For Austin and Tracy, the time is now

August, 15, 2013
8/15/13
3:00
PM ET
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.
Kieran Darcy is an ESPNNewYork.com staff writer. He joined ESPN in August 2000 after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, where he played four years of JV basketball.
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