While the Giants continue to search for a winning offensive line combination, a red zone touchdown, and maybe even a win, the defense continues to get better and better.
The heart of that defense? None other than new Middle Line Backer (MLB) Bobby Okereke.
A free agent signed by the Giants in the offseason, Okereke is rapidly settling into Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale’s “positionless” defense and has had a literal hand in the Giants’ last five turnovers.
Okereke touted himself as a sideline-to-sideline linebacker with the talent to cover running backs, tight ends and the ability to stop the run.
Since his signing, Okereke hasn’t lacked confidence in his own abilities.
What’s taken some time is his adjustment to Wink’s defense. In the last two games, Okereke has an interception, two tipped passes that led to interceptions (one for a pick-six), and a forced fumble.
The Giants did an excellent job shutting out the high-powered Buffalo Bills offense for three quarters Sunday night. A big part of that has been Okereke getting his hands on tipped passes, forcing fumbles, and leading the team in tackles. He truly was all over the field. The defense did everything possible to limit the Bills’ scoring opportunities while putting the Giants’ offense in a position to win if they could just score or even kick a field goal.
Okereke’s performance and leadership bring back memories of MLB Antonio Pierce, who joined the Giants as a free agent from the Washington Redskins for the 2005 season and established himself as a leader of the Giants Super Bowl XLII championship team. Pierce played six seasons for the Giants and made one Pro Bowl. More importantly, he was the anchor of a relentless defense that included Michael Strahan.
The 2023 Giants defense is starting to hit its stride after two solid performances against the NFL’s top two scoring teams.
The Giants may be 1-5, but better times are coming as long as the defense maintains the momentum and Okereke continues to get his hands on the ball.