The offseason saw the New York Giants shed many proud veterans who had been part of their recent championship teams. One of the few veterans with ties to both recent Super Bowl teams who remains is defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka, who is back despite an unproductive 2013 season. Let's look at Kiwanuka today as we continue player-by-player profiles of the 90-man roster the Giants will bring to training camp on July 21.
2013 Season In Review
Kiwanuka was second on the Giants in sacks last season with six, but that hides the truth that the 31-year-old eight-year veteran really was awful in 2013. A move back to his natural defensive end spot full time in the hopes that the move would unleash Kiwanuka's play-making potential did not really pan out. Kiwanuka finished with a defense-worst -31.2 Pro Football Focus rating. The only other Giant with a double-digit negative number was Jon Beason at -11.0. Daniel Te'o-Nesheim of Tampa Bay (-32.5) was the only 4-3 defensive end in the league to post a score worse than Kiwanuka.
2014 Season Outlook
The question for Kiwanuka in 2014 is simple -- does he have anything left in the tank to give the Giants? Kiwanuka wasn't very good in 2012 or 2013. Splitting his time between linebacker and defensive end in 2012 he had a -6.8 PFF grade. He really has not been an impact player for the Giants since suffering a season-ending neck injury in the third game of the 2010 season. The Giants are counting on Kiwanuka to provide leadership, stability and be at least a competent piece in a defensive end rotation that includes Jason Pierre-Paul, Robert Ayers and Damontre Moore. It is certainly fair to wonder if Kiwanuka can still be a competent player. It is also fair to wonder if Kiwanuka would still be a Giant if he wasn't in the second year of af a three-year, $17.75-million contract that includes $10.95 million guaranteed. Kiwanuka will get an opportunity to show he still has something left. Can he take advantage of it?