On the Line

The defensive front is big blue’s big-play unit

Following a successful season last year, one in which Strahan made the Pro Bowl, the line has continued to make an impression on the Giants, their fans, and their opponents. After seven games, Strahan already has eight sacks (good enough for third in the league) and 34 tackles to go along with his pick against Washington. Bratzke, meanwhile, has developed into the consummate run defender, leading the team with 43 tackles this year along with six sacks. Hamilton, a natural end who reluctantly made the switch to tackle in 1995, continues to flourish with 23 tackles and 4.5 sacks. He has also become one of the league's best at deflecting passes at the line of scrimmage. Finally, the tandem of Harris and Peter has per formed admirably as well, with a combined 35 tackles and 4.5 sacks (including a 2.5 sack performance from Harris, who returned to action on Sunday).

"I think Christian's ability to step in and do the job shows that we have a really good group here," says Bratzke. "It shows we can overcome injuries and still be competitive."

Overcoming adversity is a trick that the whole Giants team will have to pull off if they are to have any chance of returning to the playoffs. And the defensive line will have to lead the way. And perhaps, if they are able to totally pull the team out of the doldrums, the unit might start to approach the glorious status of past New York defenses.

Whacking the snake: Michael Strahan goes after Jake Plummer
Pete Kuhns
Whacking the snake: Michael Strahan goes after Jake Plummer

"We are not the most well-known group of guys in the league. We all just play hard," says Bratzke. "It's not something we think about on the field but I think all of us are looking for a bit of recognition."

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