For the last few years, opposing teams’ tight ends led the way in crushing Giants fans’ spirit.
Not now.

Giants fans can hardly forget the damage opposing tight ends have caused in previous years. Jason Whitten reeling in passes over the middle and heading to the end zone time after time.

Last year, in the “Black Cat” game, Blake Jarwin (Whitten’s replacement that is making a career of scoring TDs against the Giants with 5 TDs in less than two seasons), going 45 yards and watching Janoris Jenkins turn into an NYC subway turnstile in a very failed attempt to make a tackle on Jarwin.

Since 2017, the Giants’ defense against tight ends has been a huge disappointment.

Here’s how bad it’s been:

  • 2017: 121 targets, 78 completions (65%), 923 yards, 12 TDs
  • 2018: 119 targets, 81 completions (68%), 959 yards, 6 TDs
  • 2019: 117 targets, 73 completions (62%), 821 yards, 8 TDs

When you see these numbers over the season, those are “All-Pro” numbers for any TE, even a WR. And it’s been a glaring weakness amplified by the continued search for linebackers and secondary players that can cover backs and tight ends. But, 2019, the Giants were a little better. Thank you Jabrill Peppers.

Well, don’t look now (OK, look!), but the Giants are playing tough on opposing TEs and keeping them out of the end zone after five games. Take a look at the numbers over the first five games:

  • 2020 (5 games): 27 targets, 17 completions (63%), 177 yards, 0 TDs

Now let’s annualize those numbers:

  • 2020 (16 games): 86 targets, 54 completions (63%), 566 yards, 3 TDs

What does this tell us? First, the Giants are making tackles at the catch. No big plays for TEs so far.

Coach Judge and Coach Graham have been consistently preaching “avoid the big play”. The Giants’ safeties and linebackers are holding to that mantra when it comes to stopping TEs.

Second, the quality of defensive playmakers the Giants have now is a huge upgrade over the previous seasons. Smart, tough ballplayers that can cover and make tackles. Peppers, Logan Ryan, Blake Martinez, Kyler Fackrell, and Julian Love to name a few.

We saw a gritty performance last week in a division game. Penalties took the “W” away. It won’t be long now. The defense is making stops. We need consistent play for four quarters. We need to hold leads.

Shutting down TEs, especially on third downs, will get the defense off the field and get the offense more time to make plays.

Wins are coming. I believe in this coaching staff. More importantly, the players are starting to believe too.

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