Blog Entry

2011 NY Giants LB Group

Posted on: February 22, 2011 7:18 am
Edited on: February 22, 2011 11:32 am
 

NEW YORK – The Giants linebacker group needs an upgrade. This is something that is a long time coming and something I expect the team will address in this years NFL draft in April. I mean no disrespect to the current Giants linebackers and I think they did a good job in 2010 but the team needs an all pro linebacker to compliment the rest of the defense. New York loves it’s linebackers and fans have stopped being polite and started demanding a top caliber linebacker for the team.

The problem I see with assessing the Giants linebackers are all of the question marks. It would be easy to make the hard choices if GM Jerry Reese and Coach Coughlin had seen all of them perform on the field but that is not the case. Some of these guys have had real game time experience and some of them haven’t. The injury bug hit the LB group just as hard as the rest of the team in 2010. Couple that with having one of the youngest LB corps in the NFL and you can see where I’m going with this. If the Giants can shore up the linebacker position by the start of this season, then the Giants defense is going to be a top 3 defense in the NFL.

Although the expectations may be somewhat unrealistic, the fans still want what they want. I would not be surprised if the Giants brought in a young and proven free agent LB before the season starts. The DE’s are solid and the safety position is squared away. You can be sure the LB’s and DT’s will be thoroughly addressed this off season. Another idea that is picking up steam is the Giants getting another stud CB as well.

Let’s take a look at the Giants linebackers as of today 2-21-11.

1. Jonathan Goff, 6’2″ 236 pounds – Goff was given the opportunity to replace all pro LB Antonio Pierce when he retired after the 2009 season. Goff did a good job at the middle linebacker spot but he wasn’t spectacular. He finished as the second best tackler among LB’s in 2010 behind only Michael Boley. I’m not sure if he will be the starting MLB at the beginning of the 2011 NFL season but it certainly will not be because he did not give it his all. He was also only one of two linebackers that played in all 16 games and remained fairly healthy in 2010.

2. Michael Boley, 6’3″ 225 pounds- Boley has been a great signing for the G-Men and lead all linebackers in tackles last season. This guy hits hard and seems to be all over the field trying to get to the ball. I expect him to have another good season in 2011 and establish some consistency to an area of the team that really needs it. Boley was also the only other linebacker who played in all 16 games in 2010.

3. Gerris Wilkinson, 6’3″ 231 pounds – Wilkinson has had an up and down career for years with Big Blue. He has been plagued by injuries for most of his young career but has enough talent to keep him on the roster. It feels like Wilkinson has been on the team forever but it has only been five years now.

4. Keith Bulluck, 6’3″ 235 pounds – Bulluck is the crafty veteran and he was brought in last season to bolster a LB group that seemed to be in trouble. He had a decent 2010 season for the time he was on the field but once again, he was a player who was effected by injuries. There are questions about him being with the team in 2011 because the Giants will most assuredly address the linebacker group as they look to get younger and faster. Still, I believe the G-Men need a veteran player to be a leader in the locker room and teach these youngsters how to be an NFL LB.

5. Clint Sintim, 6’2″ 256 pounds – Sintim is a player who coaches and fans will need to see more of on the field. Once again, the recurring theme for Big Blue is injuries, injuries and more injuries. Sintim played in 9 games in 2010 but should see more playing time in 2011 if he can stay healthy. The guy is a physical specimen and someone who has the talent and heart to make it big in the NFL.

6. Phillip Dillard, 6’0″ 245 pounds – Dillard missed most of his rookie season with an injury but was getting a lot of praise from the coaches during training camp. He was extremely vocal and seemed to grasp the middle linebacker role rather quickly. Could he be a possibility at the middle LB spot for the 2011 season? Sure, why not. Dillard is one of the guys that fans and coaches have not seen enough of on the field to make an intelligent decision about his future. I am rooting for this young man to do well.

7. Chase Blackburn, 6’3″ 247 pounds – Blackburn is hands down the best special teams player on the roster and one heck of a backup linebacker. His value to the team cannot be underestimated and fans have come to love him for the effort he gives on the field and his lack of complaining when things don’t go his way. He was banged up a bit in 2010 but I expect nothing less then another solid season from this man in 2011.

8. Zak DeOssie, 6’4″ 249 pounds – In the immortal words of the legendary film “Animal House’, Zak DeOssie is a legacy member of Big Blue because his dad played on the team back in the day. DeOssie has made a name for himself as the long snapper and a solid backup linebacker when the situation arises. He has been with the Giants since being drafted by them and continues to be a solid contributor for the team.

9. Adrian Tracy, 6’2″ 248 pounds – Tracy missed his entire rookie season due to injury in 2010 and still needs to show coaches and fans what he can do. I’m not sure what to expect from him but I’m hoping he has healed up and can help out the team in 2011.

