New York Giants: Adrian Tracy

Injury report: Tuck practices

August, 20, 2013
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Justin Tuck suffered a mild hamstring injury on Sunday against the Colts but was back on the practice field on Tuesday.

The defensive end worked in practice and appears to be good. The Giants, though, are banged up elsewhere.

Besides Victor Cruz (bruised heel) and David Baas (left MCL sprain) (both on crutches), the Giants have offensive lineman David Diehl wearing a protective cast over his right hand to protect a thumb injury.

Wide receivers Louis Murphy (leg) and Ramses Barden (knee) both did not practice on Tuesday.

"Murphy’s here but he has a sore leg," Tom Coughlin said. "They’re going to do all the tests on him and see what the problem is."

Adrian Tracy also had to leave practice on a cart. Coughlin said he believed Tracy was suffering from dehydration.

Safety Cooper Taylor (hamstring) did return to practice. Wide receivers Jerrel Jernigan and Brandon Collins did practice.

Defensive end Damontre Moore (shoulder), safety Antrel Rolle (ankle) and cornerback Corey Webster (soreness) did not practice. But Rolle moved very well in individual drills and is nearing a return to practice.

Steppin' to the AM: Marvin's chance

August, 16, 2013
Marvin Austin knows how big of a summer this is for him.

The former second-round pick understands this likely could be a make-or-break camp for him.

"I think this is a pivotal point for me in my career," Austin said.

On Sunday, the Giants play the Colts in the second preseason game, and Perry Fewell thinks this could be a nice opportunity for Austin to show what he can do against Indy. He and Adrian Tracy are hoping to show their value with three preseason games left. Read their story here.

In case you missed it: Are the Giants better than they were last season? We debate this and I give my side. And you need to vote here.

Prince had a big summer. He dressed up as one of the Jabbawockeez and proposed to his girlfriend. I've already told him I want to see him show me the Jabbawockeez dance routine he had to learn, and I will record it.

Ahmad Bradshaw is still adjusting to life as an ex-Giant. On Sunday, he will be on the opposite sideline at MetLife Stadium. He describes it as a "strange" feeling.

The 411: The Giants get back to work and practice today from 1:30 p.m.-3:45 p.m. The offensive line unit will sign autographs after practice.

For Austin and Tracy, the time is now

August, 15, 2013
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Marvin Austin and Adrian Tracy got their first taste of NFL game action in 2012.

[+] EnlargeMarvin Austin
AP Photo/Don WrightMarvin Austin
They could see more in 2013 -- or they could be looking for another job.

Austin, a defensive tackle, and Tracy, a defensive end, are currently listed as third-stringers on the New York Giants' depth chart. They could move up, but right now rookies Damontre Moore and Johnathan Hankins are ahead of them.

"I think this is a pivotal point for me in my career," Austin said Wednesday. "I've been hurt the whole time I've been here, and I feel like as long as I can stay healthy, I'll be able to help this team."

Austin was the Giants' second-round draft pick in 2011 out of North Carolina, and the team had high hopes for him. But Austin missed all of his rookie season with a torn pectoral muscle. He played in eight games last year and had eight tackles. He did not record a tackle last Saturday in Pittsburgh as the Giants opened the preseason, but defensive coordinator Perry Fewell liked what he saw nonetheless.

"I thought Marvin performed well," Fewell said earlier this week. "He's progressed each week in practice. He's had a full offseason with the OTAs, which he didn't have in the past. I look for good things from him this Sunday in the football game [against the Indianapolis Colts].

"This will be a really good opportunity for him to showcase his quickness and his abilities. I think Pittsburgh is really a big, massive offensive line. Indy, they'll play more to the strengths of Marvin and so it will be exciting to see him in this game."

[+] EnlargeAdrian Tracy
Jason Bridge/USA TODAY SportsAdrian Tracy
"He's done well this camp rushing the passer," head coach Tom Coughlin said Wednesday, "and we really would like to see him do a good job against the run."

Tracy, the Giants' sixth-round draft pick in 2010 out of William & Mary, was viewed as more of a project. He's small for a defensive end -- 6-foot-2, 245 pounds. But after missing his rookie season due to injury and spending 2011 on the practice squad, Tracy played in all 16 games last year, with 12 tackles and one sack.

"Adrian Tracy is much improved," Fewell said. "I think he's going to contribute to our football team. We're going to be a better defense if he continues to get better."

Tracy has been compared to former Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora, even being given the nickname "Yosi" (short for "Young Osi"). But Moore, the Giants' third-round pick this year, outshone him against the Steelers, with four tackles, a quarterback hit and a blocked punt.

