The New York Giants are entering training camp with an abundance of defensive linemen, the complete opposite of last year. There are currently 13 players auditioning for a spot along the defensive front, seven of whom will try to crack the rotation at defensive tackle. The competition figures to be spirited and will result in heartache for more than one player by the end of training camp.
Shaun Rogers enters his second season with the Giants and as the oldest player on the team at 34-years-old. Last season he was signed to help add depth to a defensive front that was hit hard by injuries. However, Rogers himself ended up out for the season which cemented Markus Kuhn’s position on the team. Kuhn will start this season on the PUP list after having knee surgery to repair an ACL he injured against the Cincinnati Bengals and it will be because of Kuhn’s injury that Rogers is getting a chance this season. Rogers will need to show the Giants coaching staff that the Pro Bowl caliber player is still there somewhere.
The Giants were forced to juggle the defensive line often last year and allowed almost 130 yards per game on the ground, ranking 25th in the NFL. This past off-season, GM Jerry Reese did all he could to bolster the line without breaking the bank. Added were Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson through free agency and Jonathan Hankins in the draft.
The Giants will undoubtedly enter the 2013 season, barring injury of course, with Jenkins, Linval Joseph, Patterson and Hankins guaranteed spots. Rogers, despite his resume, will be fighting for his spot along with Marvin Austin who really needs to have a strong camp after being a non-factor last year.
Rogers will need to show glimpses of what he used to be while Austin will need to show the Giants he can be the player they thought they were getting after the Giants drafted him in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft.
It will be a spirited camp with plenty of fighting for the remaining spots in the defensive line rotation. To complicate matters, the defensive end battles will also factor into what happens with the defensive tackle position. While many eyes will be on the linebacker battle it will be the defensive tackle fight that will be the position battle to watch with Rogers and Austin being the main actors in this play.