Remember that time when the New York Giants had a ferocious pass-rush with their defensive linemen? Seems like a long time ago. Their defensive line was supposed to be part of the team’s bedrock. Well, that has gone away, seeing a dip in production last season (33 sacks) compared to the year before when the Giants won the Super Bowl, and were ranked third in sacks with 48.
The 2013 season may be the same story, with longtime Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora going to the Falcons, and now with Jason Pierre-Paul having back surgery to repair a herniated disk, the Giants are desperate for production from at the defensive end position.
That’s why, during the offseason, Big Blue moved Mathias Kiwanuka back to defensive end—his natural position.
Kiwanuka spent parts of his career alternating between defensive end and linebacker, and was slated to rotate with Justin Tuck and JPP, but with Pierre-Paul out indefinitely, Kiwanuka will now have the starting role. With JPP rehabbing, and Just Tuck aging, Kiwanuka may be the Giants’ best option.
Kiwanuka’s best year came in 2008, as a defensive end, when he had a career-high eight sacks. The last time he played that position on a regular basis was in 2010 when he had four sacks in three games before being sidelined by a neck injury the rest of the season. He had 84 tackles and 3.5 sacks in 2011, but his production dropped in 2012 with 37 tackles and three sacks.