The Giants have signed him to be the middle linebacker in their 4-3 defense. Connor has spent time at both outside linebacker and middle linebacker, and spent last season trying to fit into the 3-4 defense run by the Dallas Cowboys. The 6-foot-2, 241-pound five-year veteran is happy to return to what he considers his best position in the system he believes he is best suited for.
"Talking to the Giants coaches, the (4-3) system seems to fit me. I wanted to get back into a 4-3 look," Connor said. "I think that's [middle linebacker] my position," Connor said. "That's the position where I'm comfortable. I played it in college, I was in the middle of a 4-3 in Carolina. So I feel most comfortable in the middle."
Newsday's Tom Rock dug up a quote from Tom Coughlin during the 2012 season that shows how Coughlin feels about his new middle linebacker.
"Connor is a good player. He’s played in this league. He’s played in their scheme. ... He’s physical, he’s a veteran, he’s good instinctively. Obviously, Sean Lee is their leading tackler, so there will be a factor there. Connor is a good player."
Connor has played in 56 games with 27 career starts. The man he replaces, Chase Blackburn, started only 36 games in an eight-year career.
Connor is switching sides in what is a bitter NFC East rivalry, at least from the perspective of the fan bases."(Giants-Cowboys) is a big-time rivalry. It runs deep. There are a couple of them in the NFC East. I know it's a competitive one with definitive hatred from team to team, and you don't see that much in the NFL. But it's alive in this division," Connor said.
"It's a great opportunity. When my agent called me and said they were interested I was so thrilled. This is a class organization with a lot of tradition. They're a successful team with a winning tradition and it was something I wanted to be a part of. I'm really looking forward to it."
The Giants will likely have a completely new look at linebacker in 2013. The recently re-signed Keith Rivers figures to start on side, Connor figures to start in the middle (though Mark Herzlich might have a different opinion) and either Jacquian Williams or Spencer Paysinger will likely start on the weak side. Unless, of course, the Giants use an early draft pick on a linebacker.