Expected to participate: DEs: Justin Tuck, Mathias Kiwanuka, Matt Broha, Damontre Moore, Adrian Tracy, Justin Trattou, Adewale Ojomo; DTs: Marvin Austin, Jonathan Hankins, Cullen Jenkins, Markus Kuhn, Linval Joseph, Frank Okam, Mike Patterson, Shaun Rogers
Not participating: DE Jason Pierre-Paul (back)
Overview: After finishing 31st in overall defense in 2012, the front office spent most of the offseason augmenting and restructuring their sagging interior defensive line and their pass rush. The Giants recorded 33 sacks and allowed 4.6 YPC in 2012 as opposed to 48 sacks and 4.5 YPC in 2011.
The rushing numbers are deceiving, however, as the Giants failed to make key stops on third down time and time again, prolonging drives. In short, they we not clutch.
They begin the mandatory stage of the offseason without the services of DE Jason Pierre-Paul, who had surgery on his lower back last week to treat a herniated disc. Doctors expect JPP to recover and the team hopes he can return for the beginning of the regular season.
The injury goes a long way in explaining why his sack production dipped dramatically from 16.5 in 2011 to 6.5 last year. Without JPP and Osi Umenyiora (who signed with Atlanta via free agency) the Giants’ edge pass rush has lost two top-tier players.
The coaches’ decision to move Kiwanuka back to his natural position of DE could not have come at a better time. Tuck claims he is physically fit for the first time in years and aims to return to his Pro Bowl form of a few years back. Tracy and Moore will get first crack at breaking the rotation but the others will get plenty of chances as well.
There are new faces at tackle. Jenkins and Patterson are above-average players who will be upgrades for the Giants. Hankins is a high-acheiving player out of Ohio State that will add some physicality. Joseph struggled at times last season and should benefit from the new arrivals. Kuhn showed flashes in his limited playing time last season before his year was cut short by a knee injury.
This is a make-or-break summer for Austin, who has done nothing but get hurt and fail to distinguish himself. Rogers is 34 and missed all of last season with blood clot issues in his legs. Okam was signed this spring after a solid tryout and currently seems to be a longshot to make the roster.