Slimmer Rogers aims for big impact

ALBANY, N.Y. -- When Shaun Rogers joined the New York Giants in the offseason, the veteran defensive tackle was bigger than the team had hoped he would be.

So they gave him a playing weight to reach by training camp, and a slimmer Rogers showed up in Albany and made weight easily.

The 6-foot-4 Rogers, listed at 350 pounds, won't say exactly how much weight he lost. But it's noticeable.

"He is still big," Justin Tuck said of Rogers. "He did a great job of getting to the weight coming into camp. That right there shows you his motivation. I think he lost almost 40, 50 pounds. I think it is somewhere around there. That is a huge show of motivation."

Tuck believes that Rogers is capable of having a Rogers-sized impact on the Giants' defense. Last year, the Giants struggled against the run early in the season, and a space-eater such as Rogers could help Perry Fewell's run defense.

Rogers also provides the team with some veteran insurance in case Chris Canty isn't ready at the start the season after offseason knee surgery. Canty is currently on the team's Physically Unable to Perform list.

But Tuck thinks Rogers can help the Giants' vaunted pass defense as well.

"I just think he is going to be one of those guys to push the pocket," Tuck said. "A lot of our rushes have always been predicated on the success of our defensive ends, and a lot of our D-tackle play kind of gets overshadowed."

"I think he is going to be a guy that can definitely push the pocket where the quarterback can't step up," Tuck added. "And not only in the passing game, but that big body that won't be moved on double-teams is going to help us solidify our run-stopping defense."

Rogers, 33, is in his 12th season in the NFL. He had 22 tackles last year in 16 games for the New Orleans Saints and is three seasons removed from his best football. He had 76 tackles and 4.5 sacks during the 2008 season and seven sacks during the 2007 season.

He might not be the force he once was inside, but he still has a big space-eating body and is athletic for a man of his size. Playing alongside Tuck, Osi Umenyiora and Jason Pierre-Paul should only make Rogers that much more effective during his snaps.

"These guys are most definitely athletic and physical," Rogers said. "I think I bring a little bit of size, and maybe in those short-yard situations, those run-scheme teams, I can hopefully bring a little beef and sturdiness in the middle. Hopefully, my size and knowledge of the game can play a little part."

He has been a big help to younger defensive tackles such as Linval Joseph and Marvin Austin. Rogers said numerous veterans passed down knowledge and tips to him when he came into the league with the Detroit Lions in 2001.

"Robert Porcher in Detroit … there's numerous guys, I can't think of everybody's names," Rogers said, when asked who mentored him. "I am so old I am forgetting people's names now.

"[But] don't take that, the old comment, for a lack of motivation, movement or weakness," he added.

Tuck said Rogers has come in and won the locker room over with his enormous personality and motivation. The players have seen how much weight he lost -- Tom Coughlin said Rogers has to regain some strength after losing so much weight -- and his desire to win a ring of his own.

They also have noticed how athletic he is for a guy who makes the 323-pound Joseph look like a defensive end next to him.

"I think he looks 400 [pounds] now and I know he is not," Tuck said. "Then you look at him on the field, does he play like a 400-pounder? He's got moves. The guy is as agile as any of our D-linemen, from D-end to him being the biggest one."

As for how much weight Rogers has shed, the defensive tackle wouldn't share any numbers.

"I lost enough," Rogers said. "Enough to make them happy, so that's all that matters."

And he hopes the weight loss will help him add the kind of weight the Giants put on their fingers last February when they all won championship rings.

"That is one of the things on my résumé that I am lacking," Rogers said. "That is motivation for me. I want to play a part in it and hopefully get another ring for these guys and not just be along for the ride."