Tracy is still optimistic that he'll get plenty of chances to show what he can do this year.

"We have a wide array of defensive ends, and we all have different skill sets that can be plugged in throughout the season," Tracy said. "And with that, all opportunities are still on the table."

Moore has missed practice time this week with a shoulder contusion, so it sound like both Austin and Tracy will have a big opportunity come Sunday night against the Colts.

They need to take advantage of it.

Steppin' to the AM: Fewell injection

August, 14, 2013

Perry Fewell clearly has spent time in the football lab this offseason.

It appears the Giants' defensive coordinator will be unleashing some different looks this year to improve a unit that finished 31st in total defense last year.

Fewell said "we'll be very multiple" when asked whether he will show some 3-4 looks this season. On Tuesday, reporters got a glimpse of some of the different looks the Giants are tinkering with.

I'm all for this. I like when Fewell gets creative. His three-safety look got his best players on the field when they had Deon Grant. So Fewell will try to do the same this season, and I feel he has a lot of pieces to work with up front, such as Cullen Jenkins, Shaun Rogers, Mathias Kiwanuka, Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck, Adrian Tracy, Damontre Moore, Mike Patterson, and Marvin Austin. And he has enough linebackers to use different combinations there, too. Also, if Terrell Thomas is healthy, Fewell will really have options at each level on defense.

In case you missed it: Antrel Rolle said his ankle injury is a regular sprain, not a high-ankle sprain. Giants Nation can breathe again. Rolle still may need a good chunk of camp to recover, though.

Jane McManus stopped by Giants camp and wrote about the competition at middle linebacker between Mark Herzlich and Dan Connor, and the race at backup QB between David Carr, Curtis Painter and Ryan Nassib.

The 411: The Giants practice from 1:30-3:45 on Wednesday, and the running backs and tight ends are scheduled to sign autographs.

Practice report: Moving defensive parts

August, 13, 2013

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said Tuesday that he'll get creative with his defense this season.

Tuesday's practice gave us a glimpse of what Fewell might have in store for the Giants' opponents:

• In 11's, the Giants opened with DE Mathias Kiwanuka and LB Keith Rivers standing up on the edges. DT Cullen Jenkins, DT Shaun Rogers and DT Linval Joseph were all inside with their hands in the dirt. Mark Herzlich and Spencer Paysinger were at linebacker inside.

• Throughout practice we saw some defensive ends, like Kiwanuka, Justin Tuck, Adrian Tracy and Justin Trattou all drop back on some plays.

• Interestingly, in one 7-on-7 portion, Tuck worked as a linebacker with Paysinger and Jacquian Williams. Tuck dropped back into coverage. Trattou and Tracy also got 7-on-7 snaps with the linebackers.

• Tuck got some snaps at defensive tackle with Jenkins while Kiwanuka and Tracy were at the defensive end spots. In another formation, Tuck, Jenkins and Kiwanuka were up front, and Williams, Paysinger and Tracy were at linebacker. Aaron Ross and Prince Amukamara were on the outside at cornerback with Corey Webster sitting out due to injury. Terrell Thomas covered the slot.

• One passing defense package had Tracy, Tuck, Jenkins and Kiwanuka up front, with Paysinger and Williams at linebacker and Thomas in the slot.

• It wasn't just the starters moving all around. DT Marvin Austin, DT Frank Okam and DE Adewale Ojomo played up front while LB Kyle Bosworth and Trattou were standing up on the edges. Herzlich and LB Etienne Sabino were the inside linebackers. On another squad, DT Johnathan Hankins, DT Mike Patterson and DE Matt Broha were up on the line with LB Aaron Curry and Tracy standing up. Herzlich and Williams were the inside linebackers.

So Fewell is getting creative and seeing what his different pieces can do.

The 411: David Carr hit Ramses Barden in stride on a nice 25-yard pass play on the left sideline. ... Rueben Randle was temporarily shaken up after going for a bomb from Eli Manning with Ryan Mundy and Stevie Brown in coverage. Randle was fine and later caught a bullet pass from Manning over the middle. ... Manning hit Andre Brown on a nice little delayed dump-off pass to counter a blitz and Chris Snee did a good job of getting out as lead blocker. ... Amukamara picked off Manning on a nice play while blanketing Hakeem Nicks. ... Jayron Hosley had a strong practice, picking off Curtis Painter in 7's and breaking up a quick deep pass from Manning to Victor Cruz in single coverage in 11's. ... David Wilson showed some serious speed to the outside in what could've been a big gain in the non-tackling practice. ... Ryan Nassib threw a perfect bomb to Kevin Hardy down the left side for a touchdown on Charles James. ... Justin Pugh got some snaps at first-team right tackle while Brandon Mosley got some snaps at right guard in the team's final hurry-up drill. ... Cruz beat Thomas but couldn't haul in what would've been a touchdown catch and run.

