NFL.com's Ike Taylor ranks the league's best secondaries, placing the Giants' DBs in the Top-5.
The No Fly Zone. The Legion of Boom. The New York Pass Defense.
A secondary hasn't arrived until it receives a nickname.
The New York Giants got there last year, and they're not leaving anytime soon. In a recent ranking on NFL.com, former Steelers cornerback and current analyst Ike Taylor listed the Giants at No. 3 among the best secondaries in the league.
"I wasn't necessarily surprised that Janoris Jenkins had a great season (allowed 37 catches on 81 targets for 425 yards, two TDs, three INTs and a 54.8 passer rating against in coverage) in 2016," said Taylor, a two-time Super Bowl champion and 12-year veteran. "What did surprise me? The performance of rookie Eli Apple and how well Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie played in the slot. The Giants are coming into their own at the cornerback position, but I need more consistency. Landon Collins probably had one of the best seasons that we've seen from a safety in several years. He did it all: covered, blitzed, tackled. All the guy did was make plays."
The Giants were showered with accolades after holding opponents to a league-low 25 offensive touchdowns last season. Only 15 of them were through the air, the fewest in the NFC and second-fewest in the NFL behind the Denver Broncos, who allowed 13. The Broncos topped Taylor's list, followed by the Seattle Seahawks and the Kansas City Chiefs at No. 4.
That sets up some serious matchups this season for the Giants, who play at Denver in Week 6, vs. Seattle in Week 7, and vs. Kansas City in Week 11. The only secondary in the top five that they won't face is the reigning NFC champion Atlanta Falcons, who finished at No. 5.
"[Our pass defense] can be tremendously better," Collins said this offseason. "You are trying to be ranked up with Earl Thomas and them with the Broncos defense. You are trying to be out here and play with their secondary. The guys we have back there, and the chemistry that we have, and the respect we have for one another is unbelievable."
Collins added: "I watch guys like Eric Berry, I watch guys like Earl Thomas, I watch guys like Kam Chancellor, those guys have terrific seasons each and every year. They build on top of their great seasons that they have and their work ethic is phenomenal. I'm going to Earl Thomas' camp this [summer] and we are definitely going to chop it up and stuff like that, so just the mindset that he has is different than anybody that I have talked to. The mindset I want to have is just like him. You've just got to do that."
NFL.com's top secondaries in the NFL heading into the 2017 season:
- Denver Broncos
Key contributors: CB Aqib Talib, CB Chris Harris Jr., CB Bradley Roby, SS T.J. Ward, FS Darian Stewart
- Seattle Seahawks
Key contributors: CB Richard Sherman, CB DeShawn Shead, FS Earl Thomas, SS Kam Chancellor
3. New York Giants
Key contributors: CB Eli Apple, CB Janoris Jenkins, CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, SS Landon Collins, FS Andrew Adams, FS Darian Thompson
- Kansas City Chiefs
Key contributors: CB Marcus Peters, CB Phillip Gaines, FS Ron Parker, SS Eric Berry
- Atlanta Falcons
Key contributors: CB Desmond Trufant, CB Jalen Collins, CB Robert Alford, NB Brian Poole, NB Damontae Kazee, FS Keanu Neal, SS Ricardo Allen