Giants’ protection shines in one other win, and new DC is a big purpose why

By Ralph Vacchiano
FOX Sports activities NFC East Author

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Seeing Leonard Williams being helped off the sector needed to be deflating for the Giants‘ already undermanned protection. Sunday’s sport was tied, with 23 minutes nonetheless to play. Nobody would’ve blinked if the protection had performed cautiously after that.

However that is simply not Wink Martindale’s type.

As a substitute, the Giants’ defensive coordinator did what he informed his gamers he would at all times do from his first day: He turned up the warmth.

“Wink’s going to call what he’s going to call,” stated Giants security Xavier McKinney. “He’s going to stay aggressive. That’s who he is. And we know that.”

The outcomes have been spectacular to date. One week after they put a beating on Derrick Henry and the Tennessee Titans, the Giants mainly shut down the Carolina Panthers over the ultimate 23 minutes of a 19-16 win on Sunday afternoon. The Panthers had been simply beginning to discover their groove when defensive finish Williams went down. They’d scored on three of their earlier 4 possessions.

However with Williams out, they gained simply 72 yards on 17 performs the remainder of the best way — and 49 of these got here on one Christian McCaffrey run.

The Giants are actually 2-0, and it truly is due to their protection. They’ve finished it by not backing down from anybody or something — as a result of Martindale will not allow them to.

“His personality, whether you’re golfing with him, whether you’re playing pickup hoops or whether you’re out there on the football field, this guy’s personality is he wants to win,” linebackers coach Drew Wilkins stated final week. “And he wants to win by attacking you and by imposing on you.”

“Wink always said from day one,” defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson added, “he’s building a bully here.”

That is precisely what the Giants had been on the finish of this sport. Granted, Baker Mayfield and the Panthers aren’t precisely Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs, however the Giants had been taking part in not simply with out Williams, however with out edge rushers Kayvon Thibodeaux (their first-round decide) and Azeez Ojulari (their sack chief final season). But they nonetheless had the Panthers on their heels with the sport on the road. They usually certain appeared to have Mayfield rattled. He accomplished simply one in every of his subsequent seven passes after Williams went down and went 3-of-10 for 16 yards the remainder of the sport.

And he was consistently on the run. With blitzes coming from each angle — and totally different angles each play — Mayfield had no time to get settled within the pocket. And all of it got here collectively for the Giants with about 2½ minutes remaining, because the Panthers confronted a third-and-6 from their very own 46. Martindale lined up seven defenders on the road of scrimmage. Linebacker Oshane Ximines dropped into protection from the suitable edge however bought it simply sufficient to make Panthers rookie left deal with Ikem Ekwonu flinch.

That opened up room between Ekwonu and guard Brady Christensen for security Julian Like to fly by and hit Mayfield earlier than he may get set. And if Love hadn’t sacked him, McKinney would’ve closed on the QB, as a result of he was blitzing from the opposite aspect.

That double blitz with each his safeties was a gutsy name in that state of affairs, with the Panthers solely needing one other 25 yards or so to be arrange for a game-tying discipline objective. If Mayfield had one other second within the pocket, he may’ve seen his tight finish broad open streaking down the center of the sector. And once more, with Williams within the locker room with a knee harm, that is a heck of a leap of religion from the Giants’ defensive coordinator.

“Wink’s done this a long time,” Giants coach Brian Daboll stated. “Wink’s not afraid of failure.”

The truth is, Martindale has informed his gamers he would not care in the event that they fail. That is one of many issues they love about taking part in for him.

“It’s fun as hell, because you know that no matter what, he’s going to keep calling it,” McKinney stated. “It don’t matter if we make a mistake. He don’t really care. He lets us know, ‘Hey, I’m coming back to it.’ And we know that.

“It is enjoyable to play for a man who would not care if we make errors and allows you to simply go on the market and play freely and hold taking part in and never fear in regards to the mistake that you simply made.”

QB Daniel Jones on moving to 2-0 and looking ahead

Pam Oliver interviews Daniel Jones on gutsy win and looking forward to the remainder of the season. “We know there’s a lot to correct,” he stated.

The outcomes have been simple to see the primary two weeks, because the protection has carried New York’s very low-powered offensive assault. In Week 1, they held Titans operating again Derrick Henry to 82 yards, conserving the sport shut sufficient for the Giants’ offense to lastly get in gear and pull out a miracle, 21-20 win. They usually needed to do it once more this week. Because the Giants managed simply 256 offensive yards, the New York protection held the Panthers in test lengthy sufficient for the offense to squeeze out two 50-plus-yard discipline objectives by kicker Graham Gano within the fourth quarter to win the sport.

No, they in all probability cannot maintain that if the offense continues to stink. Their checks will grow to be far more tough, presumably as quickly as they face the Dak Prescott-less Dallas Cowboys subsequent Monday night time. They have the Packers, Ravens and the revived Jaguars nonetheless to return within the subsequent 5 weeks. And finally, the Giants will see a few fairly good offenses in Washington and Philadelphia that they nonetheless must face twice.

It will not be simple, and it will not at all times work out. Issues will probably be even harder if Williams is out long-term, even when Thibodeaux and Ojulari are again sooner moderately than later. However this Giants protection is beginning to imagine in itself and actually imagine in its defensive coordinator.

“I have a lot of confidence in Wink,” Daboll stated. “And I think the players have a lot of confidence [in him].”

Additionally they know that Martindale has confidence in them. That is why, in the event that they do have to hold the offense, they only see that as a problem.

And similar to Martindale has taught them, they do not intend to again down from that.

Ralph Vacchiano is the NFC East reporter for FOX Sports activities, masking the Washington Commanders, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys. He spent 22 years masking the Giants, Jets and NFL at giant for SNY and the New York Every day Information. He may be discovered on Twitter at @RalphVacchiano.

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