ESPN praises Giants defense heading into Week 1
The Giants defense put up a strong performance in 2020, finishing 9th in points and 12th in yards allowed in the league. However, if you look closer the numbers get even more impressive. Patrick Graham's unit ranked 5th in the NFL in passing touchdowns allowed, while the defense's red zone percentage of just 50.8 percent touchdowns allowed finished 2nd.
With most of last year's starting defense returning, along with several talented newcomers now in the fold, it should come as no surprise that the defense is earning praise heading into the start of the regular season.
ESPN's Mike Clay broke down each team's offense, defense and individual positional groups with Week 1 finally here, and the Big Blue defense ranked No. 10 in the league.
Clay complimented the signing of CB Adoree' Jackson, referring to it as a 'good, underrated signing,' while going on to call the Giants' secondary one of the best in the NFL. The team's cornerbacks came in at No. 6 in Clay's positional rankings, while the safeties ranked No. 11.
In addition to the defensive backfield, the Giants interior defensive line was also complimented by the ESPN writer. Clay ranked the team's IDL No. 4 in the league, led by Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence.
ESPN is not the only media outlet to praise the Giants defense. Earlier this summer, Pro Football Focus ranked the Giants the No. 7 secondary in the league.
"[James] Bradberry's 79.9 coverage grade last season ranked seventh among qualifying cornerbacks in his first year with the Giants," PFF's Ben Linsey wrote. "[Adoree'] Jackson's 82.5 mark in 2019 in his last full season of action ranked sixth. The potential is there for this to be one of the best cornerback tandems in the NFL.
"Those two — along with a deep safety group that includes Jabrill Peppers, Logan Ryan and Xavier McKinney — give defensive coordinator Patrick Graham a lot to work with on the back end."
Additionally, the analytics site also put both Williams and Lawrence on its list of the NFL's top defensive tackles.
View photos of the New York Giants' active 53-man roster as it currently stands heading into Week 1.
Giants bring back Special Teams ace Nate Ebner
The New York Giants have reunited with special teams ace Nate Ebner.
Ebner, who was a team captain in his first season with the Giants in 2020, signed today as the Giants ramp up preparations for Sunday's season opener against the Denver Broncos. Ebner was a free agent after trying out for one of the 12 spots on the United States National Rugby Team that competed in the Tokyo Olympics this summer. Ebner participated in the Games in Rio in 2016.
When Ebner was an Olympian five years ago, he played for the New England Patriots. Giants head coach Joe Judge was the team's special teams coordinator at the time and supported Ebner's Olympic pursuit again this time around.
View photos of Giants defensive back and special teams ace Nate Ebner.
Giants release unofficial depth chart for Week 1 opener vs. Broncos
It’s beginning to look a lot like football everywhere you go.
As always, it is subject to change. It simply serves as a guide, more so for the media than the coaches.
"I tell our guys all the time, when they come in, the depth chart is really blank," coach Joe Judge said this summer. "And as we start practicing and they start putting together things on tape, you start filling in names based off of what they're doing. That can change every day. It's really just cumulative. It's what you do consistently day in and day out. Some guys may flash one day, some guys may flash another day, but ultimately you want to go ahead and measure who's consistently dependable, who's productive for you on the field. … They're not written in permanent marker, so at any point, based on who is playing, the best get in that spot."
View photos of the Giants' first unofficial depth chart of the 2021 season.
Giants Life: The Next Step | Episode 8 - 'Year 2 of Joe Judge Era'
Joe Judge built a strong foundation despite the unprecedented circumstances for a first-year head coach. Now it's time to take the next step. Episode 8, presented by Oakley, goes behind the scenes with the team heading into Year 2.