Saturday, August 7, 2010
Mathias Kiwanuka playing some LB
By Ohm Youngmisuk ESPNNewYork.com
ALBANY, N.Y. -- One week into training camp, New York Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell has begun tinkering with all of his new toys.
Fewell has tried using four defensive ends on the front line on certain passing situations and on Saturday he unveiled another interesting look. Defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka moved around as a linebacker before standing up and rushing the quarterback.
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Kiwanuka says he is still a defensive end, and he's competing for a starting spot against Osi Umenyiora. But the versatile defensive player doesn't mind spending some time in the linebackers' meeting room and moving around behind the front line.
"We'll see how far we go with it," said Kiwanuka, who has been rotating as the starting right defensive end with Umenyiora. "Perry said he will try to use everybody to their strengths and get a lot of different matchups, a lot of different looks. I love it, put me on the field, I will make a play."
The package dubbed "Big Base" has Kiwanuka lined up at strongside linebacker with weakside linebacker Michael Boley coming off the field. On a few snaps, the front consisted of Justin Tuck and Chris Canty at defensive end with Barry Cofield and Rocky Bernard inside. Umenyiora watched practice because he's practicing only once a day while managing a hip issue.
"It's another one of those personnel combinations," head coach Tom Coughlin said.
Fewell has tried some snaps with all defensive ends up front with Tuck, Kiwanuka, Umenyiora and rookie Jason Pierre-Paul.
Now he is looking at using Kiwanuka and maybe defensive end Dave Tollefson, who attended linebackers meetings with Kiwanuka, at some linebacker as well.
Kiwanuka is one of the more versatile players on the team. The 6-foot-5 defensive end started at linebacker in 2007 and played 10 games there until he broke his leg. The following season, he was a linebacker in camp until Umenyiora suffered a season-ending knee injury. Kiwanuka was moved back to defensive end and he entered this season hoping to start opposite Tuck in the final year of his contract.
Kiwanuka said he is willing to do whatever the team asks of him even though he wants to remain at defensive end. It certainly helps that he knows the terminology having played the position before.
"I have always said from the beginning whatever this defense needs me to do, I am willing to do it," Kiwanuka said. "Camp is a chance to work on everything we might need during season and depending on how I perform at the position and how the defense looks, maybe we will use it more, maybe we will use it less. Right now I'm excited about it."
Ohm Youngmisuk covers the Giants for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow him on Twitter.More from ESPNNewYork.com »