W2W4: Giants at Steelers

August, 9, 2013
The New York Giants begin erasing the memory of last season's failed title defense with their preseason opener in Pittsburgh.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Here's what to watch for:

Start, then finished: The starters will play only about 12 to 15 snaps, according to coach Tom Coughlin. It will be interesting to see if Eli Manning is in sync with Victor Cruz after not having worked with him for much of the offseason, due to Cruz's contract negotiations. The two have appeared to be on the same page during training camp. We also get our first look at how Manning works with tight end Brandon Myers.

Wide receiver Rueben Randle looks to continue an impressive summer. It remains to be seen if Hakeem Nicks will play, as the team has been taking a cautious approach with its star receiver to make sure he will be at full strength for the season.

Wilson! We should get our first glimpse at David Wilson as the starting back. He's expected to start but share carries with Andre Brown. What might be more important than how many yards Wilson racks up is how he blocks on passing plays.

Keep an eye on the linebackers. All three starting jobs are up for grabs. Mark Herzlich will start at middle linebacker with Spencer Paysinger and Keith Rivers on the outside against the Steelers. MLB Dan Connor, OLB Jacquian Williams and OLB Aaron Curry are the second-teamers. Williams should also see snaps as a nickel linebacker.

Competition at defensive tackle. The Giants fortified their defensive interior by adding Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson, drafting Johnathan Hankins and re-signing Shaun Rogers. Jenkins could start at defensive end against the Steelers if Justin Tuck (back) does not play. If that happens, Rogers might join Linval Joseph with the first-team defensive tackles. Keep an eye on Hankins, who has impressed thus far on the second team. Marvin Austin, the 2011 second-round pick, will need to show what he can do this preseason.

Opportunity knocks: There should be plenty of chances for young players such as defensive ends Adrian Tracy and Damontre Moore. Several Giants, including Jason Pierre-Paul (back), won't play. Right guard Chris Snee (hip) and cornerback Terrell Thomas (knee) just came off the PUP list this week and will sit. First-round pick Justin Pugh (concussion) will also be out. Tackle James Brewer (head), safety Cooper Taylor (hamstring) and running back Ryan Torain (head) also might not suit up.

Practice report: Myers is 'The Finisher'

August, 4, 2013
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Brandon Myers delivered his biggest play yet in camp to the delight of his teammates on offense.

[+] EnlargeEli Manning
AP Photo/Seth WenigEli Manning delivered a 50-yard pass to end Sunday's practice.
On the first play of the Giants' two-minute drill to end practice, Myers slipped behind the defense, took advantage of blown coverage and caught a perfect touch pass from Eli Manning down the seam for an over 50-yard gain. With the goal of the drill being for the offense to get into field goal range, the Giants ended practice since Myers was well into field goal range and heading toward the goal line when safety Stevie Brown caught him.

While the offense was delighted as offensive players cheered on Myers after the catch, Tom Coughlin was less than thrilled with his defense to give up a monster gain on the first play.

"Yeah, well that’s not supposed to," Coughlin said about the drill lasting one play. "I’m trying to do the drill and get all we can out of it."

Coughlin liked what he saw out of Myers, who was signed in free agency to replace Martellus Bennett.

"Nice adjustment," he said of Myers' catch. "He threw it obviously where the defender wasn’t ... I thought it was a radical adjustment because of the wind and he made the catch there. Better yet though, he reacted the way he should react as he read the coverage."

Getting defensive: The Giants had some interesting personnel combos on the field on Sunday. With the team working on a lot of third-down situations, Perry Fewell tinkered with his defense.

At times, we saw one defensive end like Justin Tuck standing up while two defensive tackles and another defensive end lined up with their hands in the dirt. With other units, defensive ends like Adrian Tracy or Justin Trattou were standing up on some plays as well. I always like when Fewell gets creative. The formation almost looked like a hybrid 4-3/3-4 look. As NFC East blogger Dan Graziano pointed out recently, the Giants may tinker with some 3-4 looks this season.

In several nickel packages, LB Jacquian Williams saw numerous snaps, some with Spencer Paysinger. In other packages, Fewell took a look at Mark Herzlich and Keith Rivers together.

On the play that Manning hooked up with Myers for the big gain to end practice, the Giants had Tracy and Kiwanuka on the ends and Tuck and Cullen Jenkins inside on the front line with Dan Connor and Williams at linebacker.

