East Notes: Kiwanuka, Johnson, Redskins, ‘Fins

In his annual exercise naming the most overrated and underrated player on each team, Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com highlighted Mathias Kiwanuka as the Giant who isn’t living up to expectations. The advanced metrics bear that out — the 31-year-old Kiwanuka, who might be living off his first-round pedigree at this point, graded as the third-worst 4-3 defensive end in the NFL last season per Pro Football Focus (subscription required). The Giants apparently also noticed a degradation of eight-year veteran’s skills — they required him to take a pay cut in March.

More from New York and the league’s two East divisions:

  • With Jon Beason likely to miss some regular season action with a foot injury, Jameel McClain is poised to take over at middle linebacker for the Giants, writes Dan Graziano of ESPN.com in his latest mailbag. In that scenario, 2011 sixth-rounder Jacquian Williams would become the starter at weakside linebacker.
  • For a rookie playing in a complicated offense, Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson didn’t perform all that poorly in 2013. But, as he tells Sheil Kapadia of PhillyMag.com, Johnson wants to show marked improvement next season. “I’m trying to be a dominant player. I know I have the ability,” said the 24-year-old. “It’s just a matter of being consistent with it because there’s times where I showed flashes of being a really good player, and then there’s other times where I didn’t. So I’m just trying to be more consistent this year.”
  • In a discussion examining potential 2014 breakout Redskins, Rich Tandler and Tarik El-Bashir of CSNWashington.com spotlighted running back Roy Helu and tight end Niles Paul, deducing that a pass-happy, Jay Gruden-led offense will lead to plenty of offensive production to go around.
  • Center Ted Larsen is hoping to break camp with the Dolphins following Mike Pouncey‘s injury, and is just one of several Miami undrafted rookies to watch for in 2014, according to James Walker of ESPN.com.
  • The Dolphins have officially begun renovations on Sun Life Stadium, the team announced on Twitter. The refurbishment is expected to include (via Fox Sports Florida) all new seating, concourse and concession upgrades, and new video screens, and will conclude before the 2016 season.
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