While perusing the inter-web for Giants news last night, I stumbled upon an interesting article written by Connor Orr of The Star-Ledger discussing Justin Tuck standing up in the linebacker role more often in practices, recently.
If you have watched the Giants over the last couple of years, the sight of Tuck not in a three-point stance, while not frequent, wasn’t necessarily uncommon. Defensive coordinator, Perry Fewell, has been experimenting with different fronts with the rush ends standing up and moving around pre-snap (“NASCAR”), to cause confusion in blocking assignments for the offensive line.
While the scheme is interesting, the one thought that always jumped out in my mind when I saw it was, “I hope Tuck isn’t going to drop back in coverage.” The thought of an aging and oft injured Tuck trying to keep up with a speedster in the slot or Jamaal Charles coming out of the backfield gives me nightmares.
In a way, it might be good to try and re-invigorate Tuck, who has certainly had his struggles the past couple of seasons, but it might also end up being counter-intuitive. The Giants, and Fewell, should be putting Tuck in a position that allows him to focus on getting back to what made him a star in the NFL. Instead, he is going to have to learn a new position and the intricacies that come along with that.
Tuck was quoted in Connor Orr’s article saying, “It’s weird, it’s something I did in high school and college more, but eight years of putting your hand in the dirt – it’s a little different. But like I said, I’ll do whatever the coaching staff feels will help the defense out.” Those words don’t exactly sound like a guy who is exciting and comfortable with the possibility of playing this new role.