Giants’ Pass Rush Doesn’t Scare the Ravens
Ravens head coach John Harbaugh paused, if just for a minute, when he was asked if he feared the Giants’ pass rush.
“I wouldn’t use that word,” he said during his conference call with the New York media. “We respect them. We think they’re very good. They’ve got a great front and I think their secondary is playing exceptionally well. Linebackers are athletic. But that front –every one of those guys can rush. … They’ve done a great job coaching those guys over the years. I just think it’s a very formidable group.”
When told of Harbaugh’s sentiments, none of the defensive linemen seemed surprised.
“Nah, I’m not bothered by it,” said defensive end Osi Umenyiora, who is second on the team with 6.0 sacks this season. “He’s the coach. Even if he did look on tape and he was scared, he’s not going to be like, ‘Yes we’re scared’ because he has to inspire confidence in his team. So I understand exactly what he was saying. Even if he doesn’t –even if he really feels that way, that’s cool. We just have to go out there and try to put fear in whoever we play next.”
“I don’t think he should have fear,” added defensive tackle Chris Canty, who has 3.0 sacks on the season. “I mean, healthy respect yes, but I don’t think he should call it fear.”
The concerns with the pass rush have come as a result of the numbers of sacks and quarterback hits being down from a year ago. But Umenyiora and his teammates were quick to point out that sometimes the numbers can be deceiving.
“Honestly, I think we are doing great,” said defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. “People say that we are not rushing. But we get to the quarterback… we are probably not getting there fast enough but we are getting there.”
“I think what we’ve put on tape so far has been good,” added Umenyiora. “It hasn’t been as bad as people would like to make it out, but when things were good, honestly it wasn’t as good as people tried to make it out to be; it was somewhere in the middle.”
Umenyiora believes that it’s not so much what teams are doing to stifle him, Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck on the pass rush as it is the Giants’ inability to stop the run, a season-long struggle or them.
“They’ve been doing the same thing to JPP as they’ve been doing to me and doing to Tuck; they haven’t’ been paying any special attention to one person so please don’t get that confused,” Umenyiora said.
“Everyone is seeing the same thing. That’s why if we stop the run early and put them in long distance situations and one guy is really, really coming on strong, that takes the focus off him and they allow another guy to be in a one-on-one situation.”
Pierre-Paul agreed. “If we can’t stop the run, then there is no getting to the quarterback.”
So what then can the Giants defense do to make sure they’re keeping opponents in long yardage situations which in turn favor the pass rush?
“Obviously you’ve got to win your individual matchups; that’s where it starts,” said Canty. “You’ve got to dominate and impose your will on the man in front of you. That’s the nature of the game of football. “I think you have to make sure you do your job, do what’s required of you, that you don’t try to do someone else’s job. You trust your teammates are doing your job and everyone works together. That’s team, being able to trust one another, being able to depend on one another, being accountable and responsible.”
And if that happens, if the Giants can start with doing a better job against the run, Umenyiora believes that people won’t even take note of the numbers the pass rush is posting.
“Once we start winning and things start going back in our favor, then people won’t really focus too much on that,” he said. “We won games but we didn’t get any sacks before.”