost the Giants to sign Golden. hey currently have $16.9 million in available salary cap space but $12 million of that is earmarked for the 2020 draft class.

New York Giants’ HC Joe Judge gives us answers about the new offense and more

New York Giants, Joe Judge

New York Giants head coach Joe Judge held a Zoom media session today. He discussed a wide range of topics with the New Jersey media and provided plenty of insight on important topics. Here is what Joe Judge had to say:

On Virtual Meetings

Joe Judge is not able to evaluate his football players. He will not be able to do that “until we get on the grass.” But he can evaluate his men. Judge explained that you can learn a lot about an individual during a Zoom call. You can see how they are set up in their homes, whether or not they are making eye contact, and if they looking down at their phones. This allows Zoom calls to be a great judge of character because the players “really can’t hide.” The Giants’ head coach described the situation as a “1×1 box.”

“There’s no shortcut to success.” – Joe Judge

Joe Judge is eager to get back to football, as we all are. But he is human and has human safety concerns regarding the resumption of football, stating, “I have a tough time right now asking a player to fly across the country from California when I probably wouldn’t be the first one most willing to throw my two sons on the plane to go the other way.”

On The New Offensive and Defensive Schemes

Joe Judge made a splash on offense this offseason, hiring former Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett as the team’s offensive coordinator. According to Judge, he and Garrett will be implementing a completely new offense with “no carryover in any way shape or form.” The offense will be “similarly based” on what Jason Garrett ran in Dallas.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Giants hired defensive coordinator Patrick Graham this offseason. Judge stated that Graham was their “top choice.” He also discussed what Graham’s scheme would look like for the Giants. Judge explained that Graham’s scheme will follow what he did in Miami last year and “will be multiple by game plan.”

On Markus Golden

The Giants’ free-agent edge rusher Markus Golden is a fan favorite. Today, Judge confirmed that the Giants “have talked about possibly adding him to the roster” and that they do “have an interest in him,” according to Paul Dottino.

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.

The New York Giants’ pass rush could come together nicely in 2020

New York Giants, Oshane Ximines

Taking a look at the New York Giants‘ pass rush and how it could come together in 2020:

This week the Giants used the rare free agent tender to lock down Markus golden for the 2020 season. This does not guarantee his services but rather grants the Giants rights over his contract next season unless he can find a different team to play for that is willing to pay a higher price. The deal would be 110% of his 2019 contract, so he would earn around $5 million next season if he fails to sign elsewhere — a low number for a player who racked 10 sacks last year.

This would be a huge boost to the Giants’ defensive unit that was scheduled to lose Golden in free agency. The only allocations they spent in free agency toward a replacement was for Kyler Fackrell, who recorded 10.5 sacks in 2018 but fell into a reserve role last year, playing just 40% of snaps and logging one sack on zero starts.

His playing time fell off tremendously after defensive coordinator Patrick Graham left the Green Bay Packers and moved on to the Miami Dolphins. However, Graham and Fackrell will reunite this upcoming season in New York, in the hope is they can replicate is 2018 performance. Prior to Golden receiving the tender, the Giants were expected to elevate Oshane Ximines, their third-round draft pick in 2019, to a more significant role.

Ximines had a solid rookie campaign, playing in 45% of defense of snaps and recording 4.5 sacks. In an increased workload, the expectation is that he can post reasonable numbers and utilize his array of pass rush moves to help the defense. With minimal cap space available, the Giants weren’t in a position to allocate elite pass-rusher money in the market, which forced them to rely on Fackrell and Oshane before Golden re-entered the picture.

A unit consisting of Golden, Ximines, and Fackrell would be able to generate enough pressure to help the Giants succeed in 2020. Considering how much they spent on the secondary this off-season and the drafting of Xavier McKinney, the unit should be improved. Patrick Graham is known for his blitzing schemes and heavily involving linebackers and safeties, which suggests that the Giants will likely incorporate multiple positions into their system.

New York Giants have placed the seldom-used UFA tender on OLB Markus Golden

New York Jets, Markus Golden

Today, the New York Giants placed FA Markus Golden on the seldom-used UFA tender, per Field Yates.

