After yet again giving up a number of big plays in the passing game, this time at the hands of the Colts’ star quarterback Andrew Luck, Big Blue finds itself searching for answers on how to keep the opposition’s big plays to a minimum. The Giants have given up 36 plays of over 20 yards in the passing game, second worst to only Jacksonville’s 38, but on a per-pass basis the Giants blow them out of the water. On a per-pass basis, the Giants pass defense is giving up a 20+ yard pass play every 7.7 attempts.
“I don’t even have a hard number on it like you do to even try to dissect and explain it,” noted McClain. “It is unacceptable. That is just plain and simple, that is unacceptable.”
“Giving up big plays hurts your team, it hurts your defense, and it puts your offense in a bad position, we can’t do that. How do we stop it? Man, I have been saying this for weeks and weeks and weeks, we just play the technique. We just believe in the scheme, we just do that. To the outside world, it just seems so, ‘how do you stop it,’ ‘what is this,’ ‘what is that.’ It is really simple. Just playing football the way it was written up for you to play it. Once we just do that for an entire game, the result will be what we have seen in other games; the results will be the same because guys are sticking to the fundamentals of it. It is kind of simple in that aspect.”
Of course, it is not much of a surprise the Giants are giving up big plays in the passing game when the team’s opening day secondary has seen season-ending injury after another. Prince Amukamara was the latest victim this past Monday night, and leaves the Giants now without three of their top four corners for the rest of the year in addition to the team’s number one corner Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie being limited with injuries of his own. Despite these losses McClain, taking on some leadership responsibility from the injured Jon Beason, said there could be no excuses.
“As far as how it affects for the team, we lose a good corner,” McClain said. “We lose a good corner, but this is the NFL, and it sucks to say but it is true. It comes true and true every day in this league, the next man up is the mentality. Who is the next man going to be, who is going to be the person that steps up into those shoes, and now you have to have 10 other people to do more to hold to the standard of what Prince Amukamara played at. It is the NFL, we lose people and it unfortunate, but we have to move on unfortunately.”
Unfortunately for the Giants, it gets no easier. The tough loss on Monday night is followed up with a trip to Super Bowl winning Seattle. While the Seahawks aren’t known for an explosive pass offense, they pose unique threats of their own, including on the ground with Marshawn Lynch and the unpredictability of Russell Wilson. McClain and the rest of the Giants defense will need to root out these fundamental mistakes, and quickly.