EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — With the playoffs in doubt again, General Manager Jerry Reese wants to see more from the New York Giants when they return from the bye against the Indianapolis Colts.
Reese, who built two Super Bowl championship teams after taking over in 2007, wants more big plays from his offense and more on defense — Damontre Moore, that is.
A third-round draft pick a year ago, Moore is a freakish athlete with an ability to get to the passer and make big plays. The defensive end also is someone who can miss his assignments and struggle against the run.
It’s the type of inconsistency that drives his coaches nuts.
But the big play is something the Giants (3-4) need heading into the Nov. 4 game against the Colts (5-3) if they want to get back on track and avoid a third straight season out of the playoffs.
Getting the big play on offense this week might be difficult with No. 1 running back Rashad Jennings out again with a knee injury and the offense still looking to find itself after losing top receiver Victor Cruz to a knee injury against Philadelphia on Oct. 12.
Asking Eli Manning to force things could lead to turnovers.
Having Moore deliver on defense is more likely, especially against Andrew Luck and a top-ranked Colts’ offense that leads the league in passing. More throws. More chances for Moore.
“I think I could make some things happen, but only time will tell,” said Moore, who has two sacks in limited action this season. “Once we get out there, I just know when my name’s called, I’ll be ready. I can’t wait. I’ve got a lot of things to prove to people.”
Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell has wanted to give Moore additional playing time all season, but things haven’t worked out. One problem has been the defense has struggled against the run, and that had reduced the number of times the Giants shift in pass-rushing formations.
“We would all like to see him play more obviously. He is a talented guy,” Fewell said. “I think we are all kind of waiting for him to come out of his shell and be consistent in what he does so that we can put him in the football game and get him more snaps.”
Reese, who drafted Moore in the third round, has seen enough of the former Texas A&M product to know he can jumpstart a team that needs to end a two-game losing streak. The second-year player showed flashes in the preseason.
“It seems like when he gets in the game, he makes something happen,” Reese said of Moore, who also has a blocked punt on special teams. “I think he’s progressing, but I think he needs to play a little bit more.”
With veteran lineman Cullen Jenkins out with a calf injury, the chances of Moore getting on the field also increase.
“To do it on Monday night against Andrew Luck, with people putting him up there with one of the best quarterbacks in the game. If I can go out there and have a great game against him, and we need to do what we need to do to get a W, that would be the icing on the cake.”
The Colts are going to be motivated. They had their five-game winning streak snapped in a 51-34 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers last week.
Luck, who has thrown for at least 300 yards the past six games, was sacked twice, hit seven times and threw two interceptions in the loss.
It was probably the most pressure he had seen in weeks, and the Giants hope to bring just as much with Moore in the package.
“It’s a very solid front, a very solid front with some great guys with great experience, especially on the edges,” Colts center Jon Harrison said. “As long as we communicate and keep on the same page, we should have some success.”
The key for the Colts will be running the ball with former Giant Ahmad Bradshaw as well as Trent Richardson. Philadelphia and Dallas both had big games on the ground and that allowed Nick Foles and Tony Romo to stand in the pocket and pick apart the defense.
“He’s a big quarterback, he’s talented, he’s got a tremendous arm, but he also has speed. That’s what a lot of people forget,” Moore said of Luck. “With him being a combination of being that big and having that giddy-up to him, it makes it that much harder, because you don’t know if you have to pay attention to him coming on a scramble or is he going to bomb it deep.”
(TOM CANAVAN, AP Sports Writer)