It was hard to keep track of all the shuffling of personnel with the first, second and third teams.

"There were a lot of adjustments according to the personnel that is going on the field with third down," Coughlin said.

The 411: The Giants worked on several running plays as well today, including one in which Andre Brown took a direct snap... Prince Amukamara had a nice day with a breakup on a pass and an interception off Manning for a pick-six in 7-on-7s... Manning was later nearly picked by Antrel Rolle in the same 7's... Williams collided with Laron Scott, the scout team returner, on a special teams kickoff return rep and would've blasted Scott if it tackling were allowed... James Brewer, who got some reps with the first team at right tackle, held his own in protection on Mathias Kiwanuka on one rush... Tuck and the defense got good pressure on the quarterback on a few snaps. Tracy also would have had a sack on David Carr on one play... OL Selvish Capers had a terrific block on Rivers on one play.

Giants react to Cooper's racial slur

August, 1, 2013

The Giants reacted to Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper's recent use of a racial slur and his subsequent apology.

“It’s a really unfortunate situation,” Giants cornerback Aaron Ross said Thursday. “I think that word is kind of taken out of society these days. It’s one of those words you don’t want to use. That’s pretty much the Eagles’ problem that they have to deal with. But it’s really unfortunate it came out.

“We don’t have that problem over here. And hopefully we’ll never have that problem.”

Giants defensive end Adrian Tracy said he could see Riley’s words adding fuel to the Eagles wide receiver’s opponents.

“I love the nature of football because I feel like all your aggression, no matter what your emotions are, you can get out in a positive manner and not be arrested for it. You may be fined, but you won’t get arrested for it,” Tracy said. “People play with anger all the time and this is an outlet for us to do so, so if people are angry and within the confines of the rules express their anger, I don’t think he’s going to be the only player, I’m sure there’s little lists that everybody has.”

Tracy added: “Nobody is perfect, everybody has done something that others feel offended by. For you to hold a grudge or feel strongly toward a person for a mistake they made is not only going to set yourself backwards but the whole team chemistry.”

Said Giants punter Steve Weatherford: “It’s obviously a black eye for him and a black eye for that franchise. It’s disappointing for him because we’re role models at this point in our career and we have a pedestal to inspire and motivate. So that was unfortunate.”

Said Eagles running back LeSean McCoy: “I forgive him. We’ve been friends for a long time. But in a situation like this, you really find out about someone. Just on a friendship level, I can’t really respect someone like that.”

Camp preview: Defensive line

July, 22, 2013
Justin TuckJim McIsaac/Getty ImagesJustin Tuck did everything to stay strong this offseason but walk on hot coals. Wait, never mind ...
We're counting down to training camp with a look at the Giants, position by position.

Position: Defensive line

Projected starters: DE Jason Pierre-Paul (injured), DE Justin Tuck, DT Linval Joseph, DT Cullen Jenkins

Projected reserves: DE Mathias Kiwanuka, DT Mike Patterson, DE Adrian Tracy, DE Damontre Moore, DT Shaun Rogers, DT Johnathan Hankins, DE Justin Trattou, DE Adewale Ojomo, DT Marvin Austin, DT Markus Kuhn, DE Matt Broha, DT Frank Okam

New faces: Jenkins, Patterson, Moore, Hankins, Okam

Going, going, gone: DE Osi Umenyiora, DT Chris Canty, DT Rocky Bernard

Player to watch: Pierre-Paul. The team and fans will have to hold their breath until JPP returns healthy from offseason back surgery. His projected timetable for recovery takes him right up to the season opener. Kiwanuka is starting at defensive end until JPP is healthy and could potentially be the starter against Dallas in the opener. If Pierre-Paul doesn’t return to full strength later this season, the defense will be dealt a mighty blow. The Giants likely will take every precaution with the foundation of the defense. In order to contend, the Giants need their best defensive player to be healthy and dominant again.

Potential strength: The run defense was a weakness last season as the Giants finished 25th against the run and 31st in total defense. But GM Jerry Reese beefed up his front line by adding Jenkins and Patterson, re-signing Rogers and drafting Hankins. With Austin and Kuhn, as well, the Giants will have some serious competition at DT in camp. If Jenkins pans out the way they envision and the Giants can slow down opposing running backs, that will be a major start for a defense looking to rebound from a disappointing season.