10. Kenny Ingram, 6’6″ 229 pounds – Ingram is currently on the reserve future list and he is someone the fans were rooting for before the 2010 season started. He was no doubt brought in for depth and his status for the 2011 NFL season is up in the air for now.

What are your thoughts on the Giants linebackers and what would you do to improve this squad?

Comments

Since: Nov 30, 2010
Posted on: February 27, 2011 7:15 pm
 

2011 NY Giants LB Group

how can these jets fans say the GIANTS  suck.the jets have not won a SB in almost 40 yrs.i have been i giants fan since i was 9 yrs old i am 40 now .don t hate the giants because they are winners even when they don t make the playoffs.ty D.JACKSON  for us not making the playoffs this yr.but we will be back soon you can bet on it.so jet fans show respect don t hate.when the giants got knocked out i want ed the jets to win, because they are a NY TEAM.but they seem to be like  THE BILLS OF OLD.SEE YOU NEXT YR TO ALL NY FANS .AS FAR AS THE LINEBACKERS GOES WE NEED NEW BLOOD NOT OLD BLOOD U HEAR ME BROS.BLEED BLUE FOR LIFE.



Since: Mar 3, 2009
Posted on: February 23, 2011 1:58 pm
 

2011 NY Giants LB Group

Hey G-Men good stuff buddy and thanks for the compliment. I try to ignore some of the comments made on here by opposing fans but it gets annoying at times. You're right about Charlie's assessment, the guy is a beast with his ideas. I appreciate the feedback and I will be checking out the NFL Combine for future talent. Hopefully, we grab a LB and get it over with. 



Since: Sep 19, 2006
Posted on: February 23, 2011 10:50 am
 

2011 NY Giants LB Group

Good blog Mock King U,

As to this Dubz person, dont even waste your breathe on him.  They are somewhat relavent again and now he thinks he has the right to talk.  What he needs to do is worry about how his team is going to look like next year.  The jets orgaization is starting to look like Dan Snyder's Redskins in that they are bringing in all these ageing and high priced players and can't get over the hump.  The jets were built to win the superbowl this past year and now they are back to square one.  Dubz, like Mock already stated no superbowl since...... shhhhhhh!!

Charlie great breakdown and assessment on the Linebacking unit. Pretty much agreed most of it.  Regarding Goff I think we need to give him another year or two because quite honestly, he played better than I ever could have imagined last year and thats saying alot when it comes to my feelings regarding linebacker play the last few years.  First and foremost we desperately need a stud OLB to compliment and close the gap between the above average secondary and outstanding defensive line.  Regarding cornerback play I think we are actually ok there.  I can only name maybe 4 or 5 cbs that I would take over Webster and TT just needs to shore up the big plays in the passing game because if he does, in my humble opinion he can skyrocket all the way to the top 4 in cornerback play because right now he the best tackle cornerback in the league along with Charles Woodson. 

The LB corp is definitely the weakness of this defense and boy I would love to get a LT better yet half of an LT type player on this Giants unit because right now none of the linebackers are even half of what LT was when he was winning D.P.O.Y., killing qbs, and leaving everything out there on the field.  I love defense and I want this giants defense to consistently be on top just like the Steelers have been.  LT send the torch to a future hall of famer in Strahan and now who has Strahan passed the torch to?????  Because no one has fully grabbed it yet.  Hopefully we'll find out soon enough.



Since: Mar 3, 2009
Posted on: February 22, 2011 4:16 pm
 

2011 NY Giants LB Group

Hey Matty Dubz, This is a Giants blog buddy. You must have us confused with the two time loser Jets who haven't won a Super Bowl in 50 years. We are a classy blog that likes to keep the chat clean because we know kids read this, so you're welcome to join in the conversation but try to stay classy. 



Since: Feb 2, 2009
Posted on: February 22, 2011 4:02 pm
 

2011 NY Giants LB Group

they all suck so enjoy those linebackers



Since: Mar 3, 2009
Posted on: February 22, 2011 3:31 pm
 

2011 NY Giants LB Group

Hey Charlie, I like where your head is at but I'm not sure we have the right guys for the job yet. It feels like the LB position has been in limbo for a while. I truly believe that we need a dynamic pro bowl type of LB to solve the issues at that position. I want the LT type that comes around once a generation. The fans want that too. We will have to wait and see what the front office thinks now. 



Since: Aug 29, 2007
Posted on: February 22, 2011 11:50 am
 

2011 NY Giants LB Group

 That is a pretty bold statement to make considering Boley and Goff were the top two leading LB's in 2010.

A bold statement, maybe, but a necessary one for sure.  The Giants need to think outside the box.  As a Giants fan, I am sick of being average to below average at those positions.  Goff and Boley are fine if you're happy with ten win seasons and want a defense that will only dominate inferior teams.  If you want to go back to the Giants defense I remember; an aggressive, angry defense that used to take over games and impose their will, then upgrades are needed. 



