2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Kiwanuka clutch at two positions for Giants

By TOM CANAVAN - AP Sports Writer
    2012-11-28 16:41

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - When Mathias Kiwanuka signed a contract extension with the New York Giants earlier this year, he understood his job was to be a wild card in the defense.

Kiwanuka is somewhat of a rarity in the NFL. A two-position player, the seven-year veteran is listed on the roster as a linebacker, but he plays as much on the defensive line, his natural position.

This past week in the Giants' impressive 38-10 win over Green Bay, Kiwanuka spent the entire game on the line because coordinator Perry Fewell wanted a little more pressure on Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Kiwanuka led the charge, snaring two of the five sacks for the NFC East-leading Giants (7-4).

Where Kiwanuka plays Monday night against quarterback Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins (5-6) remains to be seen. Even the 29-year-old doesn't know where he will be.

``I want to be able to be on the field, be prepared, and be effective,'' Kiwanuka said Wednesday in a conference call. ``That's my main thing. If I'm out there helping the team, then I'm good in that spot. I said all along that defensive end, that's my natural position. That's where I feel most comfortable, but when we get all four pass-rushers out there on the field and we can go up and down the line and mix and match, that creates favorable matchups, so I have no problem with that either.''

The constant shifting has not been a problem for Kiwanuka, who was drafted as a defensive lineman in 2006. He talked with general manager Jerry Reese and coach Tom Coughlin after signing a three-year extension in April, so he knew what was expected.

There are weeks where Kiwanuka plays both positions. He's a linebacker in the normal 4-3 front and switches to the line in passing situations. The hard part is preparing for the dual role. It means splitting practices with the linebackers and linemen and alternates meetings with both groups.

``When I have to go back and forth, there's just a lot more preparation that goes into it, but I seem to always be able to get it done. Even though you don't think there's enough hours in the day, somehow we get it done,'' Kiwanuka said. ``The coaches are pretty good about it. When you're playing a team, and they say, `This is how we're going to use you, just as a defensive lineman,' it's a lot less preparation involved and really just going out there and playing ball like I've always done.''

Kiwanuka plays both the end and tackle positions, so that means the Redskins line will have its hands full. Washington left guard Kory Lichtensteiger expects to go against Kiwanuka on - at least - a couple of plays.

``It's a pretty rare thing that you can move a linebacker to a three-technique and have him be effective,'' Lichtensteiger said. ``He's just so big, I think his length and his agility inside presents a little bit of a different matchup for us. But they're so big and long everywhere on defense, it's hard to say he's any more of a problem than any of the other guys they've got inside.''

Right guard Chris Chester described Kiwanuka as elusive.

``It's something you expect out of a defensive end, and as an interior lineman you don't necessarily see a lot of those types of rushes,'' he said. ``So it's going to be a unique challenge.''

Kiwanuka didn't do much in the Giants' 27-23 win over Washington at MetLife Stadium on Oct. 21. He had three tackles, including one for a loss. And it's hard to say how the Giants will approach the Redskins this week because Griffin is so tough to defend with both his ability to throw and run. So, who knows where Kiwanuka will be.

If safety Kenny Phillips is healthy - he aggravated an injury to his right knee in Sunday night's win - New York might use three safeties and two cornerbacks. That would allow one of the safeties to shadow Griffin and might limit Kiwanuka's playing time in the base defense.

Whatever defense the Giants use, they can't afford to play like they did last year in their second meeting with Washington. It was a no-show effort in a 23-10 loss that dropped New York to 7-7 with two games left in the regular season.

Remarkably, the Giants beat the Jets and Cowboys to win the division and then stormed through the postseason to win a second title since 2007.

The loss to Washington was their last.

``The lesson we got out of that was, when you're playing a divisional opponent, it doesn't matter what the records are, or what you're ranked in the conference, or anything like that,'' Kiwanuka said. ``We're two teams that have seen each other a lot. We know what each other is capable of, and it's going to come down to desire more so than the Xs and Os. When you throw that option package in there, that may be something you have to focus on, but whenever you're playing somebody in your division, you have to be prepared for anything.

``It's always going to be a rivalry game.''

If the Giants win it, they can take a major step toward a second straight division title.

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

---

AP Sports Writer Joseph G. White in Auburn, Va. contributed to this report.

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Dane FletcherMay 27 02:33a

Free-agent LB Dane Fletcher (Buccaneers) has returned to the New England Patriots on a one-year contract.

Devonta FreemanMay 26 09:53p

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman worked with the first-team offense during organized team activities Tuesday, May 26.

Charles SimsMay 26 05:33p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Charles Sims has a solid chance of beating out RB Doug Martin for Tampa Bay's starting running back gig, according to Pat Yasinskas of ESPN.com.

