A number of inside linebackers, even Blake Martinez, will compete for a noteworthy starting role on this Giants roster.
Joe Judge seemingly adores the competition aspect of this great American sport.
To the point where the Giants depth chart is essentially empty to commence training camp.
Everyone must earn their respective role — that includes Daniel Jones, Leonard Williams, and Kenny Golladay.
And even though he led the team in tackles last year, that includes inside linebacker Blake Martinez as well.
“I think there’s competition every day; I can’t go out there and say, ‘I’m starting.’ It’s something you want to work at every single day to get better. You got to keep improving,” Martinez told the media Wednesday. “Coach Judge talks about it all the time — we don’t have starters, you have to earn it. And that’s the thing no matter what. I go out there every day saying, ‘Hey, I’m going to be the guy out there.’ It’s not ‘Hey, I’m already the guy.’
“Throughout the group, I think we all have that same thought process and we put in the work every single day and make each other better — iron sharpens iron.”
Now let’s not be ridiculous here.
Competition is competition, and Martinez will surely give his all for a starting role. But it’s tough to imagine a situation in which the Giants don’t perceive the 2020 free-agent acquisition as their top inside linebacker in Patrick Graham’s 3-4 scheme.
Needless to say, Martinez will assume a noteworthy role every single game, barring injury or horrific struggles (the latter of which aren’t expected to arrive).
That alternative inside linebacker spot in the 3-4, however, isn’t set in stone. Is Tae Crowder the guy after a promising 2020 rookie campaign? Does the team roll the dice with Cam Brown or Carter Coughlin? Will there be a matchup-based rotation at that spot?
Regardless, Martinez will likely be confident in whoever is on the field.
“I think we have a lot of guys across the board — Devante [Downs], Reggie [Ragland], Tae [Crowder], the list goes on,” Blake said. “Those types of guys who are coming into work every single day, understanding the situations, understanding their job responsibilities, their athletic skill sets — it’s going to make for an awesome training camp. And like I said: iron sharpens iron. I think each and every one of us, whoever ends up out there for Week 1, is going to be ready to go.”
For the younger options, the upcoming preseason games are huge (they would’ve been huge last year had they not been victims of COVID-19-related cancellations).
Expect Crowder, Brown, and Coughlin (all second-year players) to potentially see significant reps this Saturday night against the Jets.
As for Martinez, the 27-year-old will probably watch much, if not all, of the matchup from the MetLife Stadium sidelines.
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