Giants' second-year LB Mark Herzlich has been reportedly working out like mad in order to compete for a spot on the suddenly-crowded LB corps. He got a chance to show his stuff last year, playing in 11 games and starting two before a broken ankle effectively ended his season.
The 24 year-old UDFA out of Boston College spent most of last season answering questions about his battle with bone cancer. His story has been a compelling and inspirational one, but he's putting that all behind him. He doesn't forget his ordeal, he does endless charity work and countless appearances.
That aside, Herzlich knows the Giants are beefing up their back seven on defense in preparation of their Super Bowl title defense and Herzlich knows he will have to earn a roster spot.
“It’s mine for the taking,” Herzlich told the Star-Ledger in April. “I wish the best for everybody else, but it’s still a competition. I want the team to do well, and if it’s not the spot that the coaches want me in, then that’s one thing. But the way I look at it is, there is a place that I can play and I don’t want anyone to take that away from me.”
In minicamp, DC Perry Fewell cited Herzlich's progress....
"He’s done some nice things. When you see that, you want to expand him a little bit more. You want him to grow some more."
Herzlich hopes he gets that shot. While his teammates are taking a break this summer, he'll be working out and staying focused. From Zach Norman of bettor.com:
“For me, this is enjoying myself," Herzlich said about his workout sessions. "If I went somewhere and took weeks off, I’d be mad at myself that I wasn’t working out, because this is enjoying myself.”
He appeared on WEEI Radio in Boston with Dennis and Dale this week. Unfortunately, the hosts were more fixated on the Jets' clusterbleep at QB then they were on the team that's beaten them in the Super Bowl twice in the past five years.
Herzlich takes the high road, and even admits he roots for the Jets when they are not playing his Giants, of course.
Here is the transcript of the show courtesy sportsradiointerviews.com:
In terms of Tim Tebow with the Jets what is life like in New York? How hard is it to adjust?
“The good thing is we are outside of the city. We are in [New] Jersey and the Jets are farther away from us. The city is great because it has a lot of good opportunities in terms of marketing and branding. You can really avoid it if you want to. It’s not that hard to stay away from the craziness in Manhattan and Brooklyn, but it definitely is also a place where if you are a guy that wants to get mixed up in parties like that and stuff like that you can. I don’t think Tebow will. I think he should have a pretty good time staying away from that whole aspect.”
Can you describe the relationship of the Jets and Giants? Who do you hate more? New York Jets? New England Patriots?
“Well I don’t hate either right now because we just won the Super Bowl. I am all smiles, but I think in the city people are either Jets fans or Giants fans. If one is in the Super Bowl I think everyone kind of roots for New York. It’s kind of everyone has pride in the city, but definitely are loyal to their one certain team. As a Giant I root for the Jets to do well when they are playing. When we are playing them I don’t want them to do very well, but it’s the kind of thing we take pride in New York regardless.”
How does this football team and coaching staff resist the human nature of having a Super Bowl hang over? What is the approach to defend this Super Bowl title?
“I think that as amazing as last year was there is still a bitter taste in our mouth from that four game stretch where we lost. Everyone really remembers that feeling all too well and playing just for survival just to get into the playoffs and just to do that type of thing, that’s not where we want to be at half way through the season. We want to put ourselves in position earlier to get that playoff spot and then to repeat what we did last year at the end of the season. We kind of hit the ground running at mini camp and everybody has the confidence of the end of the season and also the desire from the middle of the season, so if we can keep that same mentality going and working in our favor it will definitely show when we get on the football field in September.”
Purely hypothetical question: Tom Coughlin decides in the offseason to bring Tim Tebow to the Giants so he can run the ‘Wildcat.’ How would that make you feel as a Giant?
“I can’t really talk for Eli Manning. I think we love Eli and he has done amazing things for us and he will continue to do amazing things for us. I think if Tebow was on our team or if anyone was on our team to help us get an extra spark to win games say you had Ahmad Bradshaw in the ‘Wildcat’ position and Eli was off the field. If that gave us a better opportunity at changing up the offense and winning then that could be helpful. I think we obviously did not do that and that shows that we want the ball in Eli’s hand every down. I think that whatever helps the team win or whatever happens in that sense could be good for our organization.”