Antoine Bethea
AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Newly-signed New York Giants safety Antoine Bethea believes the defense can make a leap from disappointing 2018 season.

Last year, the New York Giants defense was nothing short of a disappointing group, allowing 371.4 total yards per game. The secondary wasn’t special either, finishing 23rd in the NFL with 252.8 passing yards allowed per game. Their top defensive back, Landon Collins, then signed with the division rival-Washington Redskins this offseason, leading many people to believe that this year’s defense (and secondary, specifically) could be even worse.

However, newly-signed veteran safety Antoine Bethea believes the opposite. Speaking to the media on Saturday, Bethea hyped the defense up, saying they could be one of the better groups in the pros.

“For the defense? I think we could be one of the tops in the league,” Bethea said, per Mike Maraitis of Giants Wire. “Obviously, the guys that have been here have been in their second year under the defense. Myself, along with some other guys, being the first year coming in, plugging in, and making it happen.”

The Giants signed Bethea in March to a two-year, $6.5 million deal. He’ll be lining up alongside strong safety Jabrill Peppers, who was received in the Odell Beckham Jr. trade in March.

The Big Blue secondary will mostly be a brand new group.

Bethea and Peppers are both new to the system. Rookie DeAndre Baker will compete for the starting cornerback job against Sam Beal and rookie Julian Love. This will be Beal’s second year on the Giants, however, he was on injured reserve for almost his entire rookie season with a shoulder injury. He sustained the injury in July of last year.

The only returnee of this starting secondary will be Janoris Jenkins. He’s under contract with the Giants through the 2020 season. He racked up 70 tackles, two picks, and 15 passes defended through 16 games last year.

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Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.