Leonard Williams, left, stands alongside Dexter Lawrence II during the...

Leonard Williams, left, stands alongside Dexter Lawrence II during the first day of training camp at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, N.J. Credit: James Escher

TEMPE, Ariz. — Odds are the Giants will recover a fumble, intercept a pass or sack a quarterback sometime this season. But 12% of the way into it, they are the only team in the NFL that has done none of those things.

It is the first time in their near century in the NFL that they have come up empty in all those categories in consecutive games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

That is a problem, and it will be an even bigger problem if it continues against the 49ers on Thursday night, given that the Giants do not figure to score many points against an elite defense, especially with Saquon Barkley likely out.

Wink Martindale’s defense is not in a panic over this quite yet, at least not when they are talking to reporters about it. But still, it is a strange statistic, especially given the weapons at Martindale’s disposal.

Up front, that includes Dexter Lawrence, who recently signed a four-year, $90 million contract; Leonard Williams, who costs more than $32 million salary cap space; and Kayvon Thibodeaux, the No. 5 overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft.

What can be done about this, coach Brian Daboll?

“Obviously, we want to create some negative plays, whether that's negative run plays or pass plays,” he said before Tuesday’s walkthrough practice.

“We’ve got to do a good job of getting them into those pass situations, controlling first down so they can’t play the game on their terms.”

Fair enough. But those zeroes are starting to attract attention, and the players know it. The trick, Williams said, is to ignore that and stay the course.

“In times like this when people are talking about where are the sacks or where are the takeaways and stuff like that,” he said on Tuesday, “I think guys will start trying to play outside the framework of the defense and chasing those specific plays, like trying to get a strip, or trying to get a sack.

“Now you’re not doing what you’re supposed to do because you want to get this play to get people off your back or something like that. I think that’s not the time to do this.”

Linebacker Bobby Okereke said of the sad sacks total, “It’s a multitude of things. Versus Dallas, they were getting the ball out pretty quick. Last week [against the Cardinals], it was a lot of RPO [run-pass option], play action.

“But I think if you just play drop-back pass against us and line up our front four, we will get sacks.”

Still . . . zero? The Giants are the only team in the league without a sack.

“We’ve just got to be patient and not overdo it and not try to go out of the framework of our defense and what Wink calls,” safety Xavier McKinney said. “Just stick to the plan and we know they’ll come in bunches once they happen.”

As for takeaways, McKinney said, “We need turnovers. We need to execute the little things. It’s little details that we need to be sharper with and really, I think for me, or at least the back end, right now we’re stressing these turnovers.

“Any way we can get it, whether that’s punch-outs, whether that’s interceptions, any way we can get it, that’s what we’re trying to so that’s what we’re putting a high emphasis on.”

There is no bigger lightning rod on the defensive front than Thibodeaux, who on Sunday not only did not have a sack but failed to record a tackle. He was credited with a quarterback hit.

When asked about the tackle total after Tuesday’s walkthrough, he responded to a reporter, “Did you guys watch the game?”

Then he offered a detailed explanation of the scheme and his role in it, and how Arizona got conservative after taking an early lead, which altered the play-calling dynamics.

“For me, it's really not about the stat line, especially in the game of football,” Thibodeaux said. “I think football is probably the only sport where you can contribute to a game without having any stats.”

The Giants are 1-1 without any flashy defensive stats. That is likely not a winning formula moving forward.


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