So much has been made about the struggles and eventual quarterback transition for the Giants offense that little has been said about the potential defensive deficiencies, especially with the offseason departures of defensive end Olivier Vernon and safety Landon Collins. The Giants hope newcomer Markus Golden will help the defense regain some of its bite.
"He's a double-digit sack guy," Giants outside linebackers coach Mike Dawson said this week, via Paul Schwartz of the New York Post. "Once you guys watch him train and watch the way that he plays, and you go back and watch his pre-injury film, just the way he's all over the field in the run game and the pass game. When the ball is down the field, he's backside chasing that thing like a mad man. That intensity and that level of effort he plays with is going to lead to production with him."
Golden suffered a torn ACL in the fourth game of the 2017 season; the prior season, he generated double-digit sacks, with 12.5. In eleven games last year with the Cardinals, Golden had only 2.5 sacks.
"I wasn't 100 percent," Golden said, via Schwartz. "I still had a brace on. If I wouldn't have worked hard I could sit there and be sad about it, but when you put all the work in and grind it out, you got no choice but to be happy with yourself and move on."
He moved on to the Giants after four years in Arizona, and the goal is to re-establish himself on a one-year, $3.75 million deal that, if he thrives, could put Golden in line for a big payday in 2020.
"Don't ever forget that before [the knee injury] that he was one of the best pass rushers in this league," said defensive coordinator James Bettcher, who served as defensive coordinator in Arizona before joining the Giants in 2018. "I love how he is moving right now and I love his work. He is a guy that is going to play exceptionally hard. One of the identifying qualities we needed our defense to look like was . . . relentless - work relentless and play relentless. I think that is probably the epitome of Markus."
The Giants need some relentlessness on defense. The better the defense performs, the easier it will be for the offense to perform at an adequate level.