Thursday, March 25, 2010

Gerris In The Middle

Oft-injured linebacker Gerris Wilkinson has been told through "a third party" that he's going to see a lot of work in the middle linebacker spot this training camp, and will certainly be in the mix to permanently replace the departed Antonio Pierce.

GM Jerry Reese did say at the owners meeting this week that he believes his roster is already peopled with potential replacements for Pierce. This makes it obvious he thinks Wilkinson could be one of them.

Of course, Wilkinson will have much company. Jonathan Goff started there last year, as did Chase Blackburn. And then there's always Bryan Kehl, or a future free agent pickup, or maybe a draft pick like Rolando McClain.

Competition is nothing new to him, of course. Staying healthy for a whole year might be. Wilkinson lasted only nine games before hitting the injured reserve list Nov. 11 with a dislocated wrist. But, if nothing else, Wilkinson will go into a position where he's had some familiarity, even if it goes back to his college days at Georgia Tech.

"I played there my first two years in college," Wilkinson said. "I'd love to play there."

Wilkinson said he hasn't had any in-depth chats with new defensive coordinator Perry Fewell, only enough for Fewell to tell him that "we have some new stuff coming in,'' according to Wilkinson. But he has watched some of Fewell's scheming from Buffalo.

"It's not so much different than most 4-3 teams," Wilkinson said. "With the Mike linebackers, it's really similar coverages. Nothing too crazy."

Still, the man that has played both the strong and weakside spots is thinking middle right now. He said his range and sideline-to-sideline pursuit ability should enable him to make inroads there. And he said he wouldn't be adverse to wearing the microphone helmet, though weakside starter Michael Boley said he fully expects to continue in the command role he took over when Pierce went down with a neck injury before the Atlanta game Nov. 22.

"Just knowing the defense and knowing where everybody needs to be, I've been here for a while now and I know the guys," Wilkinson said. "From a leadership standpoint, that doesn't hurt."

He'll take what he learned from Pierce over his first four years.

"Ever since I got here, AP was the leader in that linebacker room," he said. "I tried to pick up everything I could on how you study films, how you prepare for games, how you study your opponent. For me, mainly, the mental side is what I tried to learn from him.

"It was hard to get information from him. He wasn't a super-open guy, but I tried to get as much as I could."

As for the present and future company on the depth chart, he's ready to handle that, too.

"It's nothing new," Wilkinson said. "I've been battling for a different spot every year, with free agents coming in and drafted guys coming in. This is nothing new. It's up to the coaches."

Actually, it will be up to Wilkinson, one of the few special teams standouts last year, to take that step up.



  1. If he can stay healthy than he can be a playmker, it's just that he has a knack for the injury bug. I have an interesting scenario. The Rams hold the 1st pick in the 2nd round correct. After the 1st round ends teams will have a whole day to evaluate their draft boards rather than the hour or so between rounds in the past. Lets just say the Giants see someone they really really want. I can see Osi going to the Rams on the 2nd day for their pick.

  2. This is a very telling sign if this is true. Not only are they content with the talent on the roster at the position, the Giants seem to be comfortable with selecting BPA in the draft.

  3. If I were him, I would worry about actually being healthy for more than a week. Whenever I see his name, I have to remind myself that the dude is a Giant. It seems like he would break a hip getting hit by a feather pillow!

  4. This guy can't be relied on at all. Interesting that they are going to try him at MIKE, but to me its a non story, cause he will inevitably get hurt anyway.

  5. Regardless of how anyone feels about Gerris Wilkinson, the more important piece to this story is how the Giants perceive their talent at the LB position. They seem to believe that the state of the LB position is comparable to the WR position of last year. I mean, I guess Reese has a point, but it still seems to be far-fetched.

    Wishful thinking, maybe we're 1 Hakeem Nicks player on defense from turning this around.

  6. I don't know if they're content with the status quo. I'll wait until after the draft to make a decision on that.

    But they did sign a safety (Rolle) and I think they have to assume whether it were injuries (Alford, Tuck) or poor performance (Kiwi, Canty, Osi) that the D-line will be better this season.

    And there was only one legit LB in free agency, but he was paid a fortune and is already 30 (Dansby). I would definitely look hard for a LB early in the draft, but if none is available either trade back or pick the best player available.

  7. Dan, i think you're begin a bit unfair on Canty and Osi there; yes, they both didn;t perform, but Osi was coming back off an injury which many medical people said wouldn't be fully healed till his season and Canty was injured all through last season. and Kiwi played pretty well, i though.

  8. Smoke Screen...pure and simple. Jerry doesn't want to tip his hand. They want McClain so don't be fooled. JR is just playing the draft game.

    Chris B.

  9. I agree with those that believe OSI will end up with Spags in St. Louis and we get their #2. Rams are still trying to decide if Bradford is their QB future and would not want to miss the opportunity. If they go with Suh at DL for #1 then a DE such as Osi is marginalized and he will be with Giants or another bidder for his potential. Sad that his injury is still there whether physical or mental, always tough to come back at the same skill level and abandon that was there before the injury. They also know that the big bucks might disappear within a year with less playing time and a new team might prove the equalizer for all.