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Robert Ayers Looks Forward to Fresh Start with New York Giants; Felt Misused by Denver Broncos

April 27th, 2014 at 1:00 PM
By Doug Rush

When the New York Giants lost Justin Tuck to free agency and the Oakland Raiders last month, they knew they needed to fill a void left by a nine-year veteran, defensive captain and for many years, the heart and soul of the team.

In comes Robert Ayers from the Denver Broncos, who was signed to a two-year deal and will be a part of the Giants defensive line rotation and take the spot vacated by Tuck; Ayers is even wearing Tuck's number 91 in the 2014 season too.

The one thing that Ayers doesn't have that Tuck did is the high sack totals even though he hasn't been in the league as long as Tuck, but the best season Ayers had in Denver was this past year in 2013 when he had 5.5 sacks for the AFC Champions; for his career he has just 12 sacks (Tuck had 11 sacks alone in 2013.)

Ayers signed with the Giants because of the opportunity for a fresh start and a chance to rejuvenate his career playing on a top-tier defense that allows their pass rushers to shine in Perry Fewell's system.

"The biggest thing I'm looking forward to is the fresh start," said Ayers. "I feel like the opportunity was given to me [last season] to play at a position that [allowed me to] maximize my ability. Before, it wasn't always that," said Ayers, who had flipped between a 3-4 defensive end and outside linebacker and 4-3 defensive end as the Broncos changed defenses throughout the years. I feel like I was out of position a lot of times but last year when Von was suspended, they had to play me. I was put in the situation and I was able to capitalize," he said.

Ayers talked about when he was playing behind Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil, he was at times playing out of position and not used to the best of his abilities, but once Dumervil left the team and Miller was suspended and then went down for the season with an injury, it gave Ayers the chance he needed to shine and show the Broncos exactly what he could do if played at the right spot. The Giants and Jerry Reese saw what Ayers did in 2013, which is why when they saw Tuck depart to Oakland, they jumped at the chance to take Ayers.

Ayers said the best thing to happen to him in Denver was when Jack Del Rio arrived as the team's defensive coordinator and moved him from a 3-4 defensive end/linebacker and made him into a strictly 4-3 defensive end; and the results showed.

"At times I was an outside 'backer [in Denver] and I was always dropping into coverage. And then, when coach [John] Fox got there, I was basically a 3-4 end. At 275, I'm not built like that. I don't function like that," Ayers said. "I'm not a double-team guy and that's what I was doing. When coach Del Rio got there, he quickly said, 'That's not you,’ and he put me to the open end."

Now with the Giants, Ayers will be used in the same role that Tuck was used with the Giants; a run-stuffing defensive end that will be able to get to the quarterback and get sacks when needed. If Ayers can have the kind of presence that Tuck had when he was healthy for the Giants, then the team won't miss a beat and everything will be fine on defense in 2014.

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Tags: Denver, Denver Broncos, Elvis Dumervil, Football, Jerry Reese, Justin Tuck, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Perry Fewell, Robert Ayers, Von Miller

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7 Responses to “Robert Ayers Looks Forward to Fresh Start with New York Giants; Felt Misused by Denver Broncos”

  1.  TroyThorne says:

    When Ayers was coming out he was strictly a 4-3 defensive end. Mayock even had him rated as his number one overall prospect in the entire draft. It’s true when Denver drafted him they tried to play him out of position in their 3-4 scheme and he’s one of the more interesting signings of this offseason for me because of that. I’ll be interested to see if he can become a decent passrusher or if he’s a bit “too far gone” thanks to playing out of position for his formative years in the league.

  2.  fanfor55years says:

    If JPP is healthy Ayers is the other one (in addition to Moore and Kiwi) who could shine.

    •  fanfor55years says:

      Ooops. Didn’t mean to send that off so quickly.

      Anyway, Ayers is a great example of how schemes can really set back certain players. He has a chance to become really good with the Giants (and I think that’s why Reese signed him to a two-year deal). In fact, his 5.5 sacks last season are not SO far off what Tuck’s were absent the “gimmes” he received from the putrid Skins’ offensive line. I think that Nunn has a good chance to up his game.

      My guess is that the “plan” is to draft a pass-rusher next month, re-sign JPP at his market value (whatever that is after this season), and go into 2015 with JPP, Moore maturing into a very good pass-rusher, Ayers as an excellent two-way DE, and the kid drafted this spring maturing into the rotation in his second year. I don’t think they need to use one of their first three picks to find that player, but I expect that they will go after someone whom they like.

  3.  fanfor55years says:

    Did everyone migrate to Facebook or is the site just dead in the water? We’re a few weeks from the draft and the number of comments has been trending downward for a long time. Very strange.

    •  Nosh.0 says:

      Yeah man it’s taken a dip these past few weeks. I’m sure it will pick back up on draft week/weekend then die down again until the preseason starts.

  4.  BBWC says:

    TE JerMichael Finley is having X-rays and other tests on his neck today to see if it progressed enough for doctors to clear him. If he does clear, I wonder if the Giants would be interested or be able to afford him. If we could sign him that would eliminate our need to draft a TE early in the draft.

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