The Giants Need a Pass Rush: Is It Time to Unleash “Da Monster?”
This past off season, General Manager Jerry Reese placed a large emphasis on upgrading the defense, most specifically beefing up the defensive line. To fill the void left from departed veteran Osi Umenyiora and Chris Canty, the Giants brought in veterans Shaun Rodgers, Mike Patterson and Cullen Jenkins.
Along with the veteran defensive tackles, Reese drafted two promising rookies in the 2nd and 3rd round. Barring an injury, it is unlikely that 2nd round pick, Jonathan Hankins, makes any type of impact this season because for whatever reason he does not dress.
The coaches seem to be red-shirting him much like they did with starting defensive tackle, Linval Joseph three years ago. The most intriguing draft pick came in the 3rd round when pass rushing talent Damontre Moore dropped down the board.
Just turning 21 years old, the Texas A&M rookie was hyped as an early 1st round pick heading into the NFL Combine. After a poor performance, his stock had reportedly dropped in addition to sub par practice habits and a 2011 arrest.
Although red flags surrounded the defensive end, his performance throughout the preseason was on full display in the first exhibition game vs. Pittsburgh. Pro Football Focus’ Gordon McGuinness gave a great description of the rookie’s performance vs. the Steelers:
“ There wasn’t a player in the game who jumped out more than Giants third-round draft pick Damontre Moore (+6.0)…His blocked punt with 11:27 left in the first quarter was the opening highlight but he added some impressive work as a pass rusher.”
“Beating a selection of Steelers blockers to record a hit and four hurries, he did so in a variety of different ways with pressure coming on rushers inside, outside, and once on a stunt.”
The pressure that Moore brought from the defensive end position in that preseason game is something that is missing so far from this early, but almost too late, 0-3 season. Should Damontre Moore be starting?
Even with a shoulder injury that sidelined the young pass rusher, it may be too early and has yet to be determined over a bigger workload. Veterans Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck, and Mathias Kiwanuka have struggled to impact the first three opponents that the Giants have faced.
Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell has stated in the past that he wants to get the most impactful players on the field. A high-energy player chasing after the quarterback could be the jump start this defense needs.
One way Fewell could experiment with getting Moore on the field is utilizing the young end in the NASCAR package. The NASCAR package is a defensive scheme that has been used in the past on 3rd down to get the most talented Giants pass rushers on the field, simultaneously, to utilize their versatility.
In the past, a backup defensive end like Dave Tollefson was used in these specific situations. Although not a starter, Tollefson would provide great energy and a boost in specific rush packages.
As with Tollefson and JPP not too long ago, this team right now could use that type of impact from a young player. Unleashing the monster in Kansas City might be the wake-up call this defense needs.
Marco Imperati | Featured Columnist