Giants Beefing Up On D

by Paul Raymond | Posted on Friday, February 27th, 2009

For years the strength of the New York Giants has been the defense. Always has been, always will be. Due to injuries and departures thou that defense wore down in the stretch, which made finding some help a priority this off season. The Giants look like they’re addressing that need and in a big way. First off, the NY Daily News is reporting that the Giants are close to a deal with Michael Boley to play linebacker. In addition they have visits with Chris Canty and others this weekend. Will the Giants be pressed to make deals after the Eagles and Redskins have both made major moves already?

Let’s first talk about Michael Boley. The deal isn’t finalized but should be done by morning if all goes well. It looks like the contract would be five years for $25 million with about $10 mil of it guaranteed. Not to bad, very cap friendly, something the Giants need. Boley isn’t a super star, not at all, but he is young, 26, and very effective at what he does. His strength is in pass defense as the guy has some pretty good speed for a linebacker. He can blitz, he can cover a wide out and because of his speed he could easily help on a wide out but still catch up to the slower tight end. Boley has had solid career 6 sacks and 2 interceptions in 64 games but those stats are misleading as they came in the 2006 and 2007 seasons. In 2008, he struggled in the non-aggressive style of Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith. So yea, throw him back in an aggressive defense, i.e. the NY Giants, and he should be back to performing at a high level.

Now to the defensive line. The Giants line wore down at the end of the season, it just didn’t have the depth to sustain the high level at which they played. So what do you do? You bring in as many guys as possible and build it up. The Giants are currently entertaining DT Rocky Bernard. They have DE Chris Canty coming in on Saturday. They’re also trying to schedule a visit with DE Antonio Smith.

Bernard is wining and dining with the Giants brass tonight and could be signed, sealed and delivered by early tomorrow. The Daily News is saying that if Bernard likes what he hears tonight he’ll be canceling all of his other visits. He’s 29 years old but is a solid run stopper in the middle. With the late season struggles over Fred Robbins and Barry Cofield adding some quality depth isn’t a bad thing.

Canty will be in town Saturday and has already postponed two visits till he sees what the Giants offer. The visits postponed? They were with the San Francisco 49ers and the Tennessee Titans. His visit with the Seattle Seahawks on Monday thou is still scheduled. Canty played defensive end with the Dallas Cowboys but would move inside to defensive tackle with the Jints. The reason? He’s also a run stopper. Dallas played a 3-4 defense, so the end really just occupies space for linebackers. SO essentially he was just playing a tackles role on the end.

Personally, I love what the Giants are doing so far. The main weakness on defense last season was the linebacker position and bringing in Boley definitely addresses that.

The other problem was front line depth. After Osi went down for the season, their rotation was shot. When the Giants won the Super Bowl it was their defensive rotation that led them. Osi, Justin Tuck, and Michael Strahan were always kept fresh because of the constant rotating of these guys in and out of the lineup. With Osi injured, Tuck was forced to be on the field almost every snap. And what happened? He was banged up and worn down by the end of the season. Bringing in guys like Canty and Bernard would only help keep everyone fresh. Even with those guys being DT’s, you could occasionally have Canty move to end on first down in a running scenario and bring Tuck off the field for a play. Like I said, it can only help.

If I had my choice, I’d ink Canty. Like Boley he’s only 26 and has a lot of years ahead of him. The Giants are blessed right now with a team that is young in age and signed long term. Bringing in more of these types will only ensure the team continues to be competitive in the super tight NFC East.

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