Projected starters: DE Jason Pierre-Paul, DE Justin Tuck, DT Linval Joseph, DT Cullen Jenkins
Projected reserves: DE Mathias Kiwanuka, DT Mike Patterson, DE Adrian Tracy, DE Damontre Moore, DT Shaun Rogers, DT Johnathan Hankins, DE Justin Trattou, DE Adewale Ojomo, DT Marvin Austin, DT Markus Kuhn, DE Matt Broha, DT Frank Okam
Who’s in: DT Cullen Jenkins, DT Mike Patterson, DE Damontre Moore, DT Jonathan Hankins, DT Frank Okam
Who’s out: DE Osi Umenyiora, DT Chris Canty, DT Rocky Bernard
The Good: As surprising as it may be to some the strength of the Giants defensive line this year may very well be what was their biggest weakness last season- Stopping the run. Giants GM Jerry Reese spent the off-season making sure that a Giants team which ranked 31st in total defense last season would not be repeating the same mistakes. Reese added Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson, re-signed Shaun Rogers and drafted Jonathan Hankins. If things work out the way Jerry Reese is planning them too the Giants may very well be one of the best run stopping teams in 2013.
The Not so Good: Overall, this years revamped defensive line should be one of the best groups in the NFL. However, many questions remain. If Jason Pierre-Paul cannot return to form after off-season back surgery, we may see a team that struggles to rush the passer the way fans are accustomed to. Add to that the fact that Osi will no longer be taking the field for the Giants and it seems reasonable to suggest that the Giants pass rush may take a slight step back.
Player to watch: Jason Pierre-Paul. Justin Tuck may be the captain of the Big Blue’s defense, but there is no doubt that Jason Pierre-Paul is the best player. With Pierre-Paul returning from off-season back surgery the Giants and their fans will have to hold their breath until JPP takes the field. Currently Pierre-Paul’s projected return date shed’s some doubt on whether or not he will be ready to take the field during the opener against Dallas. If Pierre-Paul is not ready for week 1 veteren Mathias Kiwanuka will start at defensive end until JPP is ready to take the field.