The New York Giants aren't used to allowing 4.6 yards per rush for a single game, let alone an entire season. That's why after the defensive disaster that was 2012, an overhaul was needed on the front line. Chris Canty and Rocky Bernard left and were replaced by free agents Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson, as well as rookie Johnathan Hankins out of Ohio State.
Hankins is already confident that that this year's unit will do a much better job of stopping the run.
"I can see that just talking to [defensive line] Coach [Robert] Nunn and Head Coordinator Perry Fewell," said Hankins, "They're really serious about stopping the run and with the defense we have and the packages we have, I feel like it's perfect for me and them and we're definitely going to stop the run this year."
It's easy for a rookie coming from a successful college program like Ohio State to be optimistic about his new team improving, but how does someone with some more seasoning feel? Linval Joseph told reporters that there were some adjustments being made from last year's system.
"We've changed a few things around and we're waiting on the opportunity for our first game to see how everything's going," said Joseph, "So far, so good. We had a couple mistakes last year and they showed up pretty bad, but this is a new year and we're ready to see what's going to happen."
With Hankins and rookie defensive end Damontre Moore playing on the same side of the line during practice, one of the changes seems to be the addition of depth. The Giants used a second round pick on Hankins and a third round pick on Moore in the April draft to add strength and athleticism to the defensive line.
"Just the way the defense, me and him are always together," said Hankins about his working relationship with Moore, "So whenever he doesn't know something and I don't know something, we can work hand to hand. So it's pretty good having somebody you know that came in with you and is playing with you."
Someone else that Hankins can ask for advice is the nine-year veteran Jenkins. In fact, even Joseph, now entering his fourth year with the team, has a lot he can learn from Jenkins.
"Cullen's been playing for about ten years now, so he has a lot of experience," said Joseph, "Just having him on the team and to learn from him is good. I'm glad he's a part of this team. He's brought some leadership and some good energy."
Jenkins wasn't just brought in to be a mentor, though. With 66 tackles and 9.5 sacks during his two years in Philadelphia, he was a force to be reckoned with. That's what the Giants are trying to be as a whole this season, and on defense, it starts up front.
"With me, Linval, [Shaun] Rogers, Mike Patterson, I feel like we're good enough to stop the run, said Hankins, "So we're in pretty good shape right now."
We'll have to wait for the season to start, though, to be able to tell if New York's revamped line is a big enough improvement over last year's unit.