New York Giants Markus Golden
(Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

With Lorenzo Carter out for the year, Markus Golden is ready and focused on a more significant role within this New York Giants defense.

Jason Leach

Last season, Markus Golden was by far the New York Giants‘ best defensive player. His 10 sacks not only led the team but made him the first Giant since Jason Pierre-Paul to notch double-digit sacks — JPP racked up 12.5 in 2014.

Based on his production, many were expecting the Giants to provide Golden with a multi-year deal. But instead, the organization placed him under the unrestricted free agent tender. Golden signed his one-year tender in August.

Despite the fact that he didn’t receive a multi-year contract and is now playing for a new head coach (Joe Judge) and defensive coordinator (Patrick Graham), the expectation was that Golden would still have a prominent role within the defense.

But through the first five games, Golden not only hasn’t been a starter, but has seldom been on the field. He’s recorded just nine tackles and .5 sacks thus far in 2020.

However, with Lorenzo Carter rupturing his Achilles tendon last week against the Cowboys and Oshane Ximines on injured reserve with a shoulder injury, Golden is primed to see a significant increase in reps.

Golden remained a true professional throughout the summer when he was hoping to get a lucrative contract, and ultimately through his unexpected decrease in playing time.

“No, not frustrated [with my lack of playing time] at all. I’ve been in the league for a while, so I know some weeks you can get a lot of plays, other weeks you can’t get a lot of plays,” he said. “My focus every week is the same no matter what. Whether I’m starting, whether I’m backing up. It’s ‘go hard in practice, learn the game plan, and prepare like I’m starting.’ I don’t allow that stuff to get me frustrated. I just try to focus and take it one day at a time and be ready when my name is called.”

Golden’s name will certainly be called on Sunday when the Giants take on Washington. So far this season, the Washington offensive line has surrendered 21 sacks. This seems like the perfect opportunity for Markus to be a disruptive force.

Golden was asked what makes him such a good pass rusher, and his answer exemplified the type of team player he truly is.

“Rushing the passer is a team role. The guys in the middle are working real hard this year. They got way better,” the veteran said. “You have [Kyler] Fack[rell] working hard, you have Zo [Carter], when Zo was in there, he was working hard. It’s a team role. Then after that, in my mind, I’m going to always want to get after the quarterback and make some plays for my team and try to get a sack or two. Just try to make plays in general to help the team win.”

“I would really say just my mindset of wanting to compete, wanting to get out there and get after the quarterback. Of course, studying film during the week and knowing what I have to do,” Golden added. “Coaches putting together a good game plan and making sure I learn and have everything down pat as far as the game plan. After that, it’s that hunt mentality. You have to be able to hunt. At the end of the day, you have to be able to put your ears back and hunt. Just getting out there, using technique and getting after it with my teammates.”

Golden and his teammates desperately need to notch their first victory of the year against the lone team they’ve gotten the better of over the last few seasons. Thirty-three percent of the Giants’ wins since 2017 have come against Washington (four of 12).

If Big Blue is going to take down its division rivals once again, Golden will play a huge role in that.

Jason's first love was football while growing up in northern New Jersey. For the past three years, he has covered the New York Giants, as well as several boxing events along the East Coast.