Potential weakness: It’s hard to believe it, but in a worst-case scenario, the Giants’ pass rush could be a weakness. What if JPP doesn’t return to form after back surgery? What if Tuck doesn’t regain his old dominant level of play in a contract year? What if the Giants miss Osi more than they think they will and a young player (such as like Tracy, Moore or Ojomo) doesn’t emerge as an extra rusher? The Giants must get back to harassing quarterbacks and establishing an intimidating pass rush. If not, it could be another long season for Perry Fewell’s defense.

Wild card: Tuck. This is a big year for the defensive captain. If Tuck has a monster year in a contract year, the Giants' defense will simply be better. Tuck has certainly worked hard this offseason and is in tremendous shape. He even tried improving his mental game by seeing motivational speaker and coach Tony Robbins and walking over hot coals. With JPP’s back on the mend, Tuck can give the Giants a major boost by getting back to his double-digit sacks level.

Tell us what you think of the Giants' defensive line entering the season.

Coach talk: Nunn on defensive line

July, 10, 2013
With the Giants off until training camp, we're periodically taking a look at what the coaches are saying about how their positions looked this offseason in OTAs.

Today, we look at Robert Nunn's thoughts on the defensive line.

Young guns: Osi Umenyiora's departure and Jason Pierre-Paul's rehab will allow the Giants to take a long look at some of the younger pass rushers they have behind Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka.

[+] EnlargeRobert Nunn
AP Photo/Scott BoehmGiants defensive line coach Robert Nunn will rely on some younger pass rushers this year.
Adrian Tracy, third-round pick Damontre Moore, Justin Trattou and Adewale Ojomo will compete to be a part of the defensive end rotation.

Tom Coughlin said he was impressed at times with Tracy and Moore in OTAs and minicamp.

"Damontre has come in and has shown flash in some good things," Nunn said during OTAs. "He has a long way to go -- a lot to learn in a short time."

"I'm really pleased with the way Adrian Tracy [has progressed]," the defensive line coach later added. "He is further along right now than he has ever been in his career at this time. He has got to keep moving forward and come in here in great shape, which I know he will. He has proven, as a special teams player, that he has got to go out there and be consistent playing the run and pass on Sundays on defense."

Ojomo's goal: Ojomo was one of the surprises of last year’s training camp. An impressive preseason earned him a spot on the roster. But his inconsistency kept him from playing last year.

"He's got to do other things than just get after the quarterback," Nunn said of the power rusher. "When everybody sees that we're not getting after the quarterback, there's a lot of factors involved. I am not going to get into it too much but bringing in a guy that is just a pass rusher, that wasn't going to be the answer.

"That's the thing that he has got to do, is get more consistent with other things, playing the run, understanding what we are doing with game plans and then helping the special teams. He has got to do those things to get a helmet on Sundays."

Versatile Cullen: Nunn says defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins, the team's biggest defensive addition in the offseason, can be utilized inside to stop the run and on the outside as a pass rusher if need be.

"Cullen has played out there," Nunn said. "When I was at Green Bay with Cullen, we used him inside and outside. And I would feel comfortable to move him around a little bit in emergency situations."

Tell us what you think about what Nunn is saying about the DL going into camp.

'Yosi' ready to seize opportunity

June, 5, 2013
With Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul absent from a voluntary OTA last week, Adrian Tracy was elevated to the first team.

And Tracy was happy for the opportunity to work with Mathias Kiwanuka as the starting defensive ends in practice last Thursday.

[+] EnlargeAdrian Tracy
Jim O'Connor/USA TODAY SportsAdrian Tracy has an opportunity to prove he is ready for a bigger role in the Giants' defense.
With Pierre-Paul sidelined now for an expected 12 weeks due to back surgery, Kiwanuka will clearly benefit the most and is likely to move up to the first team with Tuck.

But Tracy will see plenty of chances to prove that he is ready for a much bigger role. The young defensive end nicknamed "Yosi" -- as in Young Osi -- hopes he can help fill the void left behind by Osi Umenyiora’s departure to Atlanta and serve as the third defensive end now while JPP is sidelined.

"It is big not only for me but for everybody," Tracy said last week of the opportunity to move up with Umenyiora gone. "Somebody of that stature leaves for whatever reason, an opportunity always opens. Whoever seizes it will step in that place and hopefully that is me this year."

Tracy was drafted in the sixth round in 2010, the same year Pierre-Paul was selected 15th overall by the Giants.

But Tracy, who was converted to linebacker as a rookie, spent 2010 on injured reserve with an elbow and biceps injury. In 2011, Tracy was a practice squad player as the Giants made their Super Bowl run.

This past season, Tracy saw his first playing time, albeit sparingly. Rotating in behind a stacked rotation of Tuck, Pierre-Paul, Umenyiora and Kiwanuka, Tracy had 12 tackles, one sack and one forced fumble in 16 games.

