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23 Questions in 23 Days

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23 Questions in 23 Days: Goals for defense

23-QUESTIONS-WINK-MARTINDALE is counting down to the start of the team's 2023 training camp with 23 questions in 23 days.

Each day, a member of the crew will answer one question about the roster, coaching staff, schedule, and much more.

7) What is the biggest area the Giants need to improve on defense?

Wink Martindale set his sights on two targets when he took over the defense a year ago: be great in the red zone and on third down. Mission accomplished. The Giants ranked fifth in the NFL in both categories, which was all the more impressive given their primary struggle.

"I think one of the things that concerned me last year was our inability to stop the run," team president John Mara said in late March at the NFL Annual Meeting. "It just seemed like it was second-and-two all the time, and it's pretty hard to live that way all season. So, I think the players that we added there will help us. If we can consistently stop the run, then we can unleash the pass rush. Those are some of our best players right now."

The Giants ranked second-to-last in giving up 5.23 yards per carry and were 27th in allowing 144.2 per game. To address that, the Giants signed inside linebacker Bobby Okereke and defensive linemen Rakeem Nunez-Roches and A'Shawn Robinson. Of course, they also signed Dexter Lawrence, the franchise's first interior defensive lineman to make the Pro Bowl since Erik Howard in 1990, to a new contract.

"I think with the size of them, and you've seen them, they'll be able to collapse," Martindale said of the additions. "Everybody thinks, when they think pass rush, the tackle guys, the inside guys, they think of Warren Sapp and Aaron Donald. God touched those guys twice. These guys have just been touched once. So, just as long as they can collapse the pocket, just like [Dexter Lawrence] did last year, and get the quarterback off the spot, you'll see a lot of good things happen. I think we've got the size and the ability to do that."

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Get excited for the 2023 season with photos from Media Day at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.