Giants must count on Tuck for stretch run

Posted Dec. 16, 2011 @ 3:31 p.m.
Posted By Eric Edholm

The health of DE Justin Tuck has been a season-long concern. Neck, groin and — most recently — a bum toe have kept Tuck from dominating in any stretch and has shifted the reliance fully onto second-year sensation Jason Pierre-Paul to supply the majority of the Giants' pass rush. It might not look like it, but opponents are taking notice. They are committing more offensive attention to Pierre-Paul, and all season the Giants' defensive coaches have wanted to limit the number of plays that he plays to keep him fresh. That's why Tuck, who has three sacks in nine games, is putting a lot of pressure on himself to perform down the stretch at a higher level. Pierre-Paul might be the team's most electric defender, but Tuck is its best. He leverages well against the run, sniffs out screens and misdirection plays better than almost any end in the game and can shift seamlessly inside when the team needs it. Again, that's when healthy. If the injuries keep taking their toll, he might need to take another game off before the playoffs — if the Giants make them — to get closer to full health.