Rookie defensive end Avery Moss has been impressing in practice for the past couple of weeks, according to what defensive coordinator Steve Spagnolo told reporters on Thursday.
“There’s a number of times during the meetings after practice that I will put things on that I see guys doing really good and it might be an individual drill,” Spagnuolo said. “Avery has showed up on those tapes. So, what I’m saying to you is he’s done some things, he’s progressed and I think he’s gotten better as a football player. Now, he hasn’t been in a game yet, regular season, so we’ll see what happens, but I do think he has gotten better as a player.”
That improvement from the team’s fifth-round pick might be coming just in time. Olivier Vernon (ankle) hasn’t practiced this week and did not sound optimistic on Thursday about his chances of playing Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers. Jason Pierre-Paul (shoulder sprain) has not practiced either, but promised to play.
If one, or both, of the defensive end stalwarts doesn’t play Moss could be in line for the first defensive snaps of his career. He has not been active since Week 1 against the Dallas Cowboys, when he played only on special teams.
I caught up with Moss Thursday in the Giants’ locker room. Here is a “Five Questions” segment with the rookie from Youngstown State.
Ed: Steve Spagnuolo says you look more comfortable and have been showing up on film the past couple of weeks. Your thoughts on that?
Moss: Yeah. I think I’m starting to get adjusted with the defense. I’m learning a lot from OV and JPP.
Ed: If you are called on Sunday, do you feel ready to contribute?
Moss: Definitely. You wait for those moments. That’s what we play for, so I’m definitely ready.
Ed: What will Giants fans see if you get an opportunity this weekend?
Moss: I know I’m going to bring energy and enthusiasm. The rest? My actions speak louder than my words. Can’t say nothing until I actually get out there. This is my first go-round in a real NFL game, so I won’t say anything before I get out there. I just want to go out there and play hard.
Ed: You’ve been inactive the past few weeks. Is hard to be patient, to not get a uniform on Sundays?
Moss: It is, but at the same time we all have a common goal to win. You’ve gotta trust in the process. Especially me as a rookie I’ve got to trust in the process and just cheer my brothers on that are playing in my position.
Ed: What is the biggest thing you have learned so far about the NFL?
Moss: The schemes and the angles of the game — they’re just a lot different than what I was accustomed to in college. Stuff that you have to get used to, and you can only get used to that stuff through experience ... leverage and angles and how to attack people, just looking for stuff o linemen might do ... I can get a block in college and take it on wrong and still be able to make a play, but here there’s sound stuff that you need to do.
Moss is from California, so I had to ask him whether or not he was OK with the Chargers move from San Diego to LA.
“I wish it was San Diego still. All my family’s from LA. It’s cool that we got a couple teams out there now, but I think San Diego should have stayed out there,” he said.