With the return date of Jason Pierre-Paul in question following back surgery, there has been much discussion about the full-time return to defensive end by veteran Mathias Kiwanuka. There has also been a lot of chatter about the opportunity presented to young players like Adrian Tracy and Damontre Moore.
There has not, however, been much chatter about the Giants' "other" defensive. That would, of course, be defensive captain and two-time Pro Bowler Justin Tuck. Coming off back-to-back abysmal seasons, Tuck spoken often during the offseason about returning to form. He has even walked hot coals trying to find a way out of the doldrums he has been in the past two years.
Tuck knows a return to at least some semblance of his Pro Bowl form is even more important with Pierre-Paul a question mark and Osi Umenyiora a member of the Atlanta Falcons.
"A lot of people have to step up, me included," he told reporters after Thursday's OTA at the Timex Performance Center. "We all have to pick up the slack. With him [JPP], Osi, the guys that we had last year that won't be part of this d-line, at times this season, so we all have to pick up."
What is a reasonable expectation for the 30-year-old Tuck, entering his ninth NFL season? Three times he has reached double-digit sack totals, the last when he recorded 11.5 in 2010. He has two Pro Bowl appearances and one All-Pro selection on his resume. Yet, he has only nine sacks, a bunch of injuries and lots of questions floating around about his motivation to show for the past two seasons.
Can he be a dominant player again? Can he at least be a good one? Is he an over-the-hill player whose production likely won't increase over the past two seasons?
Vote in our poll and let us know what you think the Giants will get from Tuck in 2013, the final year of his contract.