We were all focused last week on the first time Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora would be on the field together at the same time. And then the game began and there they were, the two All-Pro starting ends for the Giants … on the sideline.
Neither Tuck nor Osi started the game against the Dolphins. The defensive ends on the first play were Jason Pierre-Paul and Dave Tollefson. Pierre-Paul has started every game this season and has plenty of starts ahead of him in his career. For Tollefson, it was only his second career start.
“That’s funny, huh?” he said after the game. “I was out there and then I’m like ‘I’m starting … I think this is a start.’ And then you see the stat sheet and you’re like ‘I started!’”
Tollefson spoke about how important it was for him to get his first career start against the Redskins in the regular season opener, when neither Tuck nor Osi was available to play. He said today that he’s especially glad he had that opportunity back in September.
“It would have been a shame if that was my first start, that’s how it all kicked off,” Tollefson said of the low-keyed nature of just being on the field for the first snap and not really being the starter in title. “It was just because they came out in a certain personnel, and we had a gameplan.”