Even though the New York Giants inked a deal with Dan Connor in the offseason to become the starting middle linebacker in the fall, Mark Herzlich is making a strong case to win the job. Does Herzlich have what it takes to be named the starter next season?
Connor by far has the more NFL experience between the two players after playing in 56 career games with the Carolina Panthers and Dallas Cowboys. Not to mention his 212 total tackles heavily outweigh Herzlich’s 42 that he has posted in 27 games over the past two seasons.
With that being said, Herzlich is the one who has been making strides in organized team activities. Not to mention, it has been reported that he will be the top dog on the depth chart once training camp opens up.
“I think it’s mine to secure,” Herzlich said, according to Giants.com. “I don’t think anyone is handing anybody anything, but I feel like if I work hard and play well, then I have a good shot at hopefully making a difference for the team.”
Herzlich believes that getting the opportunity to play with the first team defense in OTAs and minicamp has improved his skills dramatically. It also has raised his confidence to the point that he believes he can be a big-time playmaker and a difference maker for New York in 2013. The good news is he is not the only person who believes this.
“(He has been) very commanding,” defensive coordinator Perry Fewell told Giants.com. “He’s taken a leadership role out there and I think he has some good respect from his teammates in some of the things he’s done in the OTAs. Obviously, we want to find out what happens when the pads come on.”
As of right now, it appears it is Herzlich’s job to lose, which is something he must take seriously. Connor is not going to just lie down and accept that Herzlich is the starter based on the fact he has been working with the first team defense in minicamp. There is plenty of time left to make a difference in the eyes of the coaches.