A player, coach or issue that should be on your radar as training camp approaches.
The New York Giants’ pass rush is going to be improved in 2010. In fact, its pass defense as a whole is going to take a major step forward. The safety play has to be improved. Safety was a massive liability in 2009, but it should be a strength this season.
The defensive backfield has more talent and more possibilities with four, five and even six defensive backs on the field. Better secondary play will provide for more defensive play-calling flexibility. That should lead to more blitzing and more unpredictability in the play calling in general.
The immediate benefactor of bringing added pressure? Try linebacker Clint Sintim. He was a 3-4 outside linebacker in college and should grab a hold of the strongside linebacker job in his second season. He can get upfield, make plays in the backfield and pressure the quarterback. I view Sintim as a strong breakout candidate in 2010, and his ability to rush the passer is a major reason why.
But no team in the NFL has the talent at defensive end like New York. There will be serious competition for playing time at end, and as we have seen in the past, the Giants will not hesitate to put more than two defensive ends on the field at the same time in their different personnel packages. That is one of the beauties of Justin Tuck. Surely he will bump inside on passing downs again to allow another pure edge rusher to enter the game.
Mathias Kiwanuka and Osi Umenyiora are now ahead of Jason Pierre-Paul on the defensive end depth chart. When Tuck moves inside, I would unleash rookie Pierre-Paul off the edge. He is a very raw player, but far and away the best athlete of this group, which is saying something.
Lastly, with all this depth on defense, especially at defensive end, the Giants defenders should be able to stay fresher longer. This applies to the end of games and the end of the season. This defense is back in a big way, and the pass rush will be a big reason why.