The loss of Kuhn, 26, is a huge blow for a defense. Kuhn was an underestimated contributor this season as a rookie. He had surpassed Marvin Austin on the depth chart and had become a valued member of the Giants defensive line rotation, earning praise from the coaching staff and increased playing time.
Statistically, Kuhn’s numbers aren’t impressive as he recorded only 8 tackles this season. However, he was slowly getting more and more playing time on the interior of the defensive line and was terrific at deflecting passes at the line, batting 4 passes down this year.
Kuhn’s playing time was increasing on a weekly basis and not having him to rely on will mean Marvin Austin must step up and start to live up to his potential.
The Giants had high hopes for Austin when they drafted him in the second round of last year’s draft despite him missing the previous year due to suspension from the NCAA. However, he missed all of last season because of injury and the rust of not having played football in two years has showed.
Now, the Giants need extra effort from Austin to help pick up the slack. Austin might be able to match Kuhn’s production in terms of tackles but it will be difficult to replace his disruptive nature in the passing game. Kuhn just has a knack for putting his arms up at the right time and making it hard on opposing quarterbacks trying to throw over him.
The Giants know there is plenty of talent residing within Austin. The problem has been getting him to stay healthy and bring that talent out on the field. Austin hasn’t seen the field since the Giants beat the Dallas Cowboys on October 28th.
Kuhn, on the other hand, might have played his way into consideration for 2013 and beyond. Will Marvin Austin show he is capable of the same thing?