From Craig Santucci / SNYGiants contributor
There is something to be said about loyalty. Most coaches have too much or not enough. The most successful coaches like Mike Tomlin, Bill Belichick, Mike McCarthy, Sean Payton, John Harbaugh and Tom Coughlin are somewhere in between.
While defensive end Justin Tuck does not have the same burst he had in 2007 when he stepped upon the big stage during the Super Bowl, he still has plenty left in the tank (See RG3) and that is why the New York Giants and Tom Coughlin see value in their Defensive Captain.
After Sunday nights 4 sack game vs. Robert Griffin, a few things became very clear.
One, Justin Tuck excels with a speed rusher on the opposite side of him. Osi Umenyiora and now Demontre Moore force Defensive Coordinators to provide help to the left tackle. That help might come from a Tight End, Running Back or a pulling Guard.
Secondly, Justin Tuck has always been able to beat the guard from the inside. While an inside blocker (guard or center) may outweigh Tuck, he is just as strong and has just enough speed and good footwork to shoot around or through the middle of the offense.
Thirdly, he is a force when stopping the run. For all the negative press, I would only ask those people, “Do you watch the games?”
This year I have seen No. 91 do everything asked of him and more. It’s time to appreciate what the Giants have. The captain is rarely caught out of position and he stuffs the run good as anybody. He follows the ball down the line of scrimmage and makes tackles from behind numerous times a game and gets his paws on a handful of passes. The future may be seeing Tuck rushing more from the inside with Cullen Jenkins and Linval Joseph.
While Tuck’s best days might be behind him, he now does not have to do it alone. Jon Beason should be an off-season priority and the game plan needs to include third round draft pick Damontre Moore (the future) and a healthy Jason Pierre-Paul. The biggest surprise is Spencer Paysinger who clearly showed he can play on this level.
Where the loyalty may run out is with Mathias Kiwanuka. Kiwi has been a staple for years; however, his play has dropped dramatically. While the Defensive Ends snaps have been diminished, he has not made the most of those opportunities and only has 24 tackles all year.
So, despite not having a contract in 2014, Justin Tuck is healthy and still brings a lot of value. He is the defensive captain, he can rush from the outside and the inside and he plays full tilt every play. That guy should have a place on this team any day.
In referencing Tuck’s four sack day he gave credit to his Defensive Coordinator for drawing up some stuff on the fly that the defensive had not practiced.
Maybe Perry Fewell should try that more often because the proof is in the play. They’ve been very stingy against the run. Last Sunday, they stoned Redskins RB Alfred Morris, allowing him just 26 yards.
Tuck – 5 Tackles/4 Sacks
Beason – 17 Tackles
Paysinger – 8 Tackles
Kiwanuka – 3 Tackles
John Fennelly, Lead Writer
I see Tuck being signed back on a multi-year deal. If 32 year-old Cullen Jenkins can walk in off the street and get $8 million over three years, it makes sense that 30 year-old Justin Tuck get three years worth more than that. Say, $10 mil over three….maybe more.
With JPP out, Tuck and Kiwanuka played every snap on Sunday. While it has been noticeable that Kiwi’s play has fallen off a bit, the Giants are pretty much locked into him for the next few years. He’s going nowhere for now.
Before last season, the team made a considerable commitment to Kiwanuka by signing him to a four-year, $21.75 million contract. His cap hits for 2014 and 2015 are $7.05 mil and $7.45 mil respectively.