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

Paul RichardsonMar 26 12:43a

Seattle Seahawks WR Paul Richardson (knee) might not be ready for the start of the season, head coach Pete Carroll indicated Wednesday, March 25. Carroll did say Richardson's rehab [ More ]

Blake BortlesMar 25 08:43p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles received an endorsement from head coach Gus Bradley Tuesday, March 24. Speaking at the AFC Coaches Breakfast at the NFL Annual Meetings Tuesday, Bradley [ More ]

Travis KelceMar 25 06:03p

Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce played at roughly 250 pounds in 2014, but head coach Andy Reid wants Kelce to report bigger in 2015, and Reid thinks Kelce [ More ]

Drew BreesMar 25 05:03p

Oregon QB Marcus Mariota isn't an option for the New Orleans Saints in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, according to head coach Sean Payton. Payton said [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 25 04:33p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is wanted back in Minnesota, but the question is if Peterson wants to come back. Head coach Mike Zimmer said he doesn't believe Peterson [ More ]

Ifeanyi MomahMar 25 03:13p

Free-agent TE Ifeanyi Momah (Lions) signed a one-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals Wednesday, March 25. Financial terms were undisclosed.

Terence NewmanMar 25 01:53p

Free-agent CB Terence Newman (Bengals) agreed to a one-year deal with the Minnesota Vikings Wednesday, March 25, according to a source. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Jordy NelsonMar 25 12:23p

Green Bay Packers WR Jordy Nelson (hip) underwent hip surgery this offseason and is expected to be sidelined for six to eight weeks.

Victor CruzMar 25 11:53a

New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (knee) could miss the start of the 2015 season with a torn patellar tendon in his knee, according to head coach Tom Coughlin. [ More ]

Josh HillMar 25 11:03a

New Orleans Saints TE Josh Hill is expected to have a bigger role in the offense in 2015. Head coach Sean Payton has mentioned him quite a bit since [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 25 10:53a

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is disgruntled and reportedly wants out of Minnesota, but head coach Mike Zimmer said the team has no plans to trade him.

Cody LatimerMar 24 09:33p

The Denver Broncos plan to use WR Cody Latimer as the third receiver behind WRs Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders in 2015. 'I think it's time for him to [ More ]

Casey MatthewsMar 24 06:32p

Free-agent LB Casey Matthews (Eagles) agreed to terms with the Minnesota Vikings Tuesday, March 24. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

R. Griffin IIIMar 24 04:42p

Washington Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan said that the team will go with the best player available in the 2015 NFL Draft with the No. 5 overall pick, which [ More ]

Michael CrabtreeMar 24 03:02p

Free-agent WR Michael Crabtree (49ers) is having a hard time being signed this offseason, reportedly due to concerns regarding lower-leg injuries and a negative perception about his attitude.

Ray McDonaldMar 24 02:02p

Free-agent DE Ray McDonald (49ers) is signing an undisclosed deal with the Chicago Bears Tuesday, March 24.

Stephen BowenMar 24 01:32p

Free-agent DE Stephen Bowen (Redskins) is signing an undisclosed deal with the New York Jets Tuesday, March 24.

Geno SmithMar 24 01:22p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith will be the starting quarterback ahead of QB Ryan Fitzpatrick entering training camp this summer, according to new head coach Todd Bowles. 'You [ More ]

Zach MettenbergerMar 24 01:12p

Oregon QB Marcus Mariota is a realistic option for the Tennessee Titans with the second overall selection in this year's NFL Draft, and head coach Ken Whisenhunt is impressed [ More ]

Jarvis JenkinsMar 24 10:42a

Free-agent DE Jarvis Jenkins (Redskins) agreed with the Chicago Bears Tuesday, March 24, on a one-year deal.

Johnny ManzielMar 24 08:52a

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel is expected back with the team for offseason workouts April 20 after completing more than two months of treatment.

Adrian PetersonMar 23 07:52p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's agent, Ben Dogra, said Monday, March 23, that he doesn't think 'it's in Adrian's best interest to play in Minnesota' in 2015 and beyond. [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 23 06:02p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is expected to be part of the Vikings next season, according to general manager Rick Spielman. 'Adrian's a member of our football team,' Spielman [ More ]

Drew BreesMar 23 01:22p

New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees will not be traded, according to general manager Mickey Loomis. Recent speculation said that Brees may be on the trade block after his [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 23 12:52p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's preference is to play elsewhere than with the Vikings in 2015, according to a league source. He is under contract through the 2017 season [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 22 08:32p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's future remains unclear, but head coach Mike Zimmer recently said that the Vikings are 'excited' to have him back. Zimmer had previously said that [ More ]

James HarrisonMar 22 12:42p

Free-agent LB James Harrison (Steelers) signed a two-year deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday, March 22. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Branden OliverMar 21 03:52p

San Diego Chargers RB Branden Oliver is penciled in as the starting running back at this point.

EJ ManuelMar 21 12:52a

Buffalo Bills QB EJ Manuel is not locked in as the starting quarterback. Head coach Rex Ryan said Friday, March 20, that the quarterback competition will be open. 'It's [ More ]

Kevin VickersonMar 20 05:52p

Free-agent DT Kevin Vickerson (Chiefs) agreed to terms on an undisclosed deal with the New York Jets Friday, March 20.

Matt MooreMar 20 04:32p

Free-agent QB Matt Moore (Dolphins) re-signed with the Miami Dolphins Friday, March 20. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Adrian PetersonMar 20 02:42p

Updating an ongoing story, Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is clearly wanted back by the organization, and general manager Rick Spielman once again stressed that they will make every [ More ]

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