His best game came in the Giants’ 26-3 rout in San Francisco in Week 6. Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell threw a wrinkle in his game plan by utilizing Tracy from different spots on the field. And Tracy responded with four tackles and one sack.

Tracy believes he will be able to show more of what he can do with more opportunities like that Niners game.

"I am very confident in my skills and my abilities," he said. "And I think the coaches recognize my versatility and what I can bring to the table."

Tracy will not be the only defensive end to get a chance to show what he can do. Third-round pick Damontre Moore, 20, collected total of 26.5 sacks in three seasons at Texas A&M, including 12.5 sacks this past season.

Adewale Ojomo turned heads last summer in training camp and will certainly get a shot to do the same again this summer. And Justin Trattou is hoping to show what he can do when healthy.

"There are some flashes," head coach Tom Coughlin said of what he saw from the young pass rushers in OTA last week. "Some good things are happening. He has shown some good ability to get off on the snap ... Tracy, Moore and a couple of these guys."

There’s always a chance the Giants will go out and sign a veteran defensive end, but they may want to first see what they have in Tracy and their other young pass rushers.

"Anytime you have an opportunity, you got to take it," Tracy said of getting to work with the first team last week. "Anytime you have an opportunity and you don’t, somebody else will take it.

"For me personally," Tracy continued. "If you give me an opportunity, I will take it and make the most of it."

Analysis: JPP has back surgery

June, 4, 2013
Jason Pierre-PaulAP Photo/Evan PinkusThe Giants won't rush Jason Pierre-Paul (back surgery) in training camp.
Jason Pierre-Paul underwent back surgery Tuesday morning in Los Angeles.

The defensive end underwent a microdiscectomy to repair a herniated disc in his lower back. Dr. Robert Watkins performed the procedure at Marina Del Rey Hospital in California. The team expects Pierre-Paul's recovery and rehabilitation to be approximately 12 weeks.

ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter reported that doctors believe Pierre-Paul should be 100 percent for this coming season and will be ready for the season opener on Sept. 8.

“My back has been bothering me for a while, and even last season I played through some back issues,” Pierre-Paul said in a statement. “The treatment I’ve been doing has helped manage the issue, but this procedure is going to get me fully healthy and there should be no more pain. I’m going to do everything the doctors tell me to do during my rehab so I can be back playing the game I love at a high level as quickly as possible.”

Pierre-Paul had been experiencing lower back pain "the past couple months" according to Ronnie Barnes, senior vice president of medical services for the Giants.

"He has managed the discomfort with treatment and core strengthening exercises," Barnes said. "Last week, he was examined by Drs. Russell Warren and Frank Cammisa at the Hospital for Special Surgery. Both felt this procedure was the most prudent course of action. Dr. Watkins, after examining Jason yesterday, agreed. We expect a full and complete recovery."

Nevertheless, anytime “surgery” and “back” are mentioned in the same sentence involving your star defensive end, it gives you serious pause. Outside of Eli Manning, Pierre-Paul is arguably the next player the Giants can least afford to lose. They have other defensive ends. But JPP is that rare pass-rusher who can dominate a game on his own when playing at his best -- just ask Dallas -- and he's the team's future.

Pierre-Paul has a history of back issues from his college days and labored through back pain in his rookie camp in 2010. His back issues flare up from time to time. Osi Umenyiora started a game against Washington last year for Pierre-Paul, who came off the bench in that game due to back pain.

When healthy, Pierre-Paul can dominate, as he did in 2011 when he had 16.5 sacks and earned a Pro Bowl selection. But last season, JPP struggled to get 6.5 sacks. His total tackles also dipped from 86 in 2011 to 66. GM Jerry Reese said Pierre-Paul needs to learn how to deal with double-teams, and he wants his young star to sit down with Michael Strahan to learn from the ex-Giant's vast experience.

A source told Schefter that Pierre-Paul played with the back injury last season and received multiple epidural injections. That might explain the drastic dip in his numbers.

Head coach Tom Coughlin even wondered whether Pierre-Paul played a little too heavy last season.

“I was always in great shape," Pierre-Paul said in April. "I'm still the same size this year. People say I look slimmer but I'm the same weight.

"I was not big last year," he added. "I was 273 and I'm 274 now. If they want me to lose weight, I can do it that fast."

What's next: If all goes well, Pierre-Paul could be back midway through the final week of August, giving him time to get ready for the Sept. 8 opener against Dallas.

It’s a good bet the Giants will take it slow in training camp, as they should, with their future franchise player.

