Would Mathias Kiwanuka Make a Solid Middle Linebacker?

August 26, 2011

NEW YORK – Let me start by saying that I do not like Mathias Kiwanuka playing linebacker. I think the guy has been vocal about his preference to play his natural defensive end position and I agree with him. Because the Giants are so deep at the defensive end position, the goal has switched to getting as much talent on the field as possible. Even if that means having a defensive end running around in space and trying to catch a wide receiver from behind. I hope that Kiwi does not get injured trying to make plays back there with speed instead of strength. Of course, Kiwi will not complain about his new role and will continue to be a team player. Now let me also say that Kiwi is a very good athlete and I’m not questioning his ability to play football at any position. What I’m discussing here is preference in the midst of an overcrowded DE position.

So if they are going to make Kiwi a linebacker, why not try him in the middle linebacker role? The man is certainly smart enough to handle the duties and should be fine with leading the defense since he is a veteran now. If Perry Fewell wants to experiment with Kiwi, I say go all in and drop him right in the middle of the action. Let the faster LB’s cover the wings and let him focus on the run. There would be the added responsibility of reading and reacting to the offense and what the opposing quarterback does with audibles but I think Kiwi is smart enough to handle it. He may not want all of that added responsibility but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t handle it. Jonathan Goff and Phillip Dillard are the two main guys we have now and Kiwi couldn’t be any worse then them. Honestly, I think that Goff has done a pretty good job in the middle but I would like to see him making more plays and being more vocal. Antonio Pierce was never in the background and it just seems like Goff is never in any news.

The now famous “Nascar defense” that DC Perry Fewell has used since coming to New York has been outstanding. Whenever I see those guys lined up in that formation, I get very excited because I do not know which one of them will break free and make the play. Using four defensive ends lined up against the offensive line is a nightmare for offensive coordinators. There is simply too much speed and power to contend with. Kiwanuka will absolutely continue to be a part of that scheme along with Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul and Osi Umenyiora. If he does get a shot at MLB, can you imagine those long arms of Kiwi batting down quarterback passes over the middle? That is simply frightening to think about protecting against. Maybe it’s time for some bigger changes and bigger experiments. Maybe Kiwi should be used for both his mind and his athleticism on the field. Maybe it is time for Kiwi to become the leader that fans have been recognizing in him for years now.

Do you think Mathias Kiwanuka would make a good middle linebacker for the Giants?

RD – nygreporter.com

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