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Michael Boley At Middle Linebacker: A Good Idea?

Michael Boley. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Michael Boley. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Getty Images

During an appearance on Sirius XM NFL Radio on Monday, New York Giants general manager Jerry Reese floated the possibility of Michael Boley playing middle linebacker for the Giants in 2012.

Reese would not have said it out loud if the idea wasn't truly on the table. So, let's talk about it. Forget the other candidates, and the upcoming NFL Draft, for a minute. Is Boley at middle linebacker a good idea?

Boley is a seven-year veteran who has always played the weakside, or what is not often called the 'WILL' linebacker position. He is 6-foot-3, 236 pounds -- not exactly classic 4-3 middle linebacker material.

Think about it, though, and Boley already functions much like a middle linebacker for the Giants, anyway. He took over calling the defensive signals for the Giants a season ago when Jonathan Goff went down to a season-ending injury, and it is Boley who makes most of the pre-snap calls at the line of scrimmage. Pro-Football Reference as always listed Boley as a left or right side linebacker. For 2011, he is listed simply as a linebacker -- indicating the adjustment in the scheme the Giants play.

When the Giants play their 4-2-5 alignment, which is more and more becoming their base defense, Boley and Mathias Kiwanuka or Jacquian Williams already line up and function somewhat like middle linebackers. In pass defense, range in coverage is a requirement of Perry Fewell's zone-heavy schemes, anyway, and we know Boley can run, cover and handle those deep drops.

So, Boley as the 'de facto' middle linebacker in the Giants' defense might not be as far-fetched as it sounds the first time you hear it. What do you think, Giants' fans?