Not much went the New York Giants’ way on defense over the course of the 2021 season. They posted a 24.5 points per game allowed average and also finished the campaign with 34 total sacks recorded.
Giants general manager Joe Schoen retooled the defense during the free agency period and the 2022 NFL Draft, which included signing Justin Ellis to a one-year deal and drafting Kayvon Thibodeaux with the No. 5 overall pick.
With what Giants safety Xavier McKinney has seen from his teammates on this side of the ball, he has been quite impressed.
When asked during an interview with the New York Post on whether the Giants have what it takes to boast a top-10 defense this season, McKinney provided his stamp of approval to the group.
“I think so,” McKinney said. “We’re still making strides to get there, that’s what we want to be. But I think we’re gonna have a great defense.”
In the big picture, McKinney sees that the Giants defense can also be a “relentless” unit.
“I think we’ll be relentless,” McKinney said. “I think we’ll be risk-takers. We have a defense full of playmakers, we got a defense full of guys that can go out there and get the ball and go out there and make a play each and every play. When things aren’t going our way, I think we are able to bounce back.”
The Giants are set to feature under defensive coordinator Don Martindale. From McKinney's standpoint, he has had glowing reviews of the former Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator.
“He’s had an open mind to everybody’s ideas,” McKinney said. “He’s an easy guy to talk to. What we love as a defense, we’re able to just go out there and be playmakers. We don’t have to worry about making a mistake on a third down or a fourth down or something like that. He just wants us to go out there and play, and I think that’s what we’ve missed obviously the past two years.
“Even though we were really good defensively, I think everybody could tell you on the defensive side everybody was so afraid of being the one to make the mistake instead of just actually going out there and playing. ”
The Giants are set to welcome in their veteran players for training camp on July 26.