CANTON, Ohio -- The New York Giants put Damontre Moore in the game against the Buffalo Bills' backups in the second quarter Sunday night, which at this point in the preseason means he was at left defensive end, matched up against rookie right tackle Cyrus Kouandjio. Moore was the Giants' third-round pick last year out of Texas A&M, and Kouandjio was the Bills' second-round pick this year out of Alabama, so the two knew each other from when they used to face off in their SEC days.
But this is Moore's second NFL preseason and Kouandjio's first, and the latter is having a bit of a tough time getting his feet wet. So this matchup was a mismatch. Moore whipped Kouandjio on a second-down play and got to Bills quarterback Jeff Tuel for a six-yard sack. And he beat him on the next play too and would have had Tuel again... except that he slipped and fell.
That second play is the one Moore was thinking about after the game.
"I'm disappointed I missed out on that second sack," he said. "That was bad by me. I should have kept my footing."
Moore is determined to focus on small details this year after, he says, the failure to do so last year led to an injury that set back his development. Poor technique on a blocked punt led to a preseason shoulder injury that kept Moore from getting as many defensive snaps as he did as a rookie. And while he was a high-energy disruptor on special teams, he knows he has the opportunity to rush up the defensive depth chart if he makes a leap at defensive end this year.
So he's been studying.
"Way more comfortable with the playbook this year, and that's because I have people like Mathias Kiwanuka and Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck before he left and Michael Strahan coming around to help me," Moore said. "Everybody has just been reassuring me that I can do this."
Strahan, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday night, spoke Friday about his relationship with Moore and his hopes for his development. Moore credits Strahan with helping him learn to study key details during film sessions -- everything from the position of the heads of the offensive linemen to the way the center moves his off-hand before the snap. Strahan's lesson to Moore has been, "You're no longer in school, but the way you studied in school is the way you need to study in the film room and in the playbook."
"We text pretty often," Moore said of Strahan. "We just hang out sometimes and he'll talk to me as a man and a football player. Overall, it's a great experience and a leg up, to have a guy who's in the Hall of Fame come and teach you and coach you and just be there as one of us."
Moore is talented enough to make a big impact this year if he develops. He said his goal is to maintain the same energy he had as a rookie, but to imbue that with the kind of nitty-gritty detail work that will make him a smarter player even at his trademark high speed.
"I'm going to do whatever I need to do," Moore said. "I'm going to jump to the moon and back to be the best player I possibly can. We don't get a chance to do this for very long."
Which is why he knows, even in the preseason, you have to cash in on every chance you get to make a sack. If Moore really is this dedicated to details and maintains that commitment and focus throughout the year, he could be a big-time player for the Giants in a hurry.