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The strangeness of the situation hit Mathias Kiwanuka less than week before opening day, the day after middle linebacker Jonathan Goff tore his ACL. He was still somewhat new to the linebacker position, but when he showed up for work that day, he felt old.
âI think when we lost Goff, just walking in the room and looking around I was kind of shocked,â he says. âLike âWow, thereâs not a lot of veterans in here.ââ
No, there werenât. The entire linebacking corps consisted of Kiwanuka, Michael Boley and four rookies – two sixth-round draft picks and two undrafted free agents – the product moncler coats on sale of one of the Tom Coughlinâs riskiest roster decisions. Goffâs injury put one rookie in the starting lineup and another in the nickel defense,moncler outlet new york Cheap Moncler Jackets Outlet Online (19).
Now one more – the hamstring jacken moncler injury that will keep Boley out against the Eagles on Sunday night – will put everything to the test, including the rookiesâ mettle, Coughlinâs faith, and the veteransâ moncler coats patience.
Not that anyone needs to tell that to the rookies. Greg Jones and Jacquian Williams have already gotten their baptism by fire, and Spencer Paysinger and Mark Herzlich always knew their numbers would be called. Itâs likely theyâll all be used in some combination and various roles on Sunday night.
Thereâll be no time for growing buy moncler coats pains either,moncler jackets online shop Cheap Moncler Jackets Outlet Online (49), because down the stretch of the NFL season the stakes moncler handbags are high.
âAs rookies itâs hard,â says Greg Jones, a sixth-rounder out of Michigan State who took over for Goff as the starting middle linebacker. âAs vets theyâve been in the system longer, theyâre playing in the NFL longer, we know what to expect from them. But for us to prove ourselves is a challenge every day.â
The Freshman Four have grown close this season, studying together, hanging together,moncler coats for sale Cheap Moncler Jackets Outle, talking about life and the NFL. Theyâre so tight, that Paysinger – undrafted out of Oregon – said the job of replacing Boley on Sunday âwill fall on the shoulders of all of us. Even though there might be one person out there working, all four of us are working together.â
It wasnât always that way. They began the summer as adversaries, because none had a lock on a roster spot and for all they knew they were competing for one job. They were bonded by their position, but little else. They all wanted what they feared one of the others had.
âIt was different in the beginning because we didnât know who was going to end up staying and who wasnât,â Jones says. âIt gets hard, especially in training camp. Weâre seeing people get cut who had lockers right next to us. Itâs just a very, very tough situation.â
Once they all made it, they became friends, even though Jones and Williams – a sixth-rounder out of South Florida, who has played extensively in the nickel – got most of the playing time while Paysinger and Herzlich had to bide their time on special teams. At some point they realized there was strength in numbers, and they wanted the same thing.
âWeâre all still competing for a job,â says Herzlich, undrafted out of Boston College. âBut one thing thatâs great about this team – especially at linebacker moncler westen – is we all want each other to do well. We all understand that winning as a team is more important than anyoneâs success. Weâre two sixth-round picks and two free agents. We donât have that (playing time) bonus or whatever. We all want to win games.â
So there was no gloating when Jones blew the coverage last week on 49ers tight end Vernon Davis, leading to a crucial touchdown in the Giantsâ 27-20 loss in San Francisco. There was no jealousy when Boley went down and Paysinger went in with, admittedly, his âmind just racing a mile a minute.â
On the sidelines they gathered together, talked things out, and make sure they were all ready for the next series. Itâll be the same on Sunday night when Jones and Herzlich could split time at middle linebacker, Williams will play in the nickel and Paysinger on the outside.
They will all be needed, because there is no other choice, and the veterans will have to trust them. So far, despite their age and inexperience, it appears they have.
âWatching how these young guys have responded to the pressure of being thrown out there,â Kiwanuka says, âIâm impressed.â
âI think the rookies have really done a good job in proving that they can be trusted,â adds Herzlich. âWe wouldnât be playing if we werenât trusted. The coaches arenât dummies. They know too. We have to earn their trust before we get on the field.â