Since: Mar 3, 2009
Posted on: February 22, 2011 11:34 am
 

2011 NY Giants LB Group

Hey Charlie, thanks for the compliment buddy. You have some in depth analysis here. Very well thought out and I agree with most of it. I am surprised by who you chose as your starters though. That is a pretty bold statement to make considering Boley and Goff were the top two leading LB's in 2010.



Since: Aug 29, 2007
Posted on: February 22, 2011 9:50 am
 

2011 NY Giants LB Group

Nice blog as usual, Mock U.  As usual, you provide excellent insight. 

You can be sure the LB’s and DT’s will be thoroughly addressed this off season. Another idea that is picking up steam is the Giants getting another stud CB as well.

I hope you're right about this.  LB and DT are paramount needs IMO.  And, yes - a shut-down CB would be nice.  When was the last time the Giants had one?  The Bill Parcells era?  It's time to upgrade. 

 

What are your thoughts on the Giants linebackers and what would you do to improve this squad?


1) Jonathan Goff - MLB - A good, but not spectacular MLB.  He's an improvement over Antonio Pierce, but not much beyond that.  Has the ability to read offenses, but his coverage skills and speed are less than ideal.  He's good enough to hold the spot until we get someone better.  But, make no mistake about it.  We need an upgrade. 

2) Michael Boley - OLB - He lead the LB's in tackles, which looks good stat-wise, but I'm not so sure if that's a testament to his abilities or a sign of the other LB's lack of abilities.  Beyond that, did not have much of an impact.  I think you want to see more than one sack, one forced fumble, and zero interceptions out of an OLB.  He doesn't keep opposing offensive coordinators up at night.  He got beat for a lot of big plays against better offenses.  If you want the Giants to be nothing more than average on defense, then I guess Boley's your guy.  If you want a traditional Giants defense that scares opponents and controls games like the old days, then an upgrade at OLB is not only a need; it is a MUST. 

3) Gerris Wilkinson - OLB - The guy had 8 tackles in 12 games played in 2010.  He's useless, and that's being kind.  Not that talented to begin with, plus he can't stay on the field.  What's the point of keeping him?  Let's cut him and move on. 

4) Keith Bulluck - OLB - He had 31 tackles in 13 games.  That's pathetic for a starter.  If we need veteran leadership, let the players get it from their coaches.  Bulluck is old and slow.  We need play makers; not old, slow "leaders".  We need tackles for losses.  We need sacks and turnovers.  AT this point, Bulluck is just another Danny Clark.  Let's upgrade and be done with it. 

5) Clint Sintim - OLB - Did not get a lot of playing time because Coughlin only likes to play the oldest, slowest, weakest, most pathetic players on the squad.  OK, so I'm a little frustrated, but not far from the truth.  Sintim may not be the ultimate play maker we need at OLB, but I thought at the very least he should have seen more playing time than Bulluck.  Worth keeping on the squad.  He's still young and I think the Giants need to let him play more and see what they have in this guy.  After all, they DID draft him. 

6) Phillip Dillard - MLB - The Giants once thought Dillard had a shot to beat out Jonathan Goff for the starting MLB spot, so there must be some raw talent there.  Worth a bigger look to see if he IS a better option than Goff.  If the Giants don't feel he is, an upgrade is needed. 

7) Chase Blackburn - OLB - One of the few bright spots on our special teams.  Beyond that, I don't have much use for him.  How many opposing coaches are scared of this guy?  Seriously... 

8) Zak DeOssie - OLB/LS - A solid long snapper.  Worth keeping as the LS. 

9) Adrian Tracy - OLB - We need an upgrade at BOTH OLB spots.  Giants need to take a closer look at Tracy this offseason and see if he can be the answer or if he's just another one of many bad roster decisions the Giants have made at this spot.  They drafted him.  He's healthy now.  Coughlin needs to let him see the field and see what he's got.  If he's not confident enough to do that, then get someone you ARE confident in.  Let's stop drafting and signing players that Coughlin is afraid to play. 

10) Kenny Ingram - LB - A practice squad guy that has made no impact.  DO we really need a practice squad linebacker?  Or, can we free up his spot for someone who can make an impact? 


In summary: 

Starters should be:  LOLB - Clint Sintim OR draft pick      MLB: Phillip Dillard or draft pick     ROLB: Adrian Tracy OR draft pick OR YOUNG free agent

Back-ups should be: LOLB: Michael Boley, Zak DeOssie    MLB: Jonathan Goff OR Phillip Dillard or draft pick    ROLB: Chase Blackburn, Adrian Tracy or draft pick, additional draft pick OR YOUNG free agent

Should be cut or traded: Keith Bulluck, Gerris Wilkinson, Kenny Ingram

Keep DeOssie for LS


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com