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New York Giants Need More from Their Pass Rush

The defensive front has struggled thus far to find sacks, but the defensive backfield also needs to do its part to help the cause.

The New York Giants' pass rush numbers speak for themselves--and not in a good way.

Through four games, the Giants pass rush has managed six sacks and 14 quarterback hits, according to official league stats, with Pro Football Focus having the Giants down for a total of 65 pressures.

They are also ranked 29th in the league, with a 4.17 percent sacks per pass attempt average.

That's not a promising start considering the team's talent--defensive linemen Leonard Williams, Austin Johnson, and Dexter Lawrence II, and edge rushers Lorenzo Carter, Oshane Ximines, and Azeez Ojulari.

Thus far, Ojulari, the rookie, leads the pack with three of the six sacks, followed by Johnson (2.0) and Williams (1.0).

And if that's not bad enough, of the four quarterbacks the Giants have faced thus far this season, all but one--Taylor Heinicke of Washington--has had at least 2.73 seconds to throw the ball. (The others' average times being 3.05 for Denver's Teddy Bridgewater, 2.83 seconds for Atlanta's Matt Ryan, and 2.73 seconds for New Orleans' Jameis Winston).

Not only are those numbers alarming, but considering that not one of the Giants top edge ushers managed to get within sniffing distance of the quarterback last week--per NFL NextGenStats, the Giants' top four pass rushers, Leonard Williams, Dexter Lawrence, Carter, and Johnson all took longer than the league average of 4.52 yards of getting pressure against the opposing quarterback.

Not all of the Giants' pass rush struggles have been on the front seven. The defensive secondary has just as much of an influence in the rush because the longer it's able to hold its coverage of the receivers down the field, the more time the front end has to get to the quarterback.


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That leads to a question of what can the defense's back end do to help their friends upfront?

"That’s a good question," said cornerback James Bradberry. "We just make sure we execute at a high level in key moments in the game. Third down, you’ve got to be able to execute, also in the red zone and also at the end of the game in four-minute and stuff.

"We weren’t executing at a high level, somewhat because on the back end but also on the front end. We’ve just got to be able to put all that together."

When asked if there was something specific the defensive secondary could do better, Bradberry said, "I think it’s a little bit of everything. Us on the back end, we need to be able to hold the coverage a little longer, but we also need to be able to pressure.

"When it doesn’t happen right, it’s hard to point the blame at one person in particular. But of course, when everything comes together, just like on the pick play, it came together because we also got a good pass rush. It made Taysom Hill throw a pass that wasn’t directly on target and helped me make a play.

"So, things like that where they come together, you make a beautiful play. When it doesn’t come together, you make a mistake. We’ve just got to continue to put a group effort together and put it all together."

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