Mathias Kiwanuka is moving back to defensive end exclusively in 2013. Can that boost Kiwanuka, who seemed missing in action much of the time in 2012. Let's continue our look at the 90-man roster the New York Giants will bring to training camp by focusing on Kiwanuka, who is entering his eighth season with the Giants.
2012 Season In Review
Truth be told, 2012 was not a great season for Kiwanuka. Whether playing outside linebacker, which he did during the first half of the season, or defensive end, where he spent his time the second half of the season, Kiwanuka had very little impact on the Giants' defense. He had only three sacks and 37 tackles, down from 3.5 and 84 the season before. Kiwanuka played only 539 snaps, a clear indication he was not nearly as important to the defense as he was in 2011, when he played 978 defensive snaps. Kiwanuka's Pro Football Focus score in 2012 was an unsightly -8.4.
For the first time in several seasons Kiwanuka will move exclusively to defensive end, his original and natural position. Defensive line coach Robert Nunn said the switch isn't because of the loss of Osi Umenyiora or the back surgery undergone by Jason Pierre-Paul, but because Kiwanuka "wasn't really comfortable" with what the Giants asked him to do at linebacker last season.
The injury to Pierre-Paul could mean Kiwanuka opens the season as the starting right end. Even if he doesn't he will be part of a rotation at defensive end that needs to put more pressure on the quarterback than the Giants generated last season. Kiwanuka's career high in sacks came in 2008 when he registered eight. The Giants will hope he can match or exceed that number while playing with his hand on the ground full time.