By Michael Stewart/@golferbad
This is part 1 of 10 in a series of player spotlights that you will see over the next few months. The selected players will be who I believe are the key to the success at that position in 2020. First up is the ILB position for the Giants; which has been ignored prior to this season.
The New York Giants needed a boost at the Inside linebacker position with the release of Alec Ogletree and the season-ending injury to rookie Ryan Connelly; the Giants went to free agency and signed Blake Martinez from the Green Bay Packers.
Leader on & off the field:
Martinez was the leader for the Packers defense and led the team in tackles over the past three seasons totally 443 during that time. What Martinez brings to the table instantly for the Giants is a leader who will be a tackling machine to compliment the Giants defensive front and lead by example.
It is unclear who will be starting beside Martinez as the early candidates are David Mayo and Ryan Connelly. Mayo has the early edge due to Connelly’s recovery from an ACL injury in 2019.
The Giants should have a deeper group of ILB once the season opens and Blake Martinez will more than likely be the defensive captain and provide solid run support; which was an Achilles heel for the Giants in 2019 surrendering 113.3 yards per game. Overall, the Giants struggled defensively in all areas and with the main addition of Blake Martinez, the Giants are heading in the right direction.
Personally, I believe Martinez will not only bring his talents on the field for the Giants but also his leadership traits and work ethic will transcend over to the other players defensively. Martinez will create a different mindset that should be evident in the first pre-season game. The Giants haven’t had this type of ILB since Aaron Pierce and it’s been long overdue.