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New York Giants “Likely” to Move Mathias Kiwanuka Back to Full-Time DE?

March 26th, 2013 at 6:30 AM
By Dan Benton

'Mathias Kiwanuka' photo (c) 2006, Alexa - license: With Osi Umenyiora all but assured to land in Atlanta, and inexperienced depth behind starters Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN reports the New York Giants are "likely" to move Mathias Kiwanuka back to full-time defensive end.

The main concern with moving Kiwi back to full-time DE is the lack of playing time he'd receive if he's not also taking snaps at linebacker.

With the Giants also "likely" moving towards a less frequent rotation amongst defensive ends, moving a starting linebacker to reserve defensive end seems like a rather large gamble. But as Michael Eisen of recently pointed out, it all depends on what Big Blue values most. Do they feel he's better suited as a starting linebacker or a part-time defensive end?

With Keith Rivers poised to take over at strongside linebacker and Dan Connor assuming the role in the middle, it would leave only Jacquian Williams to man the weakside position. And behind him? A blank slate. And therein lies the problem.

Although the Giants place tremendous value on their ability to rush the passer, and although Kiwi is a more natural DE than LB, weakening one position to strengthen the depth at another seems like a lateral move at best. And given their interest in players like Dwight Freeney and Dave Tollefson, as well as their belief that Adewale Ojomo is going to turn into a solid player, indications would be that Kiwi is staying right where he is (at linebacker).

Of course, that all could change. What the Giants do over the remaining weeks of free agency and then in the 2013 NFL Draft will dictate what happens with Kiwi. If they stock up on more defensive ends, he'll remain where he is. If they instead target linebackers, chances are he'll move back to defensive end. Fact is, right now, there's really no way of knowing.


Tags: Adewale Ojomo, Dan Connor, Dave Tollefson, Dwight Freeney, Football, Jacquian Williams, Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck, Keith Rivers, Mathias Kiwanuka, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Osi Umenyiora

15 Responses to “New York Giants “Likely” to Move Mathias Kiwanuka Back to Full-Time DE?”

  1.  JimStoll says:

    am I mistaken or did not Kiwi’s snaps drop dramatically last season given that, as a LB, he can’t cover receivers?
    I thought I saw someplace where he was down to about 38 snaps a game
    if he is to move to DE, it would seem the question ought to be whether he or Tuck becomes the back-up

    • Dan BentonDan Benton says:

      Not sure his snaps dropped so much as he was eventually used as LB, DT and LB toward the end of the year. He was sort of a band aid at the end.

      •  Hanshi says:

        The debate continues! I read Ohm’s article yesterday and thought of Dan’s argument.

        • Dan BentonDan Benton says:

          Unless they sign/draft a starting linebacker, I still don’t see the sense in it. With Rivers injury prone and J-Will still lacking significant experience, they are very thin at LB across the board. Why make it thinner to beef up reserve DEs?

          •  Hanshi says:

            The more I think of it, I think he sees most of his snaps at DE but moves back to LB if there’s an injury. Poor guy, they should just keep him in one spot but they won’t.

  2.  JBeast says:

    Nice article! Moving Kiwi to DE wouldn’t change my mind from drafting a DE that fell to us I.e. Werner because we will need a replacement for Tuck in a year. Also it prob means the giants would have to find a LB in the draft. A rotation of JPP Tuck Kiwi and Werner would be awesome. The adding a talent like Aurther Brown in the second would be nice.

    •  Hanshi says:

      Arthur Brown in the second would be nice but not likely. I really thinkhe goes late 1st, very early 2nd.

  3.  BillyS says:

    Kiwi is the Joba Chamberlain of the NFL. I hate how he is constantly being moved back and forth. I don’t think he’s terrible at LB, and he’s made some good plays, but I truly feel he’d be best served at DE. I still want to draft another end, though. But we also need a LB in the worst way. If Werner fell to us I would be ecstatic, but I’m also tempted to go after Ogletree if he’s available. I can’t stand the off-field issues, but there’s no denying he’s talented.

    • Dan BentonDan Benton says:

      That’s hilarious because that was my EXACT thought, too.

      •  Hanshi says:

        Come on, no wiggle room here. About a week ago, you and I were discussing this and you said no way Kiwi goes back to DE.

        • Dan BentonDan Benton says:

          I still say he’s not going back to DE based on this current roster. If the National Football Post is accurate and the Giants are eliminating a heavy DE rotation and using Tuck/JPP full-time, it makes no sense to thin linebacker, decrease Kiwi’s snap and stunt the growth of someone like Ojomo, who would also see less snaps as a result of this transition. All while putting the LB eggs in the basket of Rivers, Connor and J-Will.

          •  clever username says:

            we all know that Tuck can’t play every snap anymore, but unless we sign or draft a couple more LB’s that can play right away, Kiwi will have to stay at LB. we have other guys ready to step up at DE (like Ojomo), and we’re way too thin at LB to take away a potential starter there.

  4.  fanfor55years says:

    If Kiwi plays SAM he’s a two-down linebacker, at best. I suspect we’ll see even more three-safety looks in 2013 than we did previously, so in many series Kiwi would be a one-down linebacker. If he plays DE then his snaps will depend upon how well Tuck comes back from two lousy seasons. If Tuck becomes “himself” in a contract year then Kiwi is going to only get about a third or a fourth of the defensive snaps as he subs for Tuck and JPP. If, on the other hand, Tuck is the Tuck of 2011-2012 then Kiwi should eventually displace him as the starter at DE.

    But the odds are that either way Mathias Kiwanuka would not be best utilized in this defense.

    The only way he becomes best used is if Fewell wakes up and starts making use of both Kiwi and JPP by allowing each to move around and stand at the LOS so the offense cannot easily get their blocking assignments and Kiwi can then either drop back a step to play as the SAM or rush the QB directly or by looping into gaps in the blocking scheme. Kiwi is too good a player to be used as little as he might be in 2013. When you have a talent like his it is the job of the coaches to find a way to use that talent as frequently as possible. To date, Coughlin and Fewell have not done so.

    Hell, if they can’t figure anything else out give the guy a shot at playing MIKE on occasion. Why not? He is certainly smart enough to call the defense and read the offense. This is a guy who they need to have on the field as frequently as possible. The coaches are failing him and the team by not getting that done. The fact that they had Kiwanuka sitting on the sideline a lot last season while Chase Blackburn, Rocky Bernard, and Justin Tuck were taking plenty of his snaps was a disgrace.

    •  clever username says:

      how quickly they all forgot that he was one of the biggest unsung hero’s of the 2011 season. he played great all year and was one of the main reasons the D was able to turn it around down the stretch. he struggled a bit at times last season, but i think a lot of that has to do with what you touched on regarding the reduction in snaps.

  5.  giankees says:

    Kiwi’s position will be dictated by who we draft and or who else we pick up before the season cause teams will still have to cut people b4 the season starts. For instance if we go dt or lb in the early rounds he will prbably be de. But if we go 1st rd de than I see thatvthere will be less of a need with the depth and starters we have now. I am wondering if reese will go against the grain and go with ogletree. Or if he reaaly is looking at grabbing an off lineman early. Not sure he would but if someone drops and he has his eyes on someone yhat could still be around in the 2nd like okafor he may go against the grain.

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