Mathias Kiwanuka, who has played a hybrid linebacker/defensive end role, is expected to move to defensive end full time in Pierre-Paul’s absence, joining Justin Tuck on the first team .

The Giants will find out quickly what they have in some unproven pass-rushers. Adrian Tracy, third-round pick Damontre Moore, Adewale Ojomo and Justin Trattou will show what they can do, beginning with veteran’s minicamp next week.

Tracy figures to move up to the third defensive end spot that belonged to Umenyiora. Remember, Tracy was nicknamed "Yosi" -- as in young Osi -- by the other pass-rushers. But Moore, Ojomo and Trattou could make it a competition with an impressive summer.

Ojomo turned heads during last year’s training camp and he’ll have even more chances to earn playing time. The 6-5, 255-pound Moore had 26.5 sacks in three seasons at Texas A&M, including 12.5 sacks this past season. But he is only 20 and needs to get bigger, according to Coughlin.

The Giants might sign a veteran defensive end for insurance -- old friend Dave Tollefson could be an option.

Moore ready to heed Tuck's message

May, 16, 2013
When Damontre Moore first arrived to the Giants facility last week, the rookie defensive end found a note in his locker stall.

The note was from Justin Tuck. The defensive captain had a message for the team’s newest quarterback-sacking prospect: "I hope you are ready to work."

[+] EnlargeDamontre Moore
AP Photo/Julio CortezRookie Damontre Moore could be used in a hybrid linebacker/defensive end role.
"They need to know that this year has to be our best year," Tuck said of the Giants’ second and third-round picks DT Johnathan Hankins and Moore. "I don’t want to call them our weakest link but they are the new guys so they don’t know our system, how we get down. So right now they are our weakest link and you are only as strong as your weakest link."

Let the first lesson begin for the young Moore. The team drafted the productive defensive end out of Texas A&M to augment a pass rush that stalled out last season and learn from veterans like Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul and Mathias Kiwanuka.

And while Tom Coughlin likes what he has seen out of Moore on game film, the head coach said Moore needs to improve on his practice habits leading up to game days.

Moore, 20, is very young and the Giants are ready to mold him into their next pass rushing prodigy.

"That wasn’t one of my strong fortes," Moore admitted of his practice habits. "But I’m here to work and I’m trying to make my weakness my strong point. It’s nothing but motivation and good criticism so for a talented guy to point out my flaws like that and tell me what I need to work on, all that means is I need to go in there and work on it that much harder."

The Giants loved what they saw out of the 6-5, 255-pound Moore on Saturdays. He had a total of 26.5 sacks in three seasons at Texas A&M, including 12.5 sacks this past season. He was used in a "joker" role in which he rushed standing up as a hybrid linebacker while also rushing as a defensive end. It’s no wonder why Moore grew up emulating Dallas’ DeMarcus Ware.

Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell has used Kiwanuka in a hybrid linebacker/defensive end role and Moore appears to fit the build for the future.

At the moment, the Giants have Pierre-Paul and Tuck as starters and Kiwanuka could assume Osi Umenyiora’s role as the third pass rusher. Adrian Tracy, Adewale Ojomo and Justin Trattou will compete for the fourth end spot.

Certainly Moore, who could play on special teams, would like to be in that mix as well when the Giants go to their NASCAR four defensive end package.

"That gives me a lot of excitement," Moore said of being surrounded by experienced and successful pass rushers. "I’m just sitting here trying to soak it all in. I’m ready to get to work and hopefully a little bit of that rubs off on me and I can have a little success."

That’s certainly what Tuck wants to hear. He also wants the rookies to develop thick skin because the ultra-competitive defensive line room is no place for mentally-fragile rookies.

"I want those guys to come in with the attitude knowing that this year is all about working," Tuck said. "It is not about what we have done or haven’t done. It is a brand new year and instill in them early that this team is going to work our ass off to get back to where we feel we should be -- a consistent football team that makes the playoffs and wins the last game."
We're taking a closer look at each draft pick and what the Giants' brass is saying about the newcomers.

Third-round pick: DE Damontre Moore, Texas A&M

Here's our Rapid Reaction and what the Giants are saying about him:

[+] EnlargeDamontre Moore
Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY SportsDamontre Moore
Marc Ross: "Some people may have gotten scared off at the combine when he ran so slow and didn't lift that well. A Terrell Suggs, a Trent Cole, a Derrick Burgess ran really slow but played fast on tape. Things off the field that people may not have been comfortable with where he just needs to grow up. He's only 20. He needs to be a professional a little bit. He's a good kid who loves to play. Those may have been a couple of reasons [why he dropped]. ... He interviewed OK for us. But when you see a guy run 4.9 when guys are running 4.5s and 4.6s, people jump all over that number as opposed to the 12.5 sacks and 21 tackles-for-loss numbers.

