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SportsColumnistsBob Glauber

Carl Banks frustrated by Damontre Moore's poor judgment

Damontre Moore of the New York Giants celebrates

Damontre Moore of the New York Giants celebrates a sack against Sam Bradford of the Philadelphia Eagles during their game at Lincoln Financial Field on Oct. 19, 2015 in Philadelphia. Credit: Getty Images / Al Bello

If you're a Giants fan frustrated by Damontre Moore's boneheaded mistakes -- especially that one in Philadelphia on Monday night when he was penalized for pile-driving quarterback Sam Bradford into the ground -- Carl Banks understands your angst. He feels it, too.

The former All-Pro linebacker, who does color commentary on the Giants' radio network, can't understand why a player as talented as Moore continues to make mind-boggling mistakes and preventing himself from becoming the kind of player Banks believes he can be.

"I have a personal sense of frustration because of what my expectations are of him," Banks told me on Thursday. "I'm a fan of his talent. He's a high-energy player and he goes a hundred miles an hour, whether it's a mistake or not. And that's probably why he still has a job. He gives you everything he's got."

But . . .

"It's just that sometimes it's not directed for the right purposes," Banks said.

That play on Monday night, which kept alive a first-quarter drive that ended with Bradford's 32-yard touchdown pass, was emblematic of Moore's two-plus seasons with the Giants. In the absence of Jason Pierre-Paul, he's the team's most gifted pass rusher, but his penchant for making these what-in-the-world-are-you-thinking mistakes prevents him from taking advantage of his potential.

Banks sits in the radio booth and often shakes his head in response to what he's seeing. His observations are particularly noteworthy, because he has the resume and the cachet to judge a player like Moore.

"He's one of those guys who holds your team hostage as to whether or not they can trust you, whether or not they can count on you," Banks said. "It's like you can't live with him and can't live without him, so you have to try to find a happy medium and hold your breath. But that shouldn't be the case with his level of talent."

Interesting that Banks brings up the trust factor, because coach Tom Coughlin was asked the other day if he can trust Moore not to make costly mistakes. "I can't really honestly say that," he said.

That's about as damning a statement as you'll ever hear from Coughlin, who rarely criticizes his players publicly.

"If you have a talented player you can't trust," Banks said, "then you don't have a talented player. There are a ton of those players in the NFL. Some get it going, others just become those players. They keep a job because they have a skill set, but they never reach what others expect them to be. It may come down to the fact that everyone else's expectations are higher than Damontre's. That can become frustrating with such a talented player."

What made Moore's mistake on Monday night even worse: his postgame admission about not knowing that that sort of tackle is prohibited.

"Honestly, I think it was just me having a poor football IQ and not being aware of the rules of dumping him, because I dumped him," said Moore, who did have two sacks of Bradford.

Banks gives Moore the benefit of the doubt.

"I think he knew the rule, I think he just didn't articulate it the right way," Banks said. "There's no level of football in America where it's allowed. Unless he just started playing last week, I'm sure he knew you can't do that to a quarterback when he doesn't have the football, not even in Pop Warner."

Did Moore misspeak? He wasn't in the locker room on Thursday to say. Usually, he is a locker-room regular, often cracking jokes with teammates. But he hasn't been around all week.

Now the question is this: Can Moore harness his talents and become a reliable and trustworthy player? Those closest to Moore believe he can.

"I feel like he'll get it right," said defensive end Cullen Jenkins, who had an extensive conversation with Moore after Monday night's game and said Moore felt very badly about his penalty. "He'll start making progress, but he has to make sure it's 100 percent of the time that he's conscious of it."

Said defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo: "That's a double-edged sword. You love the high motor. You love the fact that he loves to play the game and he plays it hard . . . The flip side is there are a number of plays that have happened this year where his hustle and determination and going full speed all the time has helped us. Everybody progresses and grows at a different speed. We're hopeful. We'll keep plugging away."

Banks isn't so sure.

"I hold him accountable, because his talent is something I like," he said. "So I have a higher expectation of him, maybe higher than he has for himself. Hopefully he'll expect more of himself and put his talents to good use so he can help his team win. If he does that, he's going to help his team a lot. A whole lot."


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