Carl Banks Defends Giants’ Inside Linebacker

Carl Banks

Getty Carl Banks defended a New York Giants' inside linebacker amid criticism he misses too many tackles.

Carl Banks knows a thing or two about playing linebacker for the New York Giants, and the two-time Super Bowl winner has defended the team’s current players at the position, including Micah McFadden.

Responding to a post on X from Hotel Graffiti vocalist Bobby Spence that was critical of McFadden, Banks reposted with the caption, “He is gonna be just fine.. for the first time in a decade, the #NYGiants have LB’s that can actually find the football without GPS.”

Spence had zeroed in on McFadden’s apparent struggle making clean tackles: “He had the third most missed tackles at LB in the NFL. Thats a problem.”

What’s interesting is how Banks’ response focused on McFadden and other Giants’ linebackers, no doubt including Bobby Okereke, having a nose for the ball. Instincts for where to be on a given play can take linebackers, playing an inherently read-and-react position, far.

They helped McFadden emerge as a credible starter in 2023.

Micah McFadden Made Strides in Second Season

McFadden merits praise from a franchise great like Banks after posting career-best statistics that included being in on 101 combined tackles. Of those, 63 were solo stops and 12 were for loss, per Pro Football Reference.

Although the same source also credited McFadden with 22 missed tackles, the 24-year-old did prove adept in the pass-rush department. McFadden blitzed 53 times to record a sack, eight pressures and four quarterback knockdowns.

Those numbers show what kind of linebacker McFadden has become. He’s a thumper in the box who does his best work closer to the line of scrimmage.

That’s where McFadden was when he worked his way through traffic, took on a wham block from a tight end in motion and dropped Philadelphia Eagles’ running back Kenneth Gainwell in Week 18. The excellent run fit was highlighted by Nick Falato of SB Nation’s Big Blue View.

A growing number of plays like this prove the Giants are getting a handsome return on their investment of a fifth-round pick in the 2022 NFL draft. McFadden’s rise, combined with Okereke’s excellence, means the Giants won’t need to look to this year’s draft for help at inside linebacker.

Carl Banks Right to Applaud Improvement at Key Position

Banks is right to trumpet a transformative change at linebacker for the Giants. Both McFadden and Okereke made it possible.

Okereke proved worth every penny of his four-year, $40-million contract signed last offseason. What he brought was true range to the heart of the defense.

True range meant being an asset against the run, generating pressure and in pass coverage. Okereke proved particularly stingy allowing catches, according to stats from PFF NY Giants.

Having Okereke make an impact at multiple levels of the field allowed McFadden to concentrate on playing downhill. This kind of complementary partnership is how pro linebacker units function effectively.

Banks knows that from his days playing alongside some of the greatest in franchise history at the position. Names like Lawrence Taylor, Harry Carson and Pepper Johnson.

They each helped keep the Giants strong defensively for years. Okereke and McFadden can only hope to have a fraction of the same impact, but their presence behind dominant nose tackle Dexter Lawrence II at least ensures the Giants will remain formidable in the middle.

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