Giants “toying” with Justin Tuck as a linebacker

AP

Defensive end Osi Umenyiora has been experimenting with standing up as a linebacker at camp after signing with the Falcons as a free agent this offseason, but that might have been in his future even if he stayed with the Giants.

The Giants have been doing their own experiments at camp and one of them features Justin Tuck without his hand in the dirt. Tuck called it something the team is “toying around” with in hopes of increasing their versatility on defense. Mathias Kiwanuka, who is back at defensive end after years of moving between end and linebacker, thinks Tuck can handle the responsibilities of the new gig but Tuck says there’s an adjustment.

“It is weird,” Tuck said, via Conor Orr of the Newark Star-Ledger. “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 this defense out.”

The Giants have long been a team that looked to their front four to generate pass rush, with their main wrinkle coming via the “NASCAR” package of four defensive ends on the field at the same time. That didn’t work for them last season, though, and the maneuvering with Tuck shows they’re at least open to trying some different things in order to get their defense back to the desired level.

Coach Tom Coughlin said that they are toying around with players with the second and third teams as well, so there’s a chance you’ll be seeing some of this new look during the preseason.