Whether the New York Giants believe he is ready or not, Damontre Moore's time to take on more responsibility as a defensive end has arrived. With Robert Ayers and Mathias Kiwanuka having gone on injured reserve, and only rookie Kerry Wynn and veteran Cullen Jenkins as other options on the outside, the Giants have no real choice.
So, defensive coordinator Perry Fewell was peppered with questions about Moore on Thursday when he met with reporters.
Is the second-year man from Texas A&M prepared to be an every-down defensive end?
"That's a good question. How prepared is he to be an every down defensive end? Again, he's a better pass defender than a run defender," Fewell said. "He does play the run. We'd like for him to play the run stouter than he plays it right now, but I think that he'll be in a rotation. He won't be an every down defender for us."
Why does Moore struggle vs. the run?
"Strength, power. Those are some of the things. And discipline. It's a combination of the three - strength, power and discipline," Fewell said.
Can Moore, whose pass-rush skills have made him a player everyone wants to see on the field more often, become an every-down defensive end long-term?
"That depends on how much he will get into the weight room, how much strength he develops," Fewell said. "Damontre is a 256, 258-pound man so he's going up against 300-pounders. You have to have good strength at the point of attack to be able to strike, shed and defend."
To that point, lack of size was one of the concerns about Moore when the Giants drafted him. They knew it would take time for him to develop what might be considered an "NFL body." By comparison, Jason Pierre-Paul is listed at 278 pounds. Ayers is listed at 275 and Kiwanuka 267. That bulk makes a huge difference when trying to anchor vs. the run. Moore, really, is the size of an NFL 3-4 outside linebacker.
Fewell seemed to indicate that the Giants will look at the possibility of using Jenkins, a 305-pounder, at defensive end in some situations. Provided, of course, Jenkins is healthy enough to play after missing the last two games with a calf injury.
Moore is looking forward to whatever snaps he gets.
"It's an opportunity. Any time an opportunity presented itself in the past, I've taken advantage of it. I've been waiting for it a long time," Moore said on Thursday. "I'm just waiting to step up. I've been preparing a lot and then I had a lot of great veteran leadership that was in front of me within these past two years. I got to learn from Justin Tuck, Mathias Kiwanuka, Jason Pierre-Paul, so I feel like it's my time and I'm ready to take advantage of it.
"I've had two years to get bigger, stronger and faster and just hone my skills and just take advice from Jason Pierre-Paul, who is such a great mentor. Honestly, like I said, I'm just ready to go out there and prove to everybody that I can do it, be an every down defensive end not just a third down pass rusher or situational guy."
Why haven't the coaches shown complete trust in him to this point? As he has in the past, Moore indicated on Thursday that is his own fault.
"Being a young guy and being so accustomed to coming in, playing early as a true freshman in college, I felt like something was supposed to be given me, which, at this level, nothing's going to be given to you," Moore said. "I feel the same type of way and that's my fault. I prolonged that process. But like I said, experience is the best teacher. Sometimes what they say, a hard head makes a soft behind."
Hard head, soft behind, big enough, disciplined, enough. Whatever. Doesn't matter. Moore's time is now. It is something everyone has looked forward to seeing. Let's see if he takes advantage of it.