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Herzlich to start?


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Mark Herzlich preparing as if he's New York Giants starter

  • Associated Press
  • Published: Nov. 1, 2012 at 07:04 a.m.
  • Updated: Nov. 1, 2012 at 09:04 a.m.

 

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants middle linebacker Mark Herzlich isn't preparing any differently for Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. It's just a little more exciting for the cancer survivor who was the feel-good story of last season after making the Giants' roster.

 

Herzlich has a chance to get back in the starting lineup with Chase Blackburn nursing a hamstring injury.

 

Blackburn, who was hurt in the Giants' 29-24 win over Dallas, did not practice Wednesday. He spent the warm-up riding a stationary bike.

 

"This week is a big week for our team and for me especially," said Herzlich, who started two games last season before being sidelined with an ankle injury. "If I get a chance to go out there and start, then I'll go out there and make the most of it."

 

Herzlich had a tackle and two special-teams tackles against Dallas on Sunday, and he knows how important his job will be against the Steelers.

 

"A lot of the focus every week goes toward getting ready to go in just in case Chase's shoe comes untied or something like that and I have to go in and get some plays," Herzlich said. "So the preparation will be basically the same. Obviously, it's going to be a little bit more intense during practice, which is what I would rather have anyway."

 

The big concern for Herzlich would be running back Jonathan Dwyer, who has rushed for more than 100 yards in each of the Steelers' last two games. The Giants are not going to beat Ben Roethlisbergerunless they can make him more of a one-dimensional quarterback.

Coach Tom Coughlin believes Herzlich will be ready to go. There was a point in training camp when the second-year player from Boston College was going to push Blackburn for the starting job.

 

"He's obviously studied and been in the same room with Chase and knows a lot of those mannerisms," Coughlin said. "If Chase is able to go, fine. If he's not able to go, I'm sure he'll be a big help to Mark this week or to any number of linebackers depending on the personnel set that we're in."

 

Besides Blackburn, center David Bass (ankle-elbow), running back Ahmad Bradshaw (foot), tight endBear Pascoe (ankle), linebacker Keith Rivers (calf), safety Antrel Rolle (concussion) and linebacker Jacquian Williams (knee) did not practice.

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Herzlich will do a good job. He's tough and athletic, but more importantly, he's a cerebral type player that (like Eli) spends far more time going over game film than his counterparts and is learning the multitudes of offensive schemes and what they mean to the defense.

 

Eli is a cerebral QB that reads the defense like a well paid defensive coordinator. Herlich isn't there yet, but in another year or two, he's going to be the equivilent of a defensive QB by reading the offense's setups like a well paid offensive coordinator.

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