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Giants' hidden treasure: Linebackers


Nas
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http://espn.go.com/blog/nfceast/tag/_/name/2012-nfl-hidden-treasure

 

 

Giants' hidden treasure: Linebackers

 

 

A year ago, an honest assessment of the New York Giants' linebacker position would have labeled it as one of the weak links of the team. The Giants appeared thin at the position, and they didn't appear to have top-line starters there, either. Linebacker was an apparent need position the Giants seemed to consistently overlook in the draft while they focused on building their defense behind a strong pass rush and secondary. A year later, though, the Giants have so much depth at linebacker that newly acquired veteran Keith Rivers doesn't look as though he can crack the starting lineup.

 

Many things went into the surprising and rapid transformation. The Giants moved Mathias Kiwanuka to linebacker on early downs last year in training camp and he took to the change. Michael Boley re-established himself as a very good player with his 2011 performance. Chase Blackburn came off the scrap heap in November and became a Super Bowl hero. A quartet of rookies gained various levels of experience as the coaches found intelligent ways to deploy them throughout the season. And then the Giants traded for Rivers. The result is a deep, varied group that allows defensive coordinator Perry Fewell a number of interesting options.

 

Boley, Blackburn and Kiwanuka project as the starters, but the team will look for ways to use Rivers. He's one of the candidates, along with second-year guys Mark Herzlich and Greg Jones, to eventually wrest the middle linebacker spot away from Blackburn if Blackburn tails off. Jacquian Williams was enough of an asset in coverage last season that the Giants may not have to use as many three-safety looks as they have in recent years. This is a group that could make Fewell's job fun. And while the emphasis in New York remains and always will remain on the front line and the back end, the Giants' defense has more options in the middle of the field than we've come to expect.

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Boley, Blackburn, Kiwi, Rivers, Williams... that's a strong group. One spot left for guys like Paysinger, Herzlich, Jones, or Sintim (wasn't even mentioned in the article). The favorite is Herzlich, I think. Sintim probably won't survive.

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Boley, Blackburn, Kiwi, Rivers, Williams... that's a strong group. One spot left for guys like Paysinger, Herzlich, Jones, or Sintim (wasn't even mentioned in the article). The favorite is Herzlich, I think. Sintim probably won't survive.

 

What spot in the draft did we pick Sintim...wow talk about a waste ...A beast against vanilla college offenses and a pussy against NFL caliber offenses. :P

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What spot in the draft did we pick Sintim...wow talk about a waste ...A beast against vanilla college offenses and a pussy against NFL caliber offenses. :P

 

If my memory serves me right he was a 4th rounder. And I def see Hertzlich making the roster and starting in 2013.

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Sintim's career has been totally derailed because of injury. He's got one more chance... got to show something in camp/preseason, and perhaps even if he doesn't make our squad, he might impress someone else to give him a shot.

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Cool article, thanks Nas!

 

Jim, I was about to post what you did about the LBs. I think Rivers is really going to impress, he's a special athlete, but at the same time I don't see who he pushes from the lineup. Boley and Kiwi are very good, and I think Williams could grow to be special. Not saying its like the days of Taylor and Carson, but I think it could be the best group the Giants have had since Armstead and Barrow, and probably a little deeper too.

 

Don't be too hard on Sintim. Injuries never gave him a chance.

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Cool article Nas but I do not understand all the Herzlich hoopla

 

The guy looked incredibly lost out there last year, when brainpower was supposed to be one of his strong suits.

 

You do not walk in to an NFL D as a lynchpin (MLBer) and "get it" as a rookie. That being said he wont learn much on the bench and

on ST either.

 

Blackburn was a large part of why we exploded at the end of the year.....key INTs, punishing tackles, smart play, many passes defended and the returned

fumble...........what the heck do you guys want Chase to do? Sprout wings?

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Blackburn was a large part of why we exploded at the end of the year.....key INTs, punishing tackles, smart play, many passes defended and the returned

fumble...........what the heck do you guys want Chase to do? Sprout wings?

 

Its great to have you back, man.

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Cool article Nas but I do not understand all the Herzlich hoopla

 

The guy looked incredibly lost out there last year, when brainpower was supposed to be one of his strong suits.

 

You do not walk in to an NFL D as a lynchpin (MLBer) and "get it" as a rookie. That being said he wont learn much on the bench and

on ST either.

 

Blackburn was a large part of why we exploded at the end of the year.....key INTs, punishing tackles, smart play, many passes defended and the returned

fumble...........what the heck do you guys want Chase to do? Sprout wings?

 

Everyone looked lost at times thanks to Fewel's early brainfarts. You really think rookies with no training camp under their belt can find their way? Many times I spotted Ross and Rolle so out of position and so slow to react I was screaming the TV and had jumped from my couch as though I'm running to defend the opposing player before they did.

