Kiwanuka "to play linebacker this year"

Mathias Kiwanuka may still move around the field and play some defensive end for Perry Fewell.

But linebackers coach Jim Herrmann says Kiwanuka will be a linebacker, at least on first and second downs.

“He’s going to play linebacker this year,” Herrmann said. “In our base package he’s a linebacker. When we go to third down, all bets are off. We try to put the best people on the field to get pressure, to cover. It’s a different game to me. First and second downs are a completely different game than third. It’s like a whole different playbook. When we go to third down, he has multiple positions on third-down plays and our third-down package.”

Last year, Kiwanuka started the season opener at linebacker. He then saw action at linebacker and on the defensive line in the next two games before a neck injury ended his season. This year, it appears he will start games at linebacker and play the position on running downs. In passing situations, he could move to defensive end or he can always be used to bring pressure from his linebacker position as well.

While things could change if Osi Umenyiora ends up not playing for the Giants this season, it certainly appears as if the Giants are moving ahead with Kiwanuka at linebacker. With Umenyiora sitting out practices, the Giants have been putting Jason Pierre-Paul at defensive end opposite Justin Tuck with Kiwanuka at linebacker.

That also means linebacker Clint Sintim likely will be relegated to the second team.

“Clint has actually had a great camp so far,” Herrmann said of Sintim. “I really like where he’s at. He’s done a great job. He looks faster. He’s leaner. He’s done a great job out here. Anytime you can’t go into a season with three legit guys and someone gets hurt and you’re putting a non-legit guy in. So, he’s competing for a job as a starter wherever it is. Really, to me, they’re all interchangeable. They should all be able to play all the positions.”