The Purple People Eaters. The Big Blue Wrecking Crew. The Legion of Boom.
The New York Pass Defense is one of the best units in the league, ranking first in fewest offensive touchdowns allowed (25), first in red zone defense (39.5 percent), second in lowest opponent passer rating (75.8), second in points allowed per game (17.8), second in passes defensed (101), and tied for fourth in interceptions (17).
“The fans actually came up with that [nickname],” Collins said. “We were just trying to figure out what to call our group, and they came up with it. But we stuck to it. [Cornerbacks coach Tim Walton] really is the one that brings the name up all the time, and we just stuck with it. We just call ourselves NYPD.” Meet the squad.
Janoris Jenkins: three interceptions, 18 passes defensed.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie: six interceptions, 21 passes defenses.
Landon Collins: 125 tackles, five interceptions, four sacks, 13 passes defensed, one touchdown.
Eli Apple: one interception, seven passes defensed, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries.
Andrew Adams: one interception, five passes defensed.
Leon Hall: 31 tackles, two sacks, one interception, one forced fumble, two passes defensed.
Trevin Wade: 26 tackles, three passes defensed, two fumble recoveries, one touchdown.
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“Really it started with Jackrabbit [Jenkins] shutting the best receivers down since we’ve been playing each and every game,” Collins said. “And then from that point on, we try to keep the quarterback from throwing over 300, 400 yards. [The nickname] is cool. I like it.”
Together, they have earned four NFC player of the week awards, one player of the month award, and two Pro Bowl invites – for now. Just today, Rodgers-Cromartie became the first cornerback to win defensive player of the week honors for three different teams (Cardinals, Broncos and Giants) since Deion Sanders did so with the Falcons, 49ers and Ravens.
But nicknames and awards won’t mean a whole lot if the NYPD can’t slow down A-Rod. The Giants are preparing for their first postseason game since 2011 and will travel to face Aaron Rodgers and the streaking Packers, who won their final six games of the season by an average score of 31-19.
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“Well, I think Landon is playing at a Pro Bowl, All-Pro type level,” Rodgers said on a conference call with Giants reporters. “He has had a great season. We played him earlier in the year and as a young player, you just continue to get better as the experience mounts for you, so he has been playing really well.
“Janoris has had a great season for them. Having Rodgers-Cromartie with the big effort he had the last time we played them; both he and Eli [Apple] were banged up and both tried to gut it out. I think Eli ended up coming out, but Dominique was definitely dealing with an injury and playing through it. So those guys being healthy obviously helps their secondary even more and they’re big time playmakers and cover guys, so I think that is the biggest thing that you have to be aware of.”