New York Giants defensive ends Jason Pierre-Paul and Damontre Moore are both 6'5 and have arms that are 34 1/4 inches long. According to combine numbers, JPP is the faster of the two in a 40-yard dash, but Moore had the much higher vertical leap. Pierre-Paul is the heavier of the two but not by all that much. I could keep going, but I think you see what I'm getting at here. These guys are similar physically. All the Giants need is for Moore to actually play like JPP if they want to have a decent pass rush this season.
That's a lot easier said than done. After JPP's unfortunate 4th of July, the Giants can no longer afford to wait for Moore to fully realize his potential. This year has to be all about production for him; the time for "potential" is over. There are no other options.
Moore has made what I would call steady gains every year of his career. He wasn't much of a factor on defense as a rookie in 2013, but he was active for 15 regular season games. That can be a victory for most rookies. Last season, Moore was active for all 16 games, and even though he didn't start any of them, he was a constant in the Giants' defensive end rotation. Most importantly, I saw his ability as a pass rusher evolve throughout the course of the year, and 3.5 of his 5.5 sacks came in the last six weeks of the season.
Moore was still rough around the edges as a pass rusher at the end of last year, but there were some promising signs. I honestly thought he would be much further along by now, after watching him in college at Texas A&M. But hey, better late than never, right?
At the beginning of last year Moore would get good extension with his arms on bull rushes, the move he used almost exclusively back then, but he just wasn't getting off those blocks well enough to actually get consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Later in the season, he was getting extension and using good escape moves, which allowed him to make more plays.
As the season went on, I also noticed that not only did Moore expand his pass rushing repertoire, he also became more adept at running around blockers as opposed to just trying to run over them.
JPP is a bull rushing fool who knows how to get into and off offensive linemen before they can clamp down on him and stop his rush. At first, I think Moore tried to emulate him a little too much without realizing he wasn't really built for that. The light started to come on around the middle of the season, and I saw a much more diverse pass rusher emerge.
Another thing that I noticed is that as Moore made more plays he suddenly started to celebrate. I will say this again: usually when young players first start making plays they are trying to not fuck up rather than trying to actually be dominant. It's like they almost forget to celebrate when they do actually make a play. But after a while, when they get more comfortable with what they are supposed to do and start expecting to make plays, that's when you see many of them start juking a little bit after big plays. That's also when you know they are close to breaking out. I expect to see a lot more dancing from Moore in 2015.
JPP's injuries are unfortunate for him, and I do wish him a speedy recovery. However, the fact remains that the Giants are going to need other folks to step up and account for that production. There's simply no way to know for sure how Pierre-Paul will bounce back from losing a finger (along with all the other physical issues resulting from that fireworks accident) or if he'll even bounce back at all.
Moore has to be ready to take a huge leap forward this year. Yeah, 5.5 sacks as a backup was none too shabby last season, but I'd expect Moore to be a lot closer to double-digit sacks this year with his expanded opportunities.