Tag:Mathias Kiwanuka
Posted on: June 17, 2010 12:42 pm
 

Good-Spirited Drama Along the Giants DL

In a follow up to the Osi Umenyiora story from yesterday, Mathias Kiwanuka spoke about the situation at the right defensive end position.

"That's my goal and that's where my focus is,” Kiwanuka said of keeping his starting job. “There's no other thought in my mind "Once I get it, I have to keep it."

"We can maintain a friendly competition because that's where we need everybody's mind to be. This is the NFL. There are battles at every position up and down the line."

Umenyiora and Kiwanuka (who, by the way, also has a contract situation), won’t be competing for the same spot on third down, apparently. Yesterday the Giants revealed a four-man nickel front consisting of first-round rookie Jason Pierre-Paul and Kiwanuka as the ends, and Justin Tuck and Umenyiora as the tackles. Tuck is as versatile as any player in the game and has the strength and technique to be dominant inside. Umenyiora has generally been a space player though could give guards fits with his initial quickness.

--Andy Benoit

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Posted on: June 16, 2010 4:55 pm
Edited on: June 16, 2010 4:58 pm
 

Osi Umenyiora....A Backup?

Let’s get one thing clear: Osi Umenyiora deserved to be benched last season. The Giants Pro Bowl defensive end became a liability as a playside run-defender. At times, it was worse than you could imagine. Offenses were clearly altering their game-plan to dial up run after run to Umenyiora’s side of the field. And not only was Umenyiora getting blocked, but opposing linemen were, at times, steering him in the direction they wanted him to go. Umenyiora was getting manhandled; the Giants had no choice but to bench him.

Now, let’s get something else clear: Umenyiora is a good player. And, prior to his ’08 knee injury, he had been a solid all-around run-defender. He’s still quick and agile, and he shows an acute ability to make run stops as a backside defender (when he can use his speed to chase the ball). Considering this and the fact that he’s still a 10-sack-caliber pass-rusher, it’d be foolish to write him off.

The 28-year-old Umenyiora is intelligent and outspoken. He has clashed with coaches in the past and wasn’t happy about the way his ’09 season finished out. With the first-round selection of Jason Pierre-Paul, many figured Umenyiora would have been traded by now. But the Giants, since the days of George Young and Ernie Accorsi, have always horded pass-rushers the way schizophrenics horde cats. So Umenyiora is on the roster and trying to climb from the second string back to the first. He must overtake Mathias Kiwanuka, a solid player with a similar skill set.

Umenyiora was asked today by ESPNNewYork.com’s Ohm Youngmisuk about playing the second string. Here was his response:

"Would I be cool? If I truly was not the best player, then I would be cool with it. If I feel like I am the best player and everybody in this league knows the type of player that I am, if I am able to play the way that I am capable of playing -- and I haven't played that way in my whole career in my mind -- the minute in my mind that I am playing the way that I am capable of playing when I am out on the field, then of course, it is going to be a problem. But I don't think that is going to happen."

--Andy Benoit

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