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New York Giants’ Justin Tuck Willing to Move to Defensive Tackle

August 16th, 2012 at 12:00 PM
By Paul Tierney

As the New York Giants continue to deal with the injuries to defensive tackles Chris Canty, Marvin Austin, and the loss of Shaun Rogers and Martin Parker for the season, there seems to be an unexpected, yet glaring need on the interior of the defensive line. A unit that many considered to be one of  the deeper areas on the roster is now relying on unproven entities in Dwayne Hendricks and Markus Kuhn not only to fill out the depth chart, but possibly even to step in and contribute.To offset this issue, defensive end Justin Tuck says he's willing to step in and help.

While at a charity even on Wednesday, Tuck was asked about a possible move to the interior.

“We’ll see. Obviously, I did both and I’ve had success doing both.Wherever the team needs me to help us be successful, that’s what I’m willing to do,” Tuck said.

Although Tuck is most effectively utilized on the outside, he is more than experienced at the defensive tackle position. Earlier in his career, he saw significant time there when Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora were atop the depth chart. As his career progressed and he got better, he was moved primarily to the outside. However, he still sees time in the middle in the team's NASCAR package, which is run  in passing situations.

On the field, Tuck possesses an outstanding combination of size, strength, and athleticism. Although 2011 was a down year for him statistically, he has always been one of the most feared, versatile players on the Giants defense. Furthermore, Tuck has a physicality to him that is unrivaled by most other defensive ends in this league. If the team needs him to see an increased number of plays at defensive tackle, he is more than capable of not just filling in, but being extremely productive there as well.

However, the team's hope is that Tuck will be able to keep his traditional role within the defense. Just because there are injuries at the defensive tackle position does not mean defensive coordinator will move Justin Tuck out of a role on the outside that he plays better than almost anybody. Currently, the team does not know what they have in backups Dwayne Hendrickson and Markus Kuhn, but both players looked very good in the team's first preseason game.

Saturday night's second preseason matchup against the New York Jets will give the coaches, players, and fans alike a much better idea of the caliber of talent still healthy on the defensive interior. Hopefully it's enough to keep Justin Tuck playing in his element. However, if it's not, Big Blue has a more than capable alternative to consider when deciding how to utilize their defensive personnel on the interior.

photo credit: MattBritt00 via photo pin cc

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Tags: Chris Canty, Dwayne Hendricks, Football, Justin Tuck, Markus Kuhn, Marvin Austin, Michael Strahan, New York, New York Giants, New York Jets, NFL, Shaun Rogers

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19 Responses to “New York Giants’ Justin Tuck Willing to Move to Defensive Tackle”

  1.  norm says:

    No, no, a thousand times, no.

  2.  GOAT56 says:

    I don’t think tuck is more than a pass rush DT. Asking him to do much more is just asking for him to be banged up. With his size he would struggle versus the run. It’s not like Tuck is a 290 pound DE, he’s what 270-75. That’s just too small for significant snaps at DT.

  3.  norm says:

    Went over to a Broncos board to see what more I could learn about how that fanbase viewed Marcus Thomas.

    The following was posted six months ago, so there’s none of the “good riddance; he sucked” sour grapeage that is typically found in those forums shortly after a player departs to join another team.

    Based on the description of Bronc fan “Big Pete,” Thomas sounds like the ideal candidate for one of those one-year “show me” deals that Reese has recently been handing out as if he were a Chicago alderman giving away turkeys on Thanksgiving:

    The thing with Thomas is that he is most definitely a “1st round talent”….. the “but” in this case is that he just doesn’t seem to want to bring it on every play. It’s evident that when he wants to make a play, nobody can stop him. The only problem is that he only gets motivated to be that type of unstoppable force a few times a game.

    …If Thomas signs with us, and matures and decides that he wants to be one of the best, then we will have a freak-of-nature talent on the line, worthy of tearing up his contract to replace it with a lucrative one. HOWEVER, he needs to show that he wants to be and can be that type of player on a consistent basis of say 2 seasons. If he can do that, then we have a cornerstone on the line. If he can’t, then we have a good rotational lineman who provides good depth for cheap.

    Really, signing Thomas is a win/win for us. We get a very talented guy for cheap, who can at any moment decide to “wake up” and become a dominant player.

    http://broncotalk.net/2012/02/30058/broncos-blog/marcus-thomas-denver-broncos-bt-profile/

  4.  The Original G Man says:

    @MikeGarafolo
    Giants expected to sign DT Marcus Thomas shortly, source says:

  5.  fanfor55years says:

    No-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o + a zillion “no’s”. Tuck should play DE except in the NASCAR package. Once we sign Thomas we are going to be fine at DT. Keep Justin there as an “We can always play Justin if you don’t start playing the way we expect you to” threat to whomever are the #3 and #4 defensive tackles. That’s as close as he should get to a plugged-in DT this year or in any subsequent year. fewell knows that. Nunn knows that. Coughlin knows it. We know it. It’s nice of Tuck to say the right thing, but he ain’t gonna be playing there.

  6.  Chad Eldred says:

    Relax. The odds of Tuck playing tackle (outside of his established role there) are just a little higher than me being selected for a manned mission to mars.

  7.  fanfor55years says:

    Look, a lot of us really liked a slimmed down Rogers as a terrific run-stopper who was closing in on the end of his career but might have a year or two left while Austin and Kuhn (most hadn’t thought much about Hendricks, though we should have) developed. Some, me included, loved bringing Rocky in again for a last rodeo.

    But if we sign Thomas it looks to me like with Canty, Joseph, Thomas, Austin, Bernard, and Hendricks competing for the slots on the depth chart (knowing that Canty, Joseph, and Austin are locks but Canty’s initial absence might allow someone to sneak onto the roster for anywhere from 1-6 games depending upon whether he’s PUP’d or not) we’re actually better off than we started.

    We didn’t know Hendricks would be so impressive (well, Simon did, but most did not), and I’d take my chances on Thomas over a declining Rogers. Canty’s delayed recovery isn’t good, and Austin’s missed playing and practicing time isn’t either, but neither appear to be dramatic problems at this point. I now look forward to the competition at the position, which will be absolutely fierce.

    And I’m not worried about who wins the spots. They will be just fine.

  8.  jfunk says:

    There’s no way the Giants are moving Tuck to DT, don’t worry. This is just Tuck saying the right thing (“I’ll do whatever they ask of me to help the team.”).

  9.  Dirt says:

    Didn’t we also turn Shockey into a #1 which was used to take Nicks?

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