- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Damontre Moore is just getting started on his third season with the New York Giants. The team's 2013 third-round pick missed the start of the offseason program because he went back to school at Texas A&M to continue working toward his degree. Moore took seven classes during the most recent term ("Three As, three Bs and a C," he proudly offered.) and has 25 more hours to go. He hopes to complete those in one or more of the next few offseasons.
However, Moore is back with the Giants this week for organized team activities and with a positive outlook on the season to come.
"New coach, new opportunity," Moore said after Wednesday's practice. "Same old goals."
The Giants hired Steve Spagnuolo to replace Perry Fewell as defensive coordinator this past offseason, and Moore believes the move is a good thing for him and his role with the team. Moore struggled to find the field consistently in games during his first two seasons, mainly because the coaching staff didn't believe it could trust him to know and execute the schemes without making too many mistakes. Moore has been an impact player on special teams, but his inconsistency in practice, according to Fewell and head coach Tom Coughlin, held them back from offering him more opportunities as a defensive player.
Now in his third NFL season -- and still not yet 23 years old -- Moore identifies with the changes Spagnuolo is making to the defense. He has an opportunity to show something and possibly even play his way into a starter's role as a defensive end opposite Jason Pierre-Paul, and he thinks the change in coordinators will help him do that.
"I definitely do," Moore said. "This system is pretty similar to the system I played my first two years in college. So it's just about getting in there and proving myself."
Moore said he got nothing but support from the Giants' coaching staff when he told them he wanted to stay in Texas and take classes this offseason. They all believe he has plenty of time to get up to speed. He had 5.5 sacks in limited duty last season, and his speed and athleticism should help him add to that total this season. He needs to refine his work in the run game and find ways to stay disciplined in order to continue getting opportunities.
But it's worth noting that Moore is five months younger, right now, than the defensive end the Giants drafted in the third round this year. Those who have been frustrated with the pace of his development so far would do well to remember how young he still is -- and not to give up hope that he might yet turn out to be a good NFL player.