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Pain’s Points: Filling a Big Hole at Linebacker

Welcome to Pain’s Points, post-Super Bowl edition, a recurring list and thought process that gives all Giants fans, well, Pain. The season might be over but there are more than enough Pain Points to share:

Pain Point #1: Blake Martinez

I will be the first to admit that I was guilty about knocking the Martinez signing 2 years ago. He shut me up quickly with an excellent season. So why is he on this list? The Pain Point here is coming off of an ACL injury after 3 games this past season, Blake is most likely to be a cap casualty. He is going into his 3rd year of a 3-year deal and as much as I want him back, I am not sure he will be ready for the season or that he will be kept. This was actually a good signing, but it does not look like it will pay off. This will leave a void at ILB on a team already devoid of the position.

Pain Point #2: Tae Crowder

Tae Crowder aka Mr. Irrelevant started all 17 games at ILB and played 94% of the snaps on defense. Naturally, all his statistics of production went up, except Tackles for Loss. He had 3 in his rookie season playing only 54% of the snaps, that right there is the Blake Martinez effect. While he is athletic, he never got home on 37 blitzes and had just 1 QB hit. We previously talked about how this was the 8th worst run defense and your ILBs are a part of that. Too often we saw him chasing guys from behind and even a few times just pull up and stop. I credit Mr. Irrelevant for bringing some stability to the position and stepping up, but in a 3-4 system he can’t be your MIKE LB, and with Martinez all but gone, we are in trouble.

Pain Point #3: Reggie Ragland

A rotational piece on a 1-year deal. Just like Crowder, responsible for stopping the run and that just didn’t happen. Not exactly a very athletic guy but definitely tough and hard-nosed. However, there is a reason the former 1st round pick is on his 3rd team in 5 years. He played about 40% of the snaps no defense and was killed in coverage just like Crowder when teams threw at him. While not his primary job to play coverage, he also struggled to take down running backs along with the rest of the front. The ILB group was underwhelming the moment Blake went down, and it wasn’t that great to start the season either.

Stay tuned for more, there are always Pain Points in life, especially if you are a Giants fan. Remember, this is our Pain and we have every right to be mad about it.