The defending champions got back to work this week with voluntary workouts and to a man they’re not willing to revel in the past.
This week’s session of workouts is a prelude to next week’s draft frenzy when new faces will be added to old familiar faces, looking to compete — and in some cases — steal jobs. Cornerback Prince Amukamara and weakside linebacker Michael Boley may be the ones most affected with the player movement this offseason, as the Giants will look to add players at their respective positions.
Boley, who earned his first Super Bowl ring last season, already has competition at his spot when the Giants traded for fellow weakside linebacker Keith Rivers last week. Rivers, a former Bengals first-round pick, is thought to be the new weakside linebacker, which may force Boley to move to the middle. Should that happen — and general manager Jerry Reese shockingly alluded to such a scenario a few days ago — Boley said it’ll be an adjustment, but one he’ll have no choice but to make.
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“It’s basically been my role here anyway,” Boley said when asked if it’d be a big adjustment. He added he’s played the middle anyway when the Giants go to a nickel-back formation. “They haven’t officially asked me anything yet. I’m just trying to work hard, [but] it was a little bit of surprise [to hear Reese’s statement]. Anything can happen. … But if I had to, I can play anything to keep my job.”
Amukamara is also certain to be in a heated competition to see who lines up across from starter Corey Webster at cornerback. The Giants lost starter Aaron Ross to free agency (Jacksonville), but filled that void by re-signing two of their own last month — Terrell Thomas, who missed all of last season with a torn ACL, and backup Michael Coe. Big Blue also added former Patriots cornerback Antwaun Molden last week to form a deep secondary. The team is also certain to add at least another cornerback in the draft, a team official said.
Amukamara, who is recovering from yet another procedure on his ailing foot, said he understands the business side of things and has no ill will towards the team trying to cover all bases. He then added whatever direction the team decides to go, he’ll be up to the challenge.
“There’s going to be a lot of DBs in camp, but for sure I’m coming in to be the other starter,” Amukamara said. “I’m competitive and being on the bench last year never sat well with me. But every year is a new year and you have to prove yourself all over again. I’ll still come in hungry and humble.”
Amukamara had a stunted rookie season last year due to a broken bone in his foot. Already behind the eight ball with the lockout and then a lengthy holdout, Amukamara then injured his foot in the first drill of his very first training camp practice. He said he felt “100 percent” once the season ended, but the team doctors thought otherwise and he went in for another procedure on his foot — a surgery that is already popular amongst the team. Running back Ahmad Bradshaw’s foot injuries are notorious, so to help his recovery process, doctors took stem cells from his hip bone and injected them into his foot. The results have been stellar for the running back, so the doctors did the same for Amukamara.
So far, so good, said the second-year player.
“It was a great decision to get the procedure,” he said of the mid-March injection. “I’m already feeling it [heal]. I’m not ready to run yet, but I’m most definitely sure I’ll be running with no problem come training camp.”
Amukamara smiled when recalling the visit to the doctors when he told them he felt fine, but they thought otherwise.
“At first, I felt like I was 100 percent, but the doctors do a great job and they know more than I do and they said otherwise. So we got the procedure. I trust them and they did a great job,” he said. “I’d say the last couple of weeks I was getting back to my old self, but I’m not 100 percent yet. … But I’m just looking forward to a full offseason. Between the lockout and my injury I didn’t get the reps last year and that was a setback; so I’m just happy to get back to work. It’ll help to get more reps in this offseason and put in more time and also to be able to chat with the coaches when we’re allowed to.”
Big Blue notes
»Amukamara said the biggest difference from being a wide-eyed rookie last year on a team looking to bounce back from a disappointing season the previous season to now being a second-year vet coming off a championship season is everyone’s demeanor: “It’s a great feeling [to return to workouts as a champion] but it’s a different feeling than last year. The vibe around here now is to forget about last year because it’s a whole new year.”
»Former Cowboys tight end Martellus Bennett said he has no ill will towards the team that let him walk for free: “Hate is a strong word, but to me it’s just playing another team,” he said when asked if he can now go from being a Cowboy to hating them. He added new teammate Justin Tuck can hate the Cowboys however much he chooses. “That’s Tuck, though. I’m just going to play hard against them, as I do against any other team, [but] they’re gonna have to see me, though.”
»Boley said he has no plans to add extra bulk to his 230-pound frame to better fit the middle linebacker role should that be the route the team has him take.
»Wideout Victor Cruz said he’s not paying too much attention to the contact talks and just wants to focus on football: “That’ll take care of itself. I have people for that at DSI Sports. I want to be a guy that doesn’t hold out [because] anytime I get a chance to be in an NFL locker room is special.”
Cruz added that he worried about public sentiment when he stated in a national radio interview that he wanted more money: “That [any backlash] was one of my biggest fears, but to me the context I used wasn’t being selfish. But the media has a way of using bits and pieces. … That’s why I stopped talking about it.”
Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8 for all your offseason news.