Saturday, October 1, 2022

Giants pushed to give the 24-year-old defenseman an extension

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The New York Giants have a lot to celebrate with their 2-0 record, which is mainly due to their defensive performance. After two weeks of the 2022 season, the Giants have dropped just 36 points, which ranks 11th in the league.

New York did without injured starting edge defenders Kayvon Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojulari in the first two games. Cornerback Aaron Robinson was out in Week 2 after undergoing appendectomy, and Leonard Williams left the team in the third quarter and didn’t return on Sunday with a knee injury.

Don “Wink” Martindale’s defense forced Baker Mayfield to complete 14 of 29 passes for 145 yards and a touchdown. While Christian McCaffrey ran for 102 yards, 49 of those yards came on a carry.

All in all, the Giants’ defense did its job of covering Carolina’s wideouts and putting pressure on Mayfield.

That being said, there’s one under-the-radar player in the Giants’ defense who’s finally getting his recognition.

2019 Giants fourth-round safety Julian Love was given the starting role for the 2022 season. Prior to Week 1, he appeared in 48 career games (16 starts) and had an interception in each of the last three seasons.

The Notre Dame product had a team-high eight tackles in Week 2 and even recorded a sack against Mayfield, who forced a punt with three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. The Panthers never got the ball back.

On Sunday, Love played all 58 defensive snaps and 19 more in special teams.

After seeing the performance of Love’s Week 2, giant insider tweeted: “I think it’s safe to say everyone wants Julian Love to get a second contract in blue #giants.”

Love was named team captain ahead of the season, despite not having been a full-time starter in the past. It’s evident that teammates respect the fourth-year pro as he’s garnered enough player votes from both the defensive side of the ball and special teams.

“I won’t lie; it means a lot to me,” Love said via Sports Illustrated in August. “I’ve never been a captain in my life and doing that for the Giants at the highest level is hard not to get emotional.

Of course, New York still has time to decide Love’s future. He will be a free agent after the 2023 season.

But the Giants would love to have love for starting safetyman Xavier McKinney for the foreseeable future.

Oshane Ximines, the 2019 third-round pick-edge rusher, didn’t have it easy, but the hard work seems to be paying off.

He had one of the team’s two sacks in Week 2 and recorded a pass separation. The outside linebacker also hit a passdown in the season-opening win over the Titans. His 80.5 overall rating from Pro Football is also the highest in the Giants’ defense for the first two games.

Ximines’ rookie campaign had decent results with 4.5 sacks and a pass breaker. But his second season was lost due to shoulder surgery at the end of the season. He’s only played 10 games in 2021 and hasn’t posted a sack while breaking three passes. Things didn’t look encouraging as the Giants drafted Thibodeaux in the 2022 draft and added Jihad Ward in the free hand.

But Ximines has stepped onto the plate with Thibodeaux and Ojulari’s injuries.

“I said that from the start. Again, I don’t know where he was last year. I just know where he is this year,” Coach Daboll said of Ximines after the game via Giants.com. “His thoughts are correct. He was a big part of our football team. He has energy. I think he has talent. I think Wink draws talent out of him. He’s a confident player.”

Ximines’ rookie campaign had decent results with 4.5 sacks and a pass breaker. But his second season was lost due to shoulder surgery at the end of the season. He’s only played 10 games in 2021 and hasn’t posted a sack while breaking three passes. Things didn’t look encouraging as the Giants drafted Thibodeaux in the 2022 draft and added Jihad Ward in the free hand.



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