“Low risk, high reward” is the atrocious phrase the New York Giants have used to cover up their weakness at the linebacker position. This group has the most to prove and is the weakest defensive unit on the team. The new phrase the Giants should utilize instead is “low priority, meager results” to describe their current linebacker corps.
Not long ago names such as Lawrence Taylor and Harry Carson made up the most feared unit of the Giants defense earning the nickname the Big Blue Wrecking Crew, but today’s Giants’ linebackers are unheralded. This may be just a progression of the position, but other teams such as the San Francisco 49ers or the Denver Broncos have punishing bruisers making big plays behind the defensive line.
Instead of drafting talented linebackers Giants’ GM Jerry Reese’s philosophy has been to gamble on veteran and undrafted free agent signings.
Dan Conner was a free agent signing from the Dallas Cowboys on a one-year veteran minimum contract. He will compete with Mark Herzlich, Kyle Bosworth and Jake Muasau for the middle linebacker position vacated by Chase Blackburn who signed with the Carolina Panthers.
Bosworth is the nephew of former Seattle Seahawk Brian Bosworth whose career didn’t live up to the hype. He is said to be a hard worker with an outside chance of making the team at middle or outside linebacker or being a contributor on special teams.
Muasau is a retread with the team who was cut last year and picked up for another go around at camp. He also has a tough uphill road ahead of him in order to make the team.
At strong side linebacker the competition will be between Keith Rivers and newly signed Aaron Curry. Expect Curry to back up Rivers as he learns the defense. This is Rivers’ job to lose so expect him to start week one.
Weak side will be a battle between Jacquain Williams and Spenser Paysinger. They will both make the team but will sort out who starts at training camp.
The Giants will carry six linebackers with Conner and Herzlich at middle linebacker, Rivers and Curry at the strong side and Williams and Paysinger at the weak side. Defensive end Damontre Moore could be used on the strong side too as he has been practicing from this position at OTAs.