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New York Giants' Dan Connor solid in start at MLB

Connor started Sunday in place of Mark Herzlich, with head coach Tom Coughlin saying the coaching staff wanted to see how he would fare with the first unit.

Dan Connor
Dan Connor
The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

Did Dan Connor win the New York Giants' middle linebacker job on Sunday night?

Connor, who has worked mostly with the second unit in the offseason and thru training camp, got the start Sunday night in place of Mark Herzlich.

Connor, signed as a free agent by the Giants after spending last season with the Dallas Cowboys, finished with three solo tackles. During the first half with Connor at middle linebacker the majority of the time the Giants surrendered 48 yards rushing on 12 Indianapolis carries. That's better than a week ago when the Giants' first-team defense was gashed by the Pittsburgh Steelers. In that game, coach Tom Coughlin pointed out that the Giants' first unit only stopped two of Pittsburgh's nine running plays successfully.

Connor made his presence felt on the very first Indianapolis play from scrimmage, filling the middle and allowing Stevie Brown to tackle running back Vick Ballard for a 1-yard loss.

Connor, a 27-year-old in his sixth NFL season, also had three tackles against the Steelers.

Head coach Tom Coughlin was not taking the bait when asked after the game if Connor had been elevated to first-team status:

"It's very competitive, so we flipped it around and just wanted to see him [Connor] operate with the ones," Coughlin said.

Still, it will be interesting to see which middle linebackers gets the majority of first-team reps during the upcoming week.