It sure seemed as if the Giants had no choice but to make Damontre Moore a starting defensive end after putting Mathias Kiwanuka and Robert Ayers Jr. on injured reserve this week. But they may have found a way to avoid it.
Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said Moore will be "in a rotation" and "won't be an every-down player" and hinted that tackle Cullen Jenkins will get the start at end if he is able to come back from his calf injury. Jenkins has been limited in practice.
The reason Moore won't be tapped for the full-time job? "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 does right now."
Asked what is lacking in Moore's game against the run, Fewell had a list at the ready. "Strength. Power. And discipline," he said. "It's a combination of the three."
Tom Coughlin noted Moore's lack of size earlier in the week, suggesting that he lost weight during the season. He's listed at 250 pounds. That's 20 to 25 pounds lighter than Kiwanuka and Ayers and almost 30 pounds lighter than Jason Pierre-Paul.
Even with all of that against him, Moore certainly will have to play a larger role Sunday against the Titans. When he spoke to the media on Thursday, though -- just before Fewell did -- it seemed to be from the perspective of a new starter.
"I've been waiting for it a long time and I'm ready to step up," he said. "I've been preparing a lot and have had a lot of great veteran leadership in front of me. I feel like it's my time and I'm ready to take advantage of it . . . 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, a situational guy."
He may be ready. Clearly the Giants are not.
A day after he was limited in practice, linebacker Jacquian Williams again was sidelined with a concussion. "He seemed to be OK," Coughlin said, "and then he gets symptoms." Williams suffered the initial concussion on Nov. 9 against the Seahawks and has not played since . . . With Mark Herzlich also suffering from a concussion, the Giants might have only three experienced linebackers Sunday.