(Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
The Giants have lacked quality at the linebacker position for years now.
Of course, MLB Antonio Pierce is one of the best in the business at lining everybody up and reading offensive audibles, but recently his flanking SAM and WILL linebacker positions have served as a turnstile each offseason. There has been depth, but not necessarily "star" quality.
Some examples include: Carlos Emmons, LaVar Arrington, Kawika Mitchell, Mathias Kiwanuka, Gerris Wilkinson, Reggie Torbor, Chase Blackburn, and Bryan Kehl. Needless to say, there has been little in the way of consistency for Big Blue's linebacker positions.
This year should be different though. An aging Antonio Pierce is still a lock at middle linebacker, and with the addition of Michael Boley on the weak side, already the corps is looking to be more solidified.
It should be noted, however, that Boley will be serving a one-game suspension for the season opener, so Bryan Kehl, Gerris Wilkinson, and Chase Blackburn will be jockeying for the interim position.
My money would be on Bryan Kehl to win that spot in training camp, but it's always hard to predict who will step up when we're talking about "pre" preseason.
On the strong side, 32-year-old Danny Clark looks to retain his position, but faces stiff competition from rookie Clint Sintim (as seen in the picture, now sporting Kiwi's old number). I would expect Danny Clark to keep his starting spot for at least the first four or five weeks of the regular season. This is primarily because of his knowledge of the defensive schemes and system having already played a year in it.
I still think that with the athletic intangibles that Sintim possesses, it will only be a matter of time before he slides into the starting role. And although Zak DeOssie is listed as a SAM linebacker, I would expect most of his contributions to come from long-snapping and special teams (that is if he makes the team).