Giants still searching for a spot for Damontre Moore
Damontre Moore continues to watch.
Even in a game on Sunday in which Jason Pierre-Paul played sparingly and with little impact, the rookie defensive end was unable to get on the field with the pass-rushing unit and show the Giants -- and the world -- what he was drafted in the third round to do. Instead, Moore remained on the sideline, a spectator on defense who is mostly limited to special teams.
It's not where Moore wants to be. And it's not where the Giants want him to be, either.
"We're trying," Tom Coughlin said this week with an air of resignation about trying to bring the youngest player on the roster up to speed with the NFL's demands. "We're trying to get him in a position where he can play and contribute."
Moore missed a good chunk of the preseason with a shoulder injury that slowed his development. He's been impressive in some roles on special teams -- counting the first preseason game, he's gotten his hands on three punts, including one that was returned for an important touchdown against the Raiders -- and has been extended in some others. The Giants used the 6-5, 250-pounder as a gunner earlier this year, a role that usually goes to a speedy defensive back, and twice he lost containment and the kick was returned for a touchdown.
But on defense, he isn't even getting a chance to screw up.
"He's physical, he's big, he can run, all of those kind of things," Coughlin said. "[We're] trying to make sure that he is prepared to make all of the adjustments that are necessary over the ball so that we don't get some of the mistakes that we had in preseason. This is where it is."
The Giants were in a similar conundrum with David Wilson, their first-round pick a year ago. They couldn't trust him to be a solid pass protector, and because he couldn't get on the field, he was unable to prove to the Giants that he could do the job.
Justin Tuck appreciates what Moore is going through. He experienced it a little in 2005, when he was a rookie trying to find snaps in practices and games behind Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora.
"I understand how tough it is for him, but the thing I like about Damontre is he's come in here every day and is trying to work and is trying to overcome some of those things," Tuck said. "It just hasn't happened for him yet, but that doesn't mean he hasn't put in the effort. I think you'll see a big jump from him going from first year to second year because he'll have an entire offseason to kind of work on it."
When Pierre-Paul injured his shoulder, some expected Moore to see a bump in playing time. In the two games JPP has played since that injury, Moore has seen less time. He averaged four defensive snaps in his first eight games as an active player and has averaged one the last two games. Both came two weeks ago against the Packers when he had to rush onto the field in an emergency as Pierre-Paul came off to tend to his ailing shoulder.
Even if Pierre-Paul, who didn't practice for a second straight day, doesn't play against Washington Sunday night, don't expect Moore to be on the field much. The Giants seem much more comfortable moving tackle Cullen Jenkins to end.
Tuck noted that the Redskins' offense with its read options puts a lot of stress on defensive ends to make decisions and carry out assignments. Those seem to be the areas that concern the Giants about Moore.
"It's a fact we're dealing with," Coughlin said. "The sooner we can get him to that [point], then we'll have another guy that we feel like can be a pass-rush guy."
Until then, Moore just watches.