It has been reported that doctors have told Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul that he should not play again this season. With the team officially eliminated from playoff contention last weekend I can not imagine JPP or the team not heeding that advice, that would just be foolish. The injury to JPP is not good news, but this is not necessarily bad news either.
Of course losing one of your best defensive players is always a blow, but with the Giants playing out the string for the rest of the year this injury will provide an opportunity for the team, and the fan base, to get a better look at rookie Damontre Moore. The Giants selected Moore in the 3rd round of the draft last year and he impressive in the pre-season, earning himself the nickname “DaMonster”, but has not made an impact on the regular season, recording only 6 tackles all year. Moore and Mathias Kiwanuka are next on the teams depth chart at defensive end, but I think it would be a wise move to give the rookie the bulk to the snaps vacated by Pierre-Paul. Whether he gets the majority of those snaps or not is yet to be seen, but he will certainly get a chance to make his mark at some point in the final 4 games.
The uncertainty of Justin Tuck returning to the team next year also provides the Giants with some incentive to promote Moore to the starting position in JPP’s wake. Tuck is a free agent and there is some debate as to how much interest the Giants have in retaining him. I must admit that I would love to have Justin Tuck back on this team; sure his production has dipped in recent years but over the past few weeks he has shown that he still has the ability to perform at a high level. He is also a locker room leader and co-captain of the defense. Those types of intangible characteristics are very difficult to replace. However, free agency is always unpredictable, if a team were to give Tuck an offer that the Giants could not, or would not, match, it would be good to know whether they had an in-house option that could step in and fill his shoes prior to the draft.
Should Moore play well over the last 4 games it could give the Giants the leverage to not have to overpay for Tuck or another free agent D-end. Moore would provide the team with a younger, cheaper option for the other side of the defensive line across from JPP. In a perfect world Moore excels in his expanded role for the next 4 weeks and the Giants re-sign Tuck, giving them three legitimate pass rushing options and the flexibility to give the aging Tuck and the oft-injured JPP some rest.
(stats and depth chart via Giants.com)