GIANTS NOTEBOOK, MAY 9, 2009
By Michael Eisen
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – No one can accuse Clint Sintim of carrying outsized expectations from his first NFL camp. Sintim and the rest of the team’s novice players participated in two more rookie camp practices today. The linebacker from Virginia was asked what kind of impression he hopes to make as a result of his performance in this weekend’s the camp. His answer demonstrated the well-grounded youngster knows all new pros face a long, arduous road, even those selected in the second round of the NFL Draft. “That I’m a good player,” Sintim said. “I was fortunate enough to be drafted, the number 45 pick. I want the coaches to know they didn’t waste a pick on me. I thought I was a solid player at Virginia, and I really think I can be a solid player in this league if I continue to work hard and do all the right things. I want the coaches to know I’m a hard worker, a good guy and just a good football player.” He’s off to a good start. Because players don’t wear pads in these spring camps, more detailed evaluations will have to wait until training camp. The coaches have kept a close eye on Sintim, whom the Giants project as a strongside backer. “A big, strong kid,” Coach Tom Coughlin said. “When he is rushing or whatever, he is a massive, strong guy. So we are seeing that. Plus, he has been in these coverage drills, and he has done okay in these coverage drills, too.” Sintim demonstrated the athleticism, quickness, speed and football instincts that prompted the Giants to make him the only defensive player among their top seven draft choices. “It is surreal,” Sintim said of joining the Giants. “The whole idea of being a New York Giant hasn’t really hit me yet. I’m in a great position. This is a great organization. It has been for quite some time. I’m just going to come in here and try to do whatever it takes to play somehow and do whatever they ask me to. So I’m all ears for whatever they have for me.” Sintim’s head coach at Virginia was Al Groh, who was a Giants assistant from 1989-91. “He said, ‘Man, this is one of the prestigious organizations,’” Sintim said. “It is one of the founders of NFL football. So really he just told me to come in here and just work hard and I’ll be ready to do whatever they tell me to do and try to come out here and work.” The Giants will be pleased if Sintim produces for them as he did for the Cavaliers. He started the final 48 games of his Virginia career and finished second in school history with 27.0 quarterback sacks, the 12th-best total on the Atlantic Coast Conference’s all-time list. Those 27.0 sacks were the most by any active linebacker in the NCAA ranks at the conclusion of the 2008 campaign. Sintim also produced 245 tackles for the Cavaliers, including 39 behind the line of scrimmage, the seventh-highest career total by a Virginia player. In 2008, Sintim was credited with 70 tackles (38 solo) and career-high totals of 13.0 tackles for losses of 90 yards and 11.0 sacks for losses totaling 86 yards. He had three sacks and three tackles for losses vs. Duke. The Giants believe Sintim can become an outstanding pass-rushing linebacker in the NFL. His biggest adjustment might be moving from the 3-4 defense used at Virginia to the 4-3 employed by the Giants. In addition, he had few coverage duties in college and will likely be asked to expand his repertoire here. “I think if you take any college player from any system and ask him to do something else, there’s going to be a learning curve,” Sintim said. “A lot of these players are doing a lot of different things that they didn’t do in college. I’m another piece of that. It’s going to be a learning curve. I’m just going to be excited to learn and get in my playbook and try to make the transition as quick as possible.” The players in this camp are asked to learn just a small portion of the playbook. But executing those few plays, even with out pads, has opened Sintim’s eyes to the difference between college football and the NFL. “Fast tempo - that is one of the first things that I noticed,” he said. “The tempo is a lot different than it was in college. There is a big emphasis on finishing. So I think that is something that I have to definitely work on.” Is it intimidating at all? “Not really intimidating, because everybody here is on the same level right now,” Sintim said. “We are all trying to come here and get better and learn the whole system. So I think really the big focus for me and a lot of other guys is really understanding the system, learning what it takes to be a New York Giant, doing all of the things right and play hard.”
In addition to teaching Sintim about the significance of the Giants franchise, Groh also told him about the many great linebackers that have worn a Giants uniform. And though he’s focusing only on his next meeting and next practice and simply trying to make a good first impression, it’s easy to imagine that Sintim has thought about one day joining that pantheon. “There’s a long tradition of great linebackers here at the Giants – Carl Banks, Lawrence Taylor, a lot of guys like that,” Sintim said. “I’m not about trying to perform to their standards. I’m just trying to perform to the standards of myself. I know what I’m capable of. I’m just going to try to continue to get better, stay humble and stay focused and take insight from some of the veterans who have been here – Danny Clark, Antonio Pierce - guys who know the system. I’m really just about learning and taking one day at a time.” *Soon after running back Andre Brown was selected by the Giants in the fourth round of the draft, his phone rang. “I was like, ‘Who is this?’” Brown said. “‘It’s Brandon.’ I’m like, ‘Brandon who?’ He said, ‘Brandon Jacobs, your new teammate.’” Jacobs, the Giants’ two-time 1,000-yard rusher and leader of their stable of running backs, was calling to welcome Brown into the group. “It made me feel a part of the team,” Brown said. “He just told me to come in here and get ready to work.” Brown joins Ahmad Bradshaw and Danny Ware as backs hoping to assume the rushing attempts not taken by Jacobs. Last year, Jacobs (1,089 yards) and Derrick Ward (1,025) became the fourth set of running back teammates in NFL history to run for more than 1,000 yards in the same season. They also accounted for 401 of the team’s 502 regular season carries (80 percent). Jacobs was close friends with Ward, who signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a free agent. The day Brown was drafted, general manager Jerry Reese said, “We think this guy is very, very similar to Derrick Ward.” The Giants will be thrilled if Brown can approach Ward’s production. “Derrick Ward was a great back here - thank you for the comparison,” Brown said to reporters yesterday. “I’m going to just go out here and play the game that I know how to play. If they want me to be that back, I can. I’m going to go out here and work hard and try to do anything I can to help this team get to a championship.” Brown, 6-0 and 224 pounds, played in 44 games with 30 starts for N.C. State and finished eighth on the school’s career rushing list with 2,539 yards, seventh with 523 carries and ninth with 22 rushing touchdowns. He also had 70 receptions and averaged 20.0 yards on 17 kickoff returns. In 2008, he started all of the Wolfpack’s 13 games and finished with career-high totals of 175 rushing attempts, 767 yards, 29 catches and nine touchdowns (seven rushing). “I’m a downhill type of back with good hands,” Brown said. “I’m comfortable catching the ball and just running with the ball.” As the only drafted running back, Brown saw plenty of action in the minicamp, which appeared at times to take its toll. “I broke a couple and I was a little slow coming back to the huddle,” Brown said. “(Coughlin) said, ‘You’re not used to getting that many carries.’ I was like, ‘I’ll try to get used to it.’ I’m fine. It was just they said finish it 25 yards down the field. I finished down there.” He’ll learn more about what’s expected of him the rest of the spring and in training camp. Brown is excited to work with running backs coach Jerald Ingram and the rest of the backs – particularly Jacobs, who is already a mentor. “That’s the man. He’s the man,” Brown said. “He’s a big dude toting that rock. I’m going to try to get under his coattails and learn a lot from him. We have a good group of backs here and Coach Ingram coach us up and I’m going to try to do anything I can to help this team. “I’m just a young pup right now. Whatever I can do to learn from him and gain that knowledge – I’m going to be a sponge. I’m going to try to learn as much from him about the game as I possibly can.” *Coughlin on William Beatty, the offensive tackle chosen in the second round: “He has gotten more of an understanding of what he is supposed to do. I know he had one mental error today, but that is expected, really, to a certain extent here. But I thought he has gotten into it and has a smile on his face and worked pretty good. This is what he really needs.” *Tight end Travis Beckum, whom the Giants believe can be a productive receiver, has caught everything thrown his way in this camp. “He is just lining up at the Y now,” Coughlin said. “He has enough to learn right there. Once he understands that part then we can do some other things. He has been deployed – as you see, we have put him in the out position and the wide position and stuff like that. So there has been a little bit of that but that certainly has not been the objective of this camp.” *Coughlin was asked if anyone in camp had surprised him. “I don’t know about surprises,” Coughlin said. “I think someone asked me about (free agent defensive lineman) Mo Evans yesterday. He has done pretty well. He had a nice practice again this morning. You look at the (Sha’reff) Rashad kid at safety. I thought he practiced pretty well. He did a couple of good things this morning. The kid from Syracuse, (Kelvin) Smith, he has done alright for himself. (Tight end Cody) Boyd helped us a lot yesterday. He practiced well, he practiced long. We were losing some guys at that position with cramping and heat. He hung in there and did a nice job and we were able to finish our practice. So I was very pleased with what he did. Andre’ Woodson – I think he has taken more charge of the drills and done a pretty good job with that. There are guys that are doing okay. There are a lot of people that flash. You get a play and you say, ‘Oh, who is that?’ A lot of people have done that.” *The rookies will return to the stadium Sunday morning for weight training and meetings. They will be back on May 18 to begin six weeks of strength and conditioning.
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