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Coaches Corner/Spotlighting the ILB

By Michael Stewart/@TheTruthNYG

This will be part 7 in a series of 10 spotlighting the Giants current roster at the inside linebacker position. The Giants added a rugged inside linebacker in free agency in Reggie Ragland, but didn’t address the ILB position in the draft. Let’s take a look at the projected starters, backups and also the players on the outside looking in:

Starters

  • Blake Martinez: Martinez was signed in free agency before the start of 2020 to provide leadership and to tackle anything with a different color jersey. Martinez accomplished both of these objectives at a high level and the Giants fully expect a repeat performance in 2021.
  • Tae Crowder: Crowder performed well above expectations in 2020 and although I see him getting a little more snaps than Ragland due to his pass coverage ability; you might categorizes Crowder and Ragland as 1A/1B at the other inside linebacker spot next to Martinez. 

Backups

  • Reggie Ragland: Ragland was signed this off season to be insurance and to get important snaps along with Tae Crowder on the inside. Ragland is more geared as a run stuffer; where Crowder is a superb pass defender. Collectively; they should handle the other inside linebacker spot effectively.
  • Carter Coughlin: Carter was utilized in both the inside and outside linebacker spots in 2020 and held his own; speculating that he could possibly transition well on the inside permanently. Carter has good instincts and the ability to anticipate well prior to the snap and should see snaps at both linebacker spots.

On The Outside Looking In

  • Devante Downs: Despite my trust in Gettleman and Judge game plan, I’m not sure why Downs was brought back into the fold for 2021. Downs was a disaster in 2020 in both run defense and pass coverage. I’m still holding out that he will be released before the start of training camp.

Head Coach Joe Judge and Defensive Coordinator Patrick Graham like to have their linebackers being more versatile and I expect that we could see certain outside linebackers listed on the roster getting some snaps on the inside during training camp and possibly in pre-season games. There’s always a possibility that the Giants could add an inside linebacker after team’s make their cuts, but unless a marquee ILB is available, I really don’t see a need for it.