Xavier McKinney Gives Blunt Response to Giants’ Defensive Struggles

Xavier McKinney

Getty Xavier McKinney

The New York Giants have given up a total of 98 points in the first three games of the 2023 season, good for third worst in the NFL.  Safety Xavier Mckinney spoke to the media on Monday, September 25 via Zoom and addressed some of the concerns facing the defensive unit.

“Individually, we’ve got to be better, we’ve got to have faster starts, and we’ve got to execute a lot better. We’ve got to be a lot cleaner, be a lot sharper. I think it’s pretty simple. There’s only so much talking you can do about it. We’ve got to go out there and do these things and execute and be able to execute at a high level. So, once we do that, we’ll be fine,” McKinney told reporters.

During the Thursday Night Football loss to the 49ers, the defense had obvious issues tackling which were magnified on a number of third and long situations where they allowed San Francisco to convert.  According to Pro Football Focus, the Giants defense missed a total of 16 tackles.

McKinney however does not see tackling as the biggest issue.

“Obviously, we’ve got to tackle, but that’s not why we lost two games. We’ve got to be better with it, but that’s not the reason to us having lost two games, in my opinion. The fundamentals matter, and we’ve got to be a lot better in that aspect, which we will. But that’s not the reason why the games are going how they’re going,” McKinney said.

“[There’s] a lot of other different things that we’ve got to correct and be better with, and like I said, fundamentals matter and they’re always going to matter, and we’ll be better with it. I’m not going to stress too much over that, because I know that we’re a good tackling team.

Dexter Lawrence Is Playing Up to His Contract

Earlier this year Dexter Lawrence signed a four-year, $90 million extension with $60 million guaranteed.  The second-year captain has also become a vocal leader as well.  This summer he made headlines for saying that he does not want to talk about building, but rather focus on winning.

Lawrence was listed as number 28 on the 2023 NFL Top 100 after a stellar 2022 season that saw the Giants reach the playoffs and win a first-round game against the Vikings.

According to Pro Football Focus, Lawrence was the highest-graded Giants player in Week 2 against the 49ers.

Linebacker Micah McFadden Showing Signs of Growth

There has not been much to cheer about on the defensive side of the ball for the Giants so far this season, but one bright spot is the emergence of second-year linebacker Micah McFadden.  The 2022 fifth-round draft pick out of Indiana University has recorded double-digit tackles in two of the team’s three games.  

In New York’s loss to the 49ers, McFadden also added in four tackles for a loss, including a key red zone stop on 49ers RB Christian McCaffrey.

McFadden spoke to the media on Monday about the game and his performance.

“With the TFLs, I think that’s just making the plays when my number is called and when I have the opportunity to run through a gap or chase the ball down and make a play behind the line of scrimmage. I think that’s helpful for the team and I want to continue to make those plays moving forward.”

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