I don't consider 31st in the league successful. I'm not living in 2011.
But if you want to revisit 2011, the Giants defense was getting it's *** handed to it because they didn't know what the hell they were doing until Reese resigned - guess who???.....Chase Blackburn. Boley also had a career year.
Back in 2007, a great deal of credit should go to Antonio Pierce - yes, a linebacker - for executing Pags' defense. Kawika Mitchell and Chase Blackburn gave them an effective linebacking unit.
The Bears and Giants run a similar system. Perry Fewell worked under Lovie Smith with the Bears and Rams. The Cover 2 requires good linebackers....it's something the Bears understand....it's why they drafted 2 more this year. The Giants signed Dan Connor to replace Blackburn and Boley.
Certain teams value linebackers.....the Giants don't, and the Giants defense also happened to suck *** last year. Go figure.
Our championship defenses were fueled by a DL that was getting the job done. The LBs weren't playing much better than average to good. When the DL is getting it's job done the rest of the defense looks better.