When the Giants have reigned supreme in their past success, most of it has come from the likes of their defensive line causing unheralded havoc on to opposing quarterbacks. As the Giants know from their two Super Bowl victories, everything starts up front.
However, in the past few seasons, the Giants have sort of lost their identity, and have grown away from their roots, losing the team’s pass rush, which has also lost them more games as well. However, in this past Sunday’s loss vs. the offensively gifted Colts, we saw a silver lining and glimmer of hope in the G-Men.
The defensive line is beginning to shape up as an intimidating unit for the club once again. Highlighting the unit Monday was the performance of Robert Ayers. Ayers, the former first round draft selection collected a sack and numerous hits on quarterback Andrew Luck. When asked to speak about his performance and what had changed, Ayers was humble about his breakout performance.
“I don’t know. I will leave that up to you guys to judge as far as best performance,” noted Ayers. “Every week I try to study guys and I try to game plan. I try to have a plan of attack and every week I think of things I can take advantage of. I was able to get some pressure and help my team a little more than I have before. Coach Nunn has built confidence in me and helping me come along, helping me to get in the position to use my ability. Indianapolis, they throw a lot. Coach Nunn put me in some situations to do good and I studied those guys and I watched them, and I was able to do some good things. I feel that way every week. I feel like I can do that every week. That is not always the case, now I just want to keep building on what I am doing, keep learning, and keep improving.”
The Giants are optimistic that Ayers and the rest of the unit can continue to improve. If the team wants to have any shot at competing against the reigning Super Bowl champs, it will be up to Ayers and company to improve on their past performance. When Ayers was asked about how he will face off against Russell Wilson, he was critical of his own play Monday night.
”You definitely have to be worried about that,” noted Ayers. “I personally gave up a first down, I got too high on my rush lane, kind of selfishly I thought I could beat the guy around and I didn’t quite get there and allowed Andrew Luck to step up and run for a first down. That was a big play in the beginning of the game and if we get off the field, who knows how that could have changed the tempo. Things like that are things that I have to keep improving on. Not just….got to stay within the scheme and situation like that. With Russell Wilson, he can turn those into six, and put points on the board if he does that. That is one thing I have to keep improving on and being more disciplined and working with other guys, and them working with me, and us collectively doing a good job. It is definitely an issue when you have quarterbacks like that.”
If the rest of the Giants defensive line can play like Ayers did this past Sunday, there remains hope that the team still has playoff sights intact, and a win this upcoming Sunday would be extremely crucial to the team’s playoff hopes.