Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
There was a time, after Michael Strahan retired following the 2007 season and Jason Pierre-Paul burst onto the scene in 2011, that Tuck was the best defensive lineman on the Giants.
Those days are well into the rearview mirror.
After recording 11.5 sacks and six forced fumbles in 2010, he only compiled nine sacks and one forced fumble combined in 2011 and 2012.
Outside of a stretch during the Giants' latest Super Bowl run when he had 5.5 sacks in six games, playoffs included, Tuck has looked like a shell of his former, dominant self.
With his skills seemingly eroding, the Giants' defensive captain will also have to deal with increased competition at defensive end this upcoming season.
Osi Umenyiora is gone, off to play for the Atlanta Falcons, but Mathias Kiwanuka looks like a good bet to take his place.
Also, the Giants selected a defensive end in the third round of the draft, Damontre Moore out of Texas A&M. Moore certainly won’t start right away, but he could become a fixture on obvious passing downs if he demonstrates an ability to get to the quarterback in training camp and early in the season.
The presence of newly signed defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins may cut into Tuck’s playing time as well. Jenkins’ ability to get to the quarterback (four sacks and 25 QB hurries in 2012 with the Philadelphia Eagles) should allow the Giants to leave him in on 3rd-and-long situations.
In recent years, the Giants liked to load the line with defensive ends on 3rd-and-long, usually with a combination of Tuck, Pierre-Paul, Umenyiora and Kiwanuka moving down from linebacker.
Tuck only saw 14 more snaps in 2012 compared to 2011, despite playing in three more games (he suited up for 15 games last year and 12 the year before). He will likely continue to see fewer snaps per game unless he can somehow regain the Pro Bowl form that has been missing for the better part of two years.