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Well, I suffered for many years with Blackburn (who I considered a much better player, and more physical) sitting behind the midget

 

Now the Herzlich lovers will get a taste of that frustration

 

As the back up though you must be consumately ready to step in when you get your chance

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Great linebacker play has a lot to do with the solidness of the defensive line. The last few years, the defensive line wasn't what it used to be and linebackers had to try and clean up the mess that got through. Last year, the line started to click and hence, the linebackers were able to go on attack rather than scramble to salvage plays missed up front.

 

It's great to have so much competition at this position. I expect Herzlich to start coming into his own and becoming a starter after this season.....no matter how much Jack dislikes the guy.

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Great linebacker play has a lot to do with the solidness of the defensive line. The last few years, the defensive line wasn't what it used to be and linebackers had to try and clean up the mess that got through. Last year, the line started to click and hence, the linebackers were able to go on attack rather than scramble to salvage plays missed up front.

 

It's great to have so much competition at this position. I expect Herzlich to start coming into his own and becoming a starter after this season.....no matter how much Jack dislikes the guy.

 

by season's end Jack will be telling us, how much he always loved Herzlich and how he is everything he always wanted in a Giants LB.

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It's still way too early for big expectations for Herzlich. He's still in "make the team" mode. If we are fortunate to keep our guys healthy, he won't see many snaps outside of specials. But if he keeps working, he'll get opportunity to make his mark eventually. It sounds like he has great work ethic, and that will endear him to Coughlin. But judging what I saw in games last year, he has to improve a lot to challenge for the middle linebacker spot... and that's not likely to happen before 2013 earliest.

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It's still way too early for big expectations for Herzlich. He's still in "make the team" mode. If we are fortunate to keep our guys healthy, he won't see many snaps outside of specials. But if he keeps working, he'll get opportunity to make his mark eventually. It sounds like he has great work ethic, and that will endear him to Coughlin. But judging what I saw in games last year, he has to improve a lot to challenge for the middle linebacker spot... and that's not likely to happen before 2013 earliest.

 

I agree Jim......these guys do not want to face reality and are looking at too much film of Herzlich before he got sick in College. He is a project, and a big factor is whether his body can recover fully

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I agree Jim......these guys do not want to face reality and are looking at too much film of Herzlich before he got sick in College. He is a project, and a big factor is whether his body can recover fully

 

I think that aspect of your argument is a bit overstated. I think his body has recovered fully from the disease, otherwise he wouldn't be here. Maybe he didn't have all of his speed and agility back from BC, but I don't think that's a major concern at this point. I haven't read anything that has said his disease is holding or will hold him back anymore at this point. He's either good enough or he's not. I think he's good enough to make the team this year, but he is on the bubble, that's undeniable.

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I think that aspect of your argument is a bit overstated. I think his body has recovered fully from the disease, otherwise he wouldn't be here. Maybe he didn't have all of his speed and agility back from BC, but I don't think that's a major concern at this point. I haven't read anything that has said his disease is holding or will hold him back anymore at this point. He's either good enough or he's not. I think he's good enough to make the team this year, but he is on the bubble, that's undeniable.

 

but jack said he read an article that said that. and we know he's never made shit up in the past.

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I read it, and he admitted it. I wish I could remember where

 

Use your common sense........how many cancer survivors are in the NFL?

 

There's no reason with remission and rehab that a guy can't get back to 100%, unless he had a major organ removed or something of that nature. There's also that guard for New England last year, he was drafted even though he was being treated for cancer at the time.

 

Herzlich is a couple of years removed from cancer at this point, I do believe. Now I can see that it may take some time to develop your strength and speed work to get all the way back, but at this point, he should be very close to what he was before, and certainly by next year assuming there's no re-occurence.

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Lol that was one rosy description of our linebackers. Boley when healthy is our best linebacker no question. Kiwanuka has settled In at linebacker and looks great.

 

Then we have the others:

 

Blackburn is a smart veteran who peaked long ago. Williams has the greatest potential of the linebackers left to be mentioned.

Jones/herzlich/paysinger were ineffective last season outside of special teams. Much room for improvement.

 

Sintim experiment should be over but worry not, we now have Rivers. Never seen him play but first rounders that don't pan out with their first team have a hard time recovering. I cant think of one in the last ten years.

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Our LBs are OK, here's how I rank em

 

Class A: Boley. If this guy goes down, our whole D takes a huge hit. Big time player for

Us in out scheme.

 

Class B

Kiwi (getting better and better at Lb)

JaQuain (Boley part two, with even more upside)

Rivers (let's see)

 

Class C

Blackburn (smart, savy, high motor) (limited skill.)

Herzlich (all upside and flash)

 

Class D

Jones (looked disappointing as a LB, but has a career in the NFL due to his strong ST play and high motor)

Paysinger (see nothing in this guy, he's athletic

And decent on STs.)

The rest...

 

Overall I love our LBs and how versatile some

Of them are and how athletic the group of Boley, Rivers and Jaquain can be I'd on the field

At the same time.

 

However, Boley is the key to our LB play. Dudes a beast who has gotten better each year here.

 

The two players that hold this D together at LB and DB are Boley and Phillips. When they missed games last year our D was putrid and utterly appalling during those games.

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