Friday, September 2, 2016

Final preseason game: roster spots - defense

Thoughts from the final preseason game and roster spots on defense:

Giants defense has a chance to be really good this year. They went without many starters on defense last night, in particular, the entire DL did not play and they still did well against Patriots first team offense. The CBs look capable and deep. Trevin Wade, our 4th or 5th CB made several plays last night including INT of Brady. Landon Collins looks like a totally different player than last year - still aggressive, attacking in the box, but with enough speed and coverage skills to make plays in the passing game as well. His partner at S last night was Berhe who also looked very good - fast, hard hitter and always in good position. Eli Apple looks absolutely great and has looked good the entire preseason.

There is a numbers game to be played in the DB-field and it is pretty confusing. If Giants want to carry 5 CBs and 4 at the S position, then it will be: Rodgers-Cromartie, Jenkins, Apple, Hall and Wade at CB. Wade played great last night and merits a spot on the roster. At S it would be: Collins, Thomson, Berhe and probably Mykelle Thompson. Currie and Adams, two other contenders at S just don't look athletic enough to me to play in the NFL. Deayon at CB is a feel-good story, tries hard but is just way too small to be effective at CB in the league. The Giants may like McFadden and want to keep him on the roster and may talk themselves into doing this and cutting Mykelle Thompson at S because Hall can play S. I would keep Thompson because I don't think Hall has looked good this camp - he looks slow and does not show a lot of fire.

At LB, for the first time in a while, Giants have some players. I am not sure how many LBs Giants will keep on the roster, but if it comes down to a battle between Herzlich and J T Thomas, it's going to be a really tough one. Off of the game last night, Herzlich looks much better and more game ready right now. But if you're combining performance in this camp with what you have seen from each player in the past, you might go with Thomas.He is faster and has more pedigree at LB on the defense, though perhaps not on ST. Herzlich actually looked a little trimmer and faster than I remember him being in the past  and is a pretty good ST player, so Herzlich might get the nod.

Overall on defense, I have to say that this is the best Giants tackling team I've seen in a while. I know it's only preseason, but their tackling is very sure - I hardly have seen a missed tackle. It could be because they have better athletes on the defense, but it also could be a corollary outcome of the new strength and conditioning program. It's not just there for reduced injuries, but better core strength, balance and flexibility means defenders in better position and becoming better tacklers. Let's hope it carries over to the regular season and it's not just a mirage.

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