John Fennelly, Lead Writer
As the voluntary stage of the Giants’ offseason workout program comes to a close, each unit is going through their annual spring assessment. Each coordinator and position coach is faced with multiple challenges, some more severe and urgent than others.
The defensive line has gone through a revamp in the middle and now with the departure of Osi Umenyiora and the injury to JPP, changes are being forced on the ends as well. Justin Tuck is aiming to recapture his Pro Bowl form and Mathias Kiwanuka is being slotted back where belongs at the other DE spot. The rest of the group are all young, unproven players looking to take advantage of the opportunity being afforded this summer.
Defensive line coach Robert Nunn says the plan was to move Kiwanuka back to DE, but now with JPP gone, the decision has become a no-brainer.
“It is a combination,” said Nunn about the move. “Yeah, a little bit when Osi (Umenyiora) left. We felt like in the middle of the season, towards the end, that Kiwi wasn’t really comfortable with what we were asking him to do. And so we felt that he would be more comfortable at defensive end. We were able to tell him that early and he has come in here and he is really off to a good start with what we can do in the OTAs and throughout minicamp next week. So he looks solid.”
Two of the main candidates for spots in the DE rotation are Adrian Tracy and rookie Damontre Moore. Both have looked solid in OTAs (for what that’s worth) and each has helped their chances going into mini and training camp.
“Damontre has come in and has shown flash in some good things. He has a long way to go – a lot to learn in a short time. With the new rules you are limited to how much you can do with these guys. And so he really is off to a good start. He has a lot to learn in a short period of time,” stated Nunn.
RE Tracy: “I’m really pleased with the way Tracy …. He is further along right now than he has ever been in his career at this time; this point. He has got to keep moving forward and come in here in great shape, which I know he will. He always takes care of himself. When he gets to training camp. He has proven, as a special teams player, that he has got to go out there and be consistent playing the run and pass on Sundays on defense.”
As for moving some of the veteran DTs tot he outside, Nunn said Cullen Jenkins lined up on the outside on occasion for him when both were with Green Bay. Rookie Jonathan Hankins is a DT by nature, but Nunn is not ruling out anything right now.
“I would be able to answer that fairly until we get to pads and when live bullets are being fired,” admitted Nunn. “Anybody can go out there right now. With his feet we got after it with the OTA rules. But that may be a possibility but that is going to kind of be determined after we get in full pads and get into some live situations.”