Fighters get better edge that rushes from unexpected sources

A strange thing happened when the Giants approached three rookies and an unknown player elevated from the training squad to put pressure from the edge last Sunday.

Opposing quarterback Raiders veteran Derek Carr looked uncomfortable in his pocket as he made three turnovers.

Giants head coach Joe Judge often talks about how draft status and contract size are irrelevant when it comes to earning playing time, but he put the words into action against the Raiders when the Giants started the dropout claim Quincy Roche (a 2021 election in the sixth round). of the Steelers) next to runner-up Azeez Ojulari. Oshane Ximines was a healthy list for the first time in favor of quarterback Elerson Smith, who made his NFL debut, and Trent Harris, who has been cut six times by three teams over four years.

“The three young guys are really getting around and evolving,” Judge said. “There are several roles that come into each game plan and you can only take so many guys into the game, so you have to consider offensive and defensive value along with the kicking game.”

Ojulari, Harris and Roche united in five pressures, highlighted by Roche’s last – minute victory. There was no need for anyone to make excuses about all the other ways edge rushers can affect a game, as was often the case for Ximines and the injured starter Lorenzo Carter. In the seven games where Ximines and Carter played together this season, they did not make five combined pressures once.

Ojulari – with 5.5 sacks on 404 career defensive snaps – suddenly became the dean of the game day for the outside linebackers. Smith, who was slow to return after a hamstring injury in July, only debuted on special teams.

“We’re all trying to grow with each other,” Ojulari said. “Whatever we see out there, we communicate the tips.”

Quincy Roche and Azeez Ojulari helped make Derek Carr uncomfortable in a win over the Raiders.
Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

The Giants face an interesting decision after goodbye. Carter (ankle) might be ready to return after two games of absence, but is it smart to take snaps away from younger or more productive players? Or is it time to embrace a shift change? Since counting four quarterback pressures on 25 pass-rushing snaps in Week 1, Carter has four more on 121 snaps over six games.

“All of these rookies are really learning the game,” Judge said. “Pass-rushers on the edge, you look at these guys throughout the league all the time, it takes some time to get caught.

“There’s a big difference between playing against the tackles and the protection in the NFL versus college. Usually it’s hard to get these guys off the field and just go ahead and go over their face so you have to [know] what is your main feature? What is your change? What can you go for in the situation? ”

Carter and Ximines – third-round picks in 2018 and 2019 respectively – went together to miss 23 games with major injuries last season and it would be a surprise if both returned to the team next season.

Harris, on the other hand, went undrafted in 2018, but was just named the Giants’ special teams player of the week. He may not be promoted from the coaching staff again (each player is limited to two promotions per season), but will likely sign on to one of the four empty 53-man list spots this week.

“He’s a guy who stays ready,” Judge said, “whether it’s at short notice or he’s a little in limbo sometimes. He’s done a great job for us the last two weeks by going up and be clear and productive. ”

Six days before he was disqualified against the Raiders, Ximines negated a teammate’s interception by jumping offside late in a draw against the Chiefs. It’s easy to draw a straight line between the two as a warning to the team to stop making foolish mistakes. But it’s not that simple, Judge explained.

Teammates only cared about Ximines’ selfless reaction to his relegation, whether it was temporary or permanent.

“Me and him came off the bench together,” Roche said, “so it was him who helped me through the playbook, and helped me guide me through everything, so he has been nothing but supportive.”

Supportive is important. But if the Giants are to make it to the playoffs in the second half, they need to stick to the productive.

“I’m just trying to get the best out of my opportunity,” Ojulari said. “Everyone is trying to play as hard and as fast as we can.”