The New York Giants made the transition from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense with the hiring of former Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator, James Bettcher, this offseason. With Bettcher came several new faces on the team — two of them were familiar ones.
Both Kareem Martin and Josh Mauro were former players Arizona, which provides some familiarity with Bettcher and his system. Mauro was unexpectedly suspended for the first four-games of the season for violating the leagues substance abuse policy.
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Mauro expressed his innocence, yet took the blame for making a simple mistake:
“While I take full responsibility for this suspension, I want to clarify that my test showed traces of a banned stimulant from a pre-workout supplement bought over the counter,” Mauro said after the NFL announced his four-game suspension. “While I didn’t and would never intentionally put anything in my body that was a banned substance, I wholeheartedly honor and respect the NFL’s drug-testing policy and I take full responsibility.”
Despite his suspension, Mauro is a solid player with a lot of upside. Bettcher liked what he saw from the defensive lineman and brought the idea of re-signing him to the Giants. New general manager Dave Gettleman has built a team around his coaching staff, providing them with the tools they need to build a strong unit.
The Giants signed Mauro to a one-year deal before the suspension was announced, and it’s assumed that they knew about it before the NFL displayed the consequences. The Giants decided to stick with him and give him an opportunity that he will not take for granted. Bettcher envisions Mauro playing an essential role on the defense, especially when it comes to the culture of the football club. His character and mentality is first-class, which is a progressive change that the Giants are implementing organization wide.
“That was important because when you have leave this game … all you have is your name,” Mauro told NJ Advanced Media. “You can have your stats or whatever team or individual success you had, but it’s important for me to let everyone know the circumstances beyond that.
“I had a test the week before that and the week after it. It wasn’t an ongoing thing. It was a one-time thing that popped up, and I stand by my statement. I’m really excited to be here. [The Giants] giving me an opportunity speaks volumes.”
We can expect Mauro to return with a head of steam, as his he knows his mistake was foolish and he’s lucky to be receiving another chance. We can expect the former Cardinal to play as a rotational defensive end in the 3-4 scheme, despite starting several games for Arizona in 2017.
Since entering the league as a undrafted free agent in 2014, he’s started in 26 of 46 games. In 2017, he earned 22 total tackles with one sack. At 27-years old is primed to make a significant jump in the coming season.