With starting free safety Darian Thompson sidelined by a shoulder injury, Nat Berhe worked with the first-team defense on Monday when the New York Giants held a walk-thru to begin preparations for Saturday’s preseason game against the New York Jets.
Berhe, a 2014 fifth-round pick by the Giants, was expected to compete for a starting job last season but never got the chance. A calf injury suffered during OTAs cost him the entire season.
Thompson, a rookie third-round pick, won’t play against the Jets. As for Berhe, “the hope is there to play a lot,” he said.
Another candidate for playing time, Mykkele Thompson, suffered a concussion Saturday against the Buffalo Bills. His status is uncertain.
“Only count your eggs when they hatch,” Berhe said Monday of his opportunity. “We'll see when we play the Jets, but Landon has grown a lot as a player from watching him until now. Even watching him on film, I'm like, ‘Wow, this dude really progressed and has gotten better.’ His style is he'll hit you in the mouth and he's kind of a heavier dude than I am. But I just like to be around the ball.”
Berhe was healthy all spring and thus far through training camp and the preseason, a far cry from a season ago.
“I just take each day as it is, and just practice,” Berhe said. “I don't like to really think too far ahead. Did I see it coming? No. Who knew DT (Thompson) was going to go out and get hurt. Who knew?”
Weston Richburg: Don’t panic about OL
Fans might be panicked about the Giants’ offensive line, and media might be pontificating about how poorly the group has played thus far, but starting center Weston Richburg thinks everyone should relax
“It is the second week of the preseason ... It takes a lot to get the run fits together and we still have two preseason games, two preseason weeks to get some good work in, so we saw some things on film that we are looking forward to going out and working on getting better,” Richburg said on Monday.
JPP: “No limit” for defensive line
The Giants spent a fortune to revamp their defensive line in the offseason. The group of Jason Pierre-Paul, Olivier Vernon, Damon Harrison and Johnathan Hankins has been impressive in two preseason games.
“There is no limit. We’re striving to be the best at each and every position. Each guy knows what they’ve got to do and what it takes to get better,” Pierre-Paul said. “So, individually you have to work hard and prepare yourself and try to strive yourself to the next level. I think that's what everybody is doing right now. Guys are just running around getting these preseason games in. Come September 11th, we'll be ready to go to war. The team will be there, and the team will be set, and we know what we’ve got to work with.”
Linebacker Jonathan Casillas referred to the line as “a linebacker’s dream.”
“You have two of the best defensive ends in the game and the best run-stopper in the game in Hankins. He’s a better player than he was last year. It’s a dream to play behind these guys,” he said.
Tight end Matt LaCosse is “day-to-day” with a knee injury, per the Giants. LaCosse has been dealing with that injury since early in training camp.