One of the few nuggets of worthy of attention that New York Giants General Manager Jerry Reese shared during his pre-draft press conference Thursday was the team's increased expectations for second-year linebacker Clint Sintim.
Sintim appeared with Pat Traina (Inside Football) and myself on 'New York Giants Talk' Thursday evening and he spoke about his own expectations for 2010. Right now, Sintim is penciled in as the starting strong-side linebacker, and he said he wants to "be a different player than I was last year."
The second-round selection finished his rookie season with just 15 tackles and one sack in only seven games, not the impact the Giants were hoping for.
"I had flashes, but by no means was I the player that I wanted to be," Sintim said. "There's a lot of factors that contributed to that, but almost all of those factors are me. So I really just want to recycle myself and re-evaluate what got me here and why I was the player I was in college and try to be that player on this next level."
Sintim knows there are increased expectations for him in 2010.
"It's going to be an important year. I'm not a rookie anymore," Sintim said. "All that stuff that 'well, he's just a rookie and he can make that mistake, he's a young player' all those excuses may not fly.
"I'm expected to be a better player, to be smarter about the game. I haven't though about it as pressure, I've just thought about it as a great opportunity."
What Sintim wants, ultimately, is something Giants fans also hope for. That is to become the first truly dominant outside linebacker the Giants have had since Jesse Armstead.
"I want to be a dominant player in this league," Sintim said. "It starts not only in weight room, which we're doing now, but in the classroom.
"That's why Antonio (Pierce) was in the league so long. He knew what he was doing, he was always in the classroom. I'm just trying to model myself after guys like him and Danny (Clark). Even though they're not here they're still guys that really influenced me."
Armstead, incidentally, still has a role with the Giants. Sintim said Armstead is a valued resource for him.
"Anybody who knows anything about football knows that Jesse was one bad dude out there on the field," Sintim said. "He's a guy I talk to a lot about what I need to do to be a better player and how I should approach the game because he's been there and he's done it."
Sintim talked about the conversion from playing the 3-4 in college to the 4-3 with the Giants.
"The 3-4 is different than that the 4-3, but the concepts of football are the same," Sintim said. "Gap control, who's setting the edge. Most of those concepts remain the same. It's just a matter of different schemes, and it's just adjusting to the schemes.
"I have a decent knowledge of football concepts, but I just need to continue to improve."
Sintim would not make any predictions about how he or the Giants' defense would fare in 2010.
"What I can attest to right now is that a lot of guys are working hard," Sintim said. "Nobody's happy about last season and how it ended.
"We've got some fresh blood in here, we've got a new D coordinator and we've got a lot of exciting things happening. Everybody's got something to prove seeing how last year didn't go as good as we wanted it to."
[Click the player below if you want to listen to Thursday night's show.]