While the New York Giants have vastly exceeded expectations on the defensive side of the football this season, the ability to get after the quarterback from the edge continues to elude them. While Big Blue is currently 11th in most sacks in football, only Kyler Fackrell has exceeded 1.0 sack from the outside linebacker position this year.
Maybe an influx of 51.5 career sacks to the unit will help bolster those numbers.
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Giants Sign Pass Rusher Jabaal Sheard
In order to make his way to New York, Sheard terminated his practice squad contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars, with whom he signed just eight days ago. The veteran defensive end/outside linebacker made his 2020 season debut just two days ago for the Jags, logging one pass defended on 15 defensive snaps.
Sheard, a former second-round pick of the Cleveland Browns back in 2011, has appeared in 135 games over his 10-year pro career, spending highly productive stints with the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots.
While never a double-digit sack guy, in his prime Sheard was one of the more consistent pass-rushers in all of football. Over his first five NFL seasons, Sheard recorded 7.0-plus sack campaigns in three of them. While his sack production slipped some during his latter years in New England as well as his time in Indianapolis, his ability to wreak havoc continued. Sheard collected 58 QB hits from 2015 through 2019.
Sheard has started 103 of his aforementioned 135 career game appearances, registering 387 tackles (264 solo), 71 tackles for loss, 28 passes defended, 94 QB hits, 51.5 sacks and an outstanding 13 forced fumbles.
Current Outlook on Giants’ Compilation of Pass Rushers
Fackrell has been an excellent signing by the much-maligned Dave Gettleman. The former Green Bay Packers’ edge rusher is looking more and more like his double-digit sack self from 2018, rather than his 1.0 sack self from a season ago.
Fackrell has now recorded a sack in three of his last five games and is fresh off a season-high three quarterback hits. He was also the unheralded culprit who forced the eventual game-winning touchdown by Crowder this past Sunday.
Yet, aside from Fackrell, the Giants have been lacking on the edge of their defense. In return, New York has had to facilitate much of their pass rush by moving around Leonard Williams (3 sacks) and sending Blake Martinez on blitzes (2 sacks).
While many expected Markus Golden to step in and man a larger role following starter Lorenzo Carter’s season-ending Achilles injury, that’s proven not to be the case. Golden logged just 24 snaps a week ago. Despite leading Big Blue in sacks a season ago with 10, Golden has now logged sub-25 snaps in all but one game this season. It’s become clear that the veteran has been miscast in Patrick Graham’s defensive system.
For that reason, don’t be surprised to see Sheard not only take the field rather quickly but carve out an extensive role moving forward.
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