George Selvie thinks the Giants defense will be just fine this season despite what the rest of the world is saying about the beleaguered unit. One of the reasons he is confident: He helped prove the rest of the world wrong just last year.
Selvie was a member of the Cowboys defense that, at this time in 2014, was being projected as one of, if not the worst, in the league. They lacked star power, they lacked toughness, and they lacked discipline. But when the regular season began, they became a big part of Dallas' playoff season.
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"I don't read too much news," Selvie told Newsday on Tuesday. "I don't know what they're saying out there, but I think we're going to have a pretty good defense once everybody gets healthy and back on the field. I think we're going to be a really solid defense."
If they do, the Giants may have to accomplish it without a star player. Jason Pierre-Paul, who was expected to fill that role, has yet to show up for the Giants this summer after his fireworks accident. The defensive line, long the stable for stud Giants, is essentially down to a group of solid but unspectacular players. The safety position has been a hodgepodge since the offseason when the Giants allowed veterans such as Antrel Rolle to walk away in free agency. Jon Beason is perpetually one injury away from another season with single-digit games played.
And this is coming off last year when the Giants were ranked 29th in yards allowed, 22nd in points allowed and 30th in rushing yards allowed.
The Giants, whose success in the last quarter century has been built on defense, could take the field for 2015 with their own version of the usual name hung on largely anonymous players.
" 'No-Name Defense,' that's what we were called back in Dallas," Selvie said, himself one of those no-names as a starting end. Here, they may soon have a similar tag.
"We have good players out there, good players who know what they're doing," Selvie said. "We're a very solid defense. When everybody is healthy and on the field, we'll be good."
Selvie is one of those returning players. He missed two weeks with a knee injury but has practiced two straight days and said he expects to play on Thursday in the preseason finale. But "everybody" includes Pierre-Paul, too, and there is no indication when he'll be ready to play nevermind actually arrive. So can teams survive -- can the Giants survive? -- without a star?
"You can," said Selvie, who has done it before. "It depends on the players you have."
And where you put them.
"Different people on different days have shown the ability to do certain things," Tom Coughlin said. "What we have to do is take what we have and match it up with what they can do well. I see things along those lines, things that are positive, but there's no doubt we're going to have to prove it against the best competition in football. It's all in front of us."
Coughlin said mixing and matching the 16 to 18 players who will comprise the core of the defense will be the key.
If they are able to come together and play the way Selvie thinks they can, the way the Cowboys did last year, then naming them shouldn't be too much of a concern for the Giants.