The Giants signed defensive end Olivier Vernon as a free agent and re-signed Jason Pierre-Paul in a pair of moves that gave rise to hopes that the Giants defensive line would resemble the one that drove the team to a pair of Super Bowl titles under former coach Tom Coughlin.
For Pierre-Paul, the hope that he’d be a force in the pass rush was fueled by a move away from the club he wore on his right hand after injuring himself in last year’s fireworks accident. Pierre-Paul’s inability to grab cost him some sacks down the stretch last year, but the results haven’t been much different through five games.
Like last year, Pierre-Paul has created pass rush without getting sacks. Vernon has been very strong against the run. Both have just one sack on the year, however, and opposing offenses are converting over 45 percent of their third down tries as the pass rushers fail to get home.
“I’m not surprised,” Pierre-Paul said, via the team’s website. “To me, it’s not even about sacks, to tell you the truth. Yes, it’s nice to have, but in reality when you look at the games, we’ve been close. We just have to finish with the sack numbers. Our defense has been playing pretty well. We just have to get there and finish. I’m not talking about the D-line, I’m talking about as a group. Tackle better. We have done a poor job tackling. That’s every guy on the team, including myself. We just have to get better. That’s why we went out there using shoulder pads today. We just have to finish.”
It hasn’t helped that the Giants are dealing with several injuries in their secondary during their current three-game losing streak or that their linebackers have been underwhelming, so any shortcomings from the defense can’t be put on the defensive ends alone. As long as the offense continues to struggle to find itself, the pressure will remain on Pierre-Paul and Vernon to create the kind of game-changing plays that can get the Giants moving in a better direction.