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Patrick Graham will have to get creative with defense

Patrick Graham will have to get creative with defense

You ask, we answer. The Post is fielding questions from readers about New York’s biggest pro sports teams and getting our beat writers to answer them in a series of regularly published mailbags. In today’s installment: the Giants.

What changes within the current roster can Joe Judge and Patrick Graham make to improve the Giants defense? — Charlie Voelker

Good job, Charlie, bringing up the defense, as all astute fans realize this is where an upgrade is needed more than any other area on the team. Look, talent is king, but that does not mean this new defensive staff will sit back and bemoan what the roster does not have. Graham, more than we have seen in the past with the Giants, is going to try to change up his scheme — really change it up — on a game-to-game basis.

Every defensive coordinator does this, to some extent, but Graham learned in New England how effective it can be to retrofit a specific approach to combat the challenges a specific offense presents each week.

I have a feeling Graham is going to be very creative with his usage of Lorenzo Carter, Oshane Ximines, Kyler Fackrell and Markus Golden as pass rushers. Graham is not going to simply line them up and send them at the quarterback.

Patrick Graham
Patrick Graham
N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg

The key for Graham is making sure his players understand the system and are versatile enough to carry out the plan. That is going to be a tough assignment, considering the practice limitations this summer.

Since there had been little sports on television, I watched previously played Giants football games. In my opinion, Saquon Barkley is not only the best running back in football, but he is the best running back who has played for the Giants. What is your opinion? — James Lutfy

I am not ready to anoint Barkley as the best running back in Giants history. Not after just two seasons. Tiki Barber had six 1,000-yard seasons and at least three of them were Hall of Fame-worthy. To me, he is the best running back in franchise history. Frank Gifford is in the Hall of Fame, but it was a different game back then. Ottis Anderson was a Super Bowl MVP and Joe Morris has a couple of outrageously good years. Rodney Hampton was a workhorse.

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Barkley’s athletic gifts are unmatched, and he has the potential to rise above everyone else in Giants history. For now, though, it’s Tiki Barber as the gold standard for Giants running backs. We all anticipated Odell Beckham Jr. eventually owning every Giants receiving record. How did that work out? Barkley is nothing like Beckham, but let’s pump the brakes on naming him the best-ever, just yet.

Any chance Giants go after Logan Ryan to shore up the CB position? I’d hate to start season with an unknown like [Sam] Beal. — Frankly Speaking (via Twitter)

This question was submitted before Sam Beal decided to opt out on the 2020 season, which further amplifies the dire need for help at cornerback. It is quite a mystery why Logan Ryan, certainly a proven NFL cornerback, remains unsigned. This is a player who is incredibly durable — he has missed just three games in his seven-year career. Plus, Giants head coach Joe Judge knows him well, as they spent four years together with the Patriots. Given the uncertainty whether DeAndre Baker will ever play again for the Giants, the need for a cornerback persists.

Even before he opted out, expecting Beal to take over as a starter was a tremendous leap of faith, and there is not anyone else on the roster with much experience to pair with free-agent addition James Bradberry. Adding Ryan makes sense, but there is something, to this point, holding this move back, not only with the Giants, but around the entire league.

Will the Giants give [Jabrill] Peppers a legitimate shot to compete at CB2? — Steven Centalonza

This is intriguing. I do not think the Giants view Peppers as a cornerback, at least not on an every-down basis. He played almost everywhere on defense at Michigan but almost everyone projected him as a safety in the NFL. That seems to be where he fits best. Can he do some good work as a slot corner? Sure. Can he run with elite receivers as an outside corner? Not so sure about that. Peppers is a big hitter and that would be mitigated with a move out of safety. With Xavier McKinney taken in the second round of the draft, Peppers should be able to take on a traditional strong safety role, allowing him to do some damage up near the line of scrimmage. That is what I envision for him.

About the author

Evan Lewis

Evan Lewis

With a knack for storytelling, Evan started News Brig about a year ago. Covering substantial topics under the Sports,, he helps information seep in deeper with creative writing and content management skills.

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