"[Texas A&M] had a special joker role for him. He had his hand on the ground, he stood up. Our coaches are excited to use him in different ways. You've seen some of our guys do that hybrid role. [Mathias Kiwanuka has done both]. He has a skill set to do a little bit of both. But he won’t be strictly a linebacker for us. It'll be more of a hybrid role."

Tom Coughlin: "Damontre Moore, has great production -– 12.5 sacks [and] 26.5 over his career, 21 TFLs; a very, very good effort player on Saturday [in college]. He has some issues, I think, during the week, which we will have to address in terms of preparation and practice mentality, that type of thing. But he is young, just 20 years old.

"He has outstanding quickness. You look at his 40 time and you are going to say, well, it is not what you would think. But there was a big split in those times in Indianapolis and he does play faster than the [40] time you are probably going to refer back to. But his quickness and his shuttles were outstanding. So from me to you, he is as quick as it is."

Jerry Reese: "The defensive end [Moore], he is sacks. In three years he got 26.5 sacks, had 12.5 this past season. We were a little surprised he was up there that long with his sack production, but you can't pass guys with that kind of sack production so it was a decision we made to go and go get him right there with that pick.

"I think Kiwi has a bigger frame. Their lower body is probably similar, but obviously Kiwi has been around for a while. He's definitely matured and filled out, but there could be comparisons drawn if you look at their lower body. ... The thing I like, he plays hard. Guys that play hard, you can coach them to do the rest. He plays with a nasty streak and we think he's got a tremendous upside."

Analysis: Sounds as if Moore still needs to mature mentally as well as physically, but that is fine since the Giants are one team that can afford to wait. They have Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul, Kiwanuka, Adrian Tracy, Adewale Ojomo and Justin Trattou at defensive end for this season. Moore may have to wait until 2014 to make a real impact, but he could come in and contribute on special teams and even perhaps see a few snaps as the fourth defensive end if he has a good showing in camp.

Tell us what you think about the Giants' newest defensive end and what your hopes are for "Da'Monster."

Reaction: Giants take DE Moore

April, 26, 2013
Damontre MooreThomas Campbell-USA TODAY SportsThe Giants took a chance on Texas A&M defensive end Damontre Moore.
PLAYER: Damontre Moore
POSITION: Defensive end

The Giants continued to draft reinforcements for the defensive line by taking defensive end Damontre Moore. Moore was considered to have second-round talent and the Giants got him a round later.

With Osi Umenyiora gone, the Giants needed a defensive end to potentially contribute in the rotation this year but one who might be able to make an impact next season and provide insurance in case Justin Tuck doesn’t return next season.

THE 411: The Giants love Moore's production. In his three seasons at Texas A&M, Moore had 26.5 sacks -– fifth among active NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision players. He had 12.5 sacks and 85 tackles last season. Nicknamed “DaMonster,” Moore started off his career at Texas A&M sharing the “joker” position with Von Miller, playing some 3-4 rush linebacker and 4-3 defensive end. But Jerry Reese says Moore is an edge rusher.

Moore is young. He’s just 20-years-old and Reese said Moore has a lower frame similar to Mathias Kiwanuka. Described to be very athletic in space.

Moore was arrested for marijuana possession in 2011. The Giants like Moore’s energy in games, calling him an effort player in games. But Tom Coughlin said Moore’s practice habits need improvement. May need to mature and ran a slow time (4.9) at the combine.

HOW HE FITS IN: The Giants say he might be able to come in and compete for a spot in the rotation of pass rushers. The Giants like to use four defensive ends and perhaps Moore might compete with Adrian Tracy, Adewale Ojomo and Justin Trattou for the fourth defensive end spot. Jason Pierre-Paul and Tuck will start and Kiwanuka could move into Umenyiora’s role as the third defensive end.

PROJECTED IMPACT: Reese believes Moore can play special teams initially and create competition to crack the pass-rushing rotation. Marc Ross, the director of college scouting, says the coaches are excited about his versatility to potentially play a hybrid role. Biggest impact may come in 2014 and beyond, considering his age.

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING: “The defensive end, he is sacks,” Reese said. “You think about him in three years, he has 26.5 sacks. He is an edge rusher, tremendous upside. Too good a value for us to pass up on. Why did he slip? I am not sure. Early on people had him ranked pretty high. We were a little surprised that he stayed up there that long with that kind of sack production. You can’t pass on guys with that much pass production.”