What this means for the Giants and Markus Golden

With the recent breaking news, this means that Markus and the Giants have been in contact about a new contract. The twist on it is that both can’t come to an agreement on the right price. This could mean that Golden is asking for a high price deal, and the Giants aren’t willing to agree to it just yet. With Golden back in Big Blue, he would only benefit the defense and add a boost in the pass-rushing game. Something the Giants did not focus on in this year’s NFL Draft.

What will happen if no team signs Markus Golden

If Golden remains unsigned past July 22nd, he will only be allowed to play for the New York Giants this season. The Tender would be worth 110 percent of his 2019 salary, which was $5.225 million. This would make a lot of Giants fans happy to have their best pass rusher back. Golden made an extra $1 million in the 2019 season for his double-digit sacks (10). This was a key factor that kept the Giants in a lot of games this season.

Can Markus still negotiate deals with other teams?

Markus Golden can still talk and negotiate a deal with another team until July. Golden is among the best free agents left available. The esteemed pass rusher could be looking for a big-time deal coming off one of his best seasons since his ACL tear three years ago. Golden and Clowney are still FA’s and looking to make a big-time deal with a team. Hopefully, Markus ends up back in the big apple.

Golden’s 2019 season was his best since his ACL tear in 2017

In 2017, Golden tore his ACL while playing for the Cardinals. Golden, a third-year pro who’s 12½ sacks led the Cardinals that year. He was injured while rushing the passer in overtime in an 18-15 win over the San Francisco 49ers. In the 2019 season, Golden had 42 solo tackles (4th), and 12 sacks (T-10th). Golden was a huge factor in the Giants pass rush, without Golden rushing the passer, it would’ve been a very long and frustrating season for the Giants.

All the Giants can do is sit back and wait, Golden could sign a big-time contract with another team which would hurt the Giants. Without Golden, the Giants would still have a big question mark next to the EDGE rusher slot.

New York Giants: Dave Gettleman Hints That Markus Golden Isn’t In The Plans

New York Jets, Markus Golden

The New York Giants are likely going to go into the 2020 season relying on Kyler Fackrell to be the sacks leader rather than Markus Golden, and as the offseason continues, there’s more signs from the front office pointing to no deal getting done with Golden, a current free agent who hasn’t had much luck on the market. Golden is still available for the Giants to sign, but there hasn’t been any reported progress in coming to a deal, and recent quotes from General Manager Dave Gettleman indicate that Golden is likely outside of the current plans of the team.

That’s because signing Golden to a long term deal now would hurt the Giants’ cap situation in the future, something that Getleman basically stated outright in a conference call on Monday where he referenced the number of young players that the Giants have, who will eventually need new contracts.

“Well, part of the tight rope that I walk on is short-term and long-term. Part of the long-term is we have some good, young players right now. We’ve got Dalvin Tomlinson, Engram, and Peppers. We have to make decisions on them. They’re some good, young players. After another year, you guys are going to be banging on me about Saquon,” Gettleman told the press.

He would go on to make a comparison to his time in Carolina and having to renew certain players or face backlash from the fans.

“I’d say, ‘Listen, you’re going to kill me about this? Well, you’re going to double kill me when we don’t have money to extend Luke Kuechly or Cam Newton or whomever.’ It’s a collaborative decision we make as we talk about how we’re moving forward. Right now, this is the decision we made. We’re just going to move forward the way we are now,” Gettleman said.

The Giants will have to rely on Kyler Fackrell as one of their main pass rushers this season if they don’t renew Golden, and Fackrell isn’t exactly a household name nor was he successful last season with the Packers. The Giants are banking on his past experience being useful to the team.

“(Kyler) Fackrell, two years ago, had double digit sacks and Green Bay went out and bought two high sack guys and he became a rotational part-time player. We feel good about that. You have to keep building, we are excited about the draft, there are some good players there. We are just going to continue to get better, nothing is ever done,” Gettleman said about Fackrell specifically.

There’s no room for Fackrell to not have a bounce back season this year – Golden was the undisputed top pass rusher on the Giants roster last season and if the Giants don’t have another player step up with the same production, they’ll easily be one of the worst teams in the league again in that area. The difference in the Giants picking up another win or two this season may just be whether or not their new pass rusher steps up.