With 8 games in the rear view mirror for the New York Giants it makes some sense to look back at the first half of the season.   While GM Jerry Reese continues the gloss over his negligence we can easily see that the New York Giants were challenged before the opening day kick off.

First and foremost, Osi Umenyiora left via free agency for Atlanta.   This left a huge hole on the edge.  Osi brought seniority and winning to the Giants locker room.  He also brought speed and a paten strip sack that has been missing since his departure.

The second major hurdle was that the New York Giants brass was depending on Jason Pierre Paul to be 100% healthy.   The star defensive end has been a shell of his former self and may never be the same player again.  His injury is very serious and being glossed over by the organization.

The third hurdle was what to do at linebacker.  The Giants had not invested in a quality linebacker since Antonio Pierce and the ego of management let Chase Blackburn leave via free agency to Carolina.  While Blackburn was not an elite linebacker he was a workhorse type of player who played all three positions and called the defense.

As a staple over the last 5 years the Giants have been using their later round picks for a “reach” pick.  Attempting to find a smaller and sometimes under achieving linebacker in attempt to “coach them up” (Goff, Keihl, Sintim, Jones & Tracy).  Sintim was a second round pick and a bigger disappointment.

Also, the “peel them off the scrap heap” philosophy from Jerry Reese has also failed with Keith Bulluck, Keith Rivers and Aaron Curry over the last few years.  Why he continues down this path is  mind numbing.

Lastly, the loss of Stevie Brown.    Jerry Reese and Perry Fewell completely lucked out when they found out this guy could play.   He single handily brought the 25th(2011) over all ranked defense to the 13th over all ranked defense with his eight interceptions in eight games.  

Unit Rankings:

Defensive Front: A

This unit has vastly improved.

The play of Linval Joseph has been extremely noticeable.   This could be a product of him playing next to Cullen Jenkins; however the two tackles are playing great and getting a nice push up the middle.   Mike Patterson was a great addition from Philadelphia and with Rodgers this unit has shut down Jamaal Charles(65 yds), Matt Forte(67 yds), LeSean McCoy(46 yds & 48 yds) and Adrian Peterson(28yds).

Linebackers: C

The experiment of Keith Rivers & Aaron Curry was a complete failure.   Mark Herzlich is a nice player but his game does not translate to the pro, as of yet.  Jacquian Williams is a one dimensional player; he is nonexistent stopping the run.  His 3 tackles per game average will not get it done.  Spencer Paysinger was a nice surprise and Jon Beason is a proven star.   This unit would receive an F if not for the late heroics of Jon Beason.  His 12 tackle average per game and leadership is a trait that is long over due for this team.

Cornerbacks/Safeties: C+

This unit has made major strides with the addition of Will Hill but is still in flux overall.    Ryan Mundy is a tackling machine but it is very clear the future is with Will Hill.  His speed is on display with every tackle and he clearly plays sideline to sideline.  Mundy was a nice stop gap, but might be better utilized as a “box” safety going forward.  Antrel Rolle has clearly stepped up his game with the addition of Will Hill and the safety is playing some of his best football.  Fewell has had him strapped down for too long.

Prince Amukamara continues to improve and is always around the ball.  Tall receivers and tight ends due take advantage of the high difference but he is a physical player and will be cemented in that spot for years to come.  Webster is done.   There is nothing more to say.  Aaron Ross was just a bad resigning.  The Giants let him go for a reason.

Jayron Hosley is a very small, but speedy player who cannot stay on the field.  Cooper Taylor has major potential but he too needs to get out of the training room.  McBride has held his own filling in for Webster and Ross but an upgrade is needed.  Terrell Thomas should be applauded for his return.  He has clearly lost a step and plays a different type of game now but has showed that he can still make plays and can contribute in the intermediate game.

Defensive Ends: D

Justin Tuck has had a much more impactful year than last and he is still a run stopping force.  He misses the speed rush from the opposing side(Osi) and it is very noticeable.  JPP was rushed into the starting lineup way too soon.  His 19 tackles and 1.5 sacks are the result.  No. 90 admits the lack of strength and with a compromised spine(disc) who knows if he will ever be the same.   Kiwi is missing in action and Damontre Moore has been stuck with his training wheels on. 

Overall rating for the defense is a D+

 Craig J. Santucci | Senior Editor NY Giants Rush