The Giants were awful against the run in 2012, surrendering 129 yards per game which was good (or bad) enough for 25th in the NFL. They desperately need to fill the middle of their defense with run stoppers. Last night, they signed veteran DT Cullen Jenkins in an effort to seal up that chasm. Our man Jimmy Kempski of Blogging the bEast tells us this transaction alone will not solve the Giants’ problem….
On NFL Network earlier this week, Osi Umenyiora was talking about the Giants’ disappointing season on defense last year, and the lack of pressure generated on opposing QBs. Umenyiora said that a major factor was that they weren’t able to stop the run effectively, and when you can’t stop the run, it makes it that much harder to get to the QB. He’s right. Last season, the Giants held opposing offenses to less than 125 rushing yards 7 times. They went 6-1 in those games. They went 3-6 in games they allowed more than 125. (See the graph to the right)
Jenkins is still an effective interior pass rusher, but he wasn’t very good against the run last season, which is what the Giants really need. Linval Joseph took a step back last season, in my opinion, and was often moved off the line of scrimmage with ease. Jenkins isn’t going to help in that regard. The team also has Shaun Rogers, who potentially could be that run stuffer, but he’ll turn 34 this week, and has a laundry list of injuries. The Giants have gotten nothing out of 2011 2nd round pick Marvin Austin.
Jenkins’ deal is worth $8 million over 3 years, which includes a $2 million signing bonus and $3 million in guaranteed money. That’s a pretty good deal for the Giants, and Jenkins is a nice role player. However, this signing should not mean that the Giants are done upgrading the DT position with a player that can be a solid contributor in the run game.