A.J. JenkinsMay 26 01:02p

Free-agent WR A.J. Jenkins (Chiefs) signed an undisclosed deal with the Dallas Cowboys Tuesday, May 26, according to a source. Jenkins was the 30th overall pick by the San [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMay 26 08:43a

Updating an ongoing story, the Dallas Cowboys have moved on from the idea of trading for Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson, despite persistent rumors, according to The Dallas Morning [ More ]

A.J. McCarronMay 25 10:37p

Cincinnati Bengals QB AJ McCarron (shoulder) is healthy and hoping to push QB Andy Dalton in 2015. 'We wanted him in our building so bad and it happened and [ More ]

Ray McDonaldMay 25 04:42p

Updating previous reports, Chicago Bears DE Ray McDonald has been released Monday, May 25, just hours after being arrested for alleged domestic violence and child endangerment.

Adrian PetersonMay 25 02:42p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson still wants to be traded, according to a source. Peterson intends to skip all organized team activities, which would cause him to lose $250,000 in workout bonuses.

Adrian PetersonMay 24 09:22p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson has informed head coach Mike Zimmer that he will not attend the optional practices that begin Tuesday, May 26, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

Tom BradyMay 22 04:32p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady will have the appeal of his four-game suspension heard by commissioner Roger Goodell after the NFL rejected a motion by the NFL Players [ More ]

Tom BradyMay 22 03:32p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady's appeal of his four-game suspension has not been scheduled at this time.

Ray RiceMay 22 11:42a

Free-agent RB Ray Rice (Ravens) could be a consideration for the Dallas Cowboys in free agency, speculates The Dallas Morning News' Jon Machota. He cites Cowboys owner and general [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMay 22 09:52a

Updating an ongoing story, Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson remains in pursuit of being traded or receiving a new contract and remains away from the organization during voluntary workouts. [ More ]

William BeattyMay 21 12:02p

Updating previous reports, New York Giants OT William Beatty (chest) underwent successful surgery Thursday, May 21, to repair a torn pectoral muscle. Beatty will need approximately five to six months of recovery time.

Derek CarrMay 20 10:23p

Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr (finger) will not need surgery on his injured finger and may be able to throw again before the end of offseason workouts, according to his agent.

Joseph RandleMay 20 09:23p

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle is the most likely option to lead the team's running back by committee approach in 2015. Randle has the most experience in the system, [ More ]

William BeattyMay 20 03:53p

Updating previous reports, New York Giants OT William Beatty's (pectoral) torn pectoral will require surgery and Beatty's recovery time is expected to be around five months. Beatty suffered the [ More ]

William BeattyMay 20 03:33p

Updating a previous report, New York Giants OT William Beatty (shoulder) tore his pectoral while lifting weights Wednesday, May 20, according to a source, and will undergo surgery. One [ More ]

Josh HillMay 20 03:23p

New Orleans Saints TE Josh Hill is slated as the starting tight end this season with TE Jimmy Graham now in Seattle. TE Benjamin Watson could give Hill a run for his money, however.

William BeattyMay 20 03:13p

New York Giants OT William Beatty (shoulder) suffered a potentially serious shoulder injury while lifting weights Wednesday, May 20, according to a source. Surgery is a possibility.

Geno SmithMay 20 03:03p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith is the starting quarterback and will not see competition in training camp, according to offensive coordinator Chan Gailey.

Tom BradyMay 20 03:03p

Updating previous reports, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady's appeal will not be affected by the team's decision to accept their sanctions. Commissioner Roger Goodell said he wants to [ More ]

Matt JonesMay 20 02:15p

Washington Redskins RB Matt Jones said that he loves the offense and has a chip on his shoulder after not being used properly while in college. 'My college career [ More ]

Derek CarrMay 20 08:53a

Updating a previous report, Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr (finger) is experiencing numbness in his right ring finger. He hopes to avoid surgery through rest and rehab, and no [ More ]

Derek CarrMay 19 06:13p

Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr (finger) has a right ring finger injury that could be surgically repaired. A return for training camp is still achievable, however, according to a source.

L. WashingtonMay 19 05:23p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR L'Damian Washington (undisclosed) was waived/injured Tuesday, May 19.

Shayne GrahamMay 19 03:03p

New Orleans Saints PK Shayne Graham was released Tuesday, May 19. Subsequently, free-agent WR Lance Lewis (49ers) was signed.

Joseph BarksdaleMay 19 02:23p

Free-agent OT Joseph Barksdale (Rams) will sign a one-year deal worth $350,000 with the San Diego Chargers, according to a source. The deal also comes with more than $1 million in incentives available.

Tom BradyMay 19 01:43p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady will continue to appeal his four-game suspension, despite owner Robert Kraft saying the team will not appeal the discipline levied against them.

Jed CollinsMay 18 03:32p

Dallas Cowboys FB Jed Collins was released Monday, May 18, and FB Tyler Clutts was re-signed to an undisclosed contract.

Tyler CluttsMay 18 03:32p

Dallas Cowboys FB Jed Collins was released Monday, May 18, and FB Tyler Clutts was re-signed to an undisclosed contract.

Lache SeastrunkMay 18 02:42p

Tennessee Titans RB Lache Seastrunk was released Monday, May 18.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group