It's been a relatively rough offseason for New York Giants defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka. It began with a forced pay cut — something that, admittedly, made him very angry with the team — and continued when he was named the "most overrated" member of Big Blue. But despite the doubt and negativity, Kiwi says he's heading into training camp feeling great, happy to be where he is and motivated to have the greatest season of his career.
"I want to have my personal best season and get a championship out of it," Kiwanuka told Giants.com. "I feel great about where I am physically and mentally going into this season. I'm ready to have a great year."
Despite the negativity and doubt, Kiwi actually had one his better seasons from the defensive end position in 2013. He finished second on the team in sacks (6.0) behind the now departed Justin Tuck, and played a relatively important role due to the lingering injury issues with Jason Pierre-Paul. Still, it was still a far cry from an impactful season, and something he'll absolutely have to improve upon in 2014.
If Kiwanuka is truly looking for a breakout or career best-type of season, he's going to have to put up numbers that far exceed the ones he put up in 2008 when he recorded 51 tackles, eight sacks and five stuffs. And he'll have to do that while assuming Tuck's old role, which saw him featured as a pass rushing defensive end, a stand-up defensive end and, at times, a linebacker who dropped into coverage.
Of course, the luxury for Kiwi in that regard is his experience at both defensive end and linebacker, where he's been flip-flopped regularly. But he must also take into consideration that his success will hinge on what Jason Pierre-Paul — who is also looking to have a career best/breakout-type year — brings to the table.
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