No practice or media access for the New York Giants today. Since they are taking a day off from Giants Training Camp, so am I, enjoying the gorgeous summer weather spending a little time at our summer place in the Adirondack Mountains.
Here is a Q&A freelance writer Gail Bahr did with second-year linebacker Clint Sintim to help you pass the time on a day without practice reports. At least no one can get hurt.
Q. You’re the odds on favorite to start at SAM this year. You had a lot of adjustments to make as a rookie coming from a 3-4 line in college. Which of the linebacker positions did you play at Virginia?
A: I played on both outside positions. Playing on both sides I was kind of like a defensive end and a linebacker.
Q. What determined when you played where?
A: Toward the end of my career it just depended on where the coach thought they were going to run the ball. So while I played on the strong side, it varied from week to week depending on where the coach thought I could make the most plays.
Q. Had you the expectation that you’d start last year or did you think it would take your rookie season to make the transition from a 3-4 at the collegiate level to a 4-3 in the NFL?
A: I came in here with the mindset that I just wanted to play and have as much of an impact as I could. It didn’t work out as such but last year was still a great opportunity for me because I learned a lot from Danny (Clark) and Antonio (Pierce) and they helped make me a better player this year. Everything happens for a reason and I’m excited about this year.
Q. You sound disappointed about last year and I imagine the entire defense is equally disappointed. If you had to grade your rookie performance, what grade would you give yourself?
A: I’m pretty tough on myself so I wouldn’t give myself the best grade but…
Q. Would you give yourself a B grade then?
A: No, I wouldn’t even go that high.
Q. A C grade then?
A: No, I’m very realistic. Last year I feel that I had an opportunity and I don’t think I capitalized on that opportunity. This year I’m just trying to do that and capitalize on the opportunities I have in front of me and just make the most of this situation.
Q. How comfortable do you feel dropping into coverage now?
A: I feel good; I feel better than a lot of people thought I would. It’s not something that’s as new for me as people might think and I’m just adjusting and learning and continuing to develop and get better. That’s my goal and my motivation and coverage is just a part of that.
Q. You appear pretty fluid in your drops.
A: Yes, I am and I hope some other people think so too because that’s the quickest and most effective way for me to get somewhere. Whatever helps, that’s what I want to do and you and I hope that’s the case.
Q. Given that if injuries come up you have to be prepared to step into any of the three roles, what quality or ability sets you apart and makes one position the ideal one for you?
A: I’ll play wherever they want me to play. If they want me to play Mike I’ll play Mike or I’ll play Will. I could play any one of the three because I’m fast and have good strength but it depends on the scheme and what the coaches want to do that really determines where I’m a good fit. But I do enjoy playing Sam and right now I’m Sam so that’s all I’m focusing on for now. God forbid anyone gets hurt and I have to move for that reason but right now I’m just focused on Sam and just trying to learn that to the best of my ability.
Q. Did you get a chance to watch much film with your line coach after the season and did you see progress?
A: We didn’t really go over any film at the end of the year but of course I saw every game. It was a little different defense and I wish it could have been a little better for me and for the defense as a whole but it wasn’t the case. We all have just had to learn from that and move on.
Q. Dallas has practically been anointed to win the division and even the Super Bowl. Do you think the Giants have a prayer against them?
A: I think so; I hope so, a small prayer at least. But for now we’re trying just to keep our focus on the Giants rather than being concerned about any other team. Now it’s really what the Giants are doing on offense and defense and special teams too, of course. We have to get better on defense and offense and that’s why we come to camp - to build camaraderie and to get better. When we get past this camp and go to pre-season then we